Friday, 17 May 2013

The Peru circuit (Day 7- still) - On the way back to Cusco - The 1st of May 2013


As soon as we got off the bus in Aguas Callientes after the four hour visit to Machu Pichu it started raining heavily, which meant the meteorological forecast I had seen still back at home was correct. We took shelter in a local restaurant and throughout lunch rain kept on strongly pouring down.

Mural at the restaurant depicting the Last supper in which Christ can be seen surrounded by Inca -like Apostles.

On the way to Cusco we stopped at a traditional "Chicheria" by the road, where we  tasted two different types of chicha, a home-fermented drink made out of yellow or purple maize. One had a pale straw colour and a slightly sour taste (chicha de jora), while the other one (chicha morada) was pinkish and had a less hard cider taste (because of having probably been made from purple maize and boiled with pineapple and spices).

Chicha de jora is said to have been consumed in communities throughout the Andes for very long and used  for ritual purposes. It is often drunk from a particular glass (1/2 litre) called Caporal and prior to drinking it one is supposed to drop part of it onto the floor in honour of Pachamama, whilst saying "Pachamama, Santa Tierra" (Earthmother, blessed ground), a tradition dating back to the Spanish conquest.

Among several ailment characteristics, chicha morada is said to reduce blood pressure and act as an anti-inflammatory on the prostate. I just managed to take a few sips of the chicha morada, as I considered chicha de jora too strong, though it was clear that locals (the guide and the driver included) seemed at ease with the alcoholic grade of the drink judging from the fact that both drank caporals.

The "Chicheria" we stopped at seen from the outside.


Interior decoration of the "Chicheria"

 Charmely drinking chicha morada from a caporal (right).

Upon having reached our hotel in Cusco and before dinner was served I still had time to take a few photographs of the paintings covering some of the walls of the restaurant, which I found to be rather interesting.

I had certainly been a long day ... one we would not easily forget and as the circuit seemed to "announce" its end ..., now that we were getting into the local culture, 
a feeling of sadness was beginning to affect us all ...

Hopefully the anticipated long night sleep (once the next morning visit wouldn't start but at 09H30) would make us forget this detail ... the going back to European civilisation in just two days !...

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