Come to Cusco, Peru, with Me!
All the pieces of our jewellery have names. Many of these names are inspired by our time living in South America. It is a continent which easily captures the heart with its amazing people, culture, landscapes and animals.
In March of 2020, literally days before the pandemic stopped the world in its tracks, Mark and I took a trip from Ecuador, where we were living, to Peru. We stayed in Cusco, and in the Incan town of Ollantaytambo.
We loved Peru from the moment we arrived. Well actually, the moment we got through customs! That's because at customs Mark was taken aside as they called the police. We were imagining all sorts of things that could have happened! Had someone planted drugs on him? I worriedly asked the customs lady what was happening. She showed me the screen which had a red Interpol warning showing that there was a Mark Williams who was wanted. We later found out that a Mark Williams who was a money launderer was wanted! Had my Mark been given a middle name maybe we would have been spared a few minutes of worry! As it happened a policeman came, looked at Mark's passport, asked him some questions and eventually waved him on! He was rather shaken up!
Let me tell you more about Cusco now though.
Cusco is believed to be the longest, continuously inhabited city in all of the Western hemisphere, having being lived in for 3,000 years. It was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th to 16th century until the Spanish conquest, and now is a major tourist destination - receiving 1.5 million visitors per year as it is the starting point for trips to Machu Picchu. You literally feel as if you have stepped back hundreds of years when you walk the streets of Cusco. The architecture is an incredible mix of colonial style and Incan; with its squares and orange tiled roofs, interspersed with stupendous Incan ruins.
I will never forget our first evening in Cusco where we found a rooftop bar overlooking the whole city, nestled high in the Andes mountains. We drank our first Pisco Sour (the national cocktail of Peru) and fell in love with the charm of yet another South American country as the sun set and the lights of the city started to illuminate the night sky. The evening air was chilly since Cusco sits at over 11,000ft high (3,400mtrs) so we had our coats on but we didn’t mind one bit!
Exploring Cusco is a photographer’s dream, its narrow streets full of charm and its people in their traditional dress leading their animals. The massive stones that make the Incan walls make one feel small in comparison. To the Incas, the puma was a sacred animal and even the city of Cusco itself is built in the shape of a puma. If you look carefully around the city there are pumas in places you may never see unless you look closely! If you look at the shape of the stones you can see how the walls inspired our Inca Bracelet and Little Inca Bracelet!
Even the puma’s paw features in places you might not realise! Built in the 1400s this is a marvel of engineering!
If you ever get the chance to visit Cusco, Peru - Go for it!