Mutton Knuckle Soup, Cuzco
By David Knowlton
Cold feels omnipresent in hills and valleys around Cuzco, and especially now that the night time temperatures begin their irresistible march towards freezing and below. It will not be long before over night frost will pull its bucket of paint and switch the hillsides from green to brown.
In the day, when the sun shines, temperatures soar and people can shed their extra skins, but in the shadows or when a burst of air comes down the hillsides cold can strike the unprepared.
Cold is so real and so feared that at moments of transition, such as from night to day, or at the beginning or end of a meal, people drink something hot, or eat a good soup. Read the rest of this entry
Lord of Earthquakes, Cuzco
By David Knowlton
Cuzco’s population will fill the city center today like no other time in the year. It will feel as if the entire city has gathered in the city center, though it may only be about a fifth of the total. There will be people everywhere. Tourists will disappear in the throng of Cusqueños.
Unlike other times when lots of people crowd the town’s center, today there will not be bouncy music and colorful dancing. There will be music and the Cathedral bells will peal. But the tone will be solemn, since today the patron saint of Cuzco, the Lord of the Earthquakes (el Señor de los Temblores), will leave the Cathedral, where he stays all year as a great center of ritual and devotion that organizes the city, to make his rounds before blessing the crowds and, after night has fallen, reenter the Cathedral for another year. Read the rest of this entry
Selling Crosses of Palm Frond and Rosemary, Cuzco
Today is Palm Sunday in Cuzco, the beginning of Holy Week. Though a city with deep currents of Inca culture, Cuzco is also a very Catholic city. The two traditions are like one of the handwoven belts sold by countless women on the Plaza de Armas; they are closely interwoven and form ever intriguing designs.
Though a Holy Day, today a gastronomic festival is also being held in a suburban city, with its own ancient tradition, San Jeronimo. Beginning today, the Festival del Sabor Andino, will be held on Sundays, to promote the gastronomic culture of the south end of the Cuzco Valley for tourists. People can go to its main plaza, a short taxi ride from downtown Cuzco, to try varied dishes such as chiriuchu, capchi de setas, and cuy al horno. Read the rest of this entry