We had great plans for Valentine’s Day this year, which was to be spent in Cusco. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
As opposed to last year where I spent the whole day in bed hungover, this year saw Matt in bed all day vomiting due to altitude sickness. I know, #couplegoals.
Unfortunately, the height of Cusco has got to us, and it’s probably not a good idea to have lunch out, followed by a chocolate making workshop when Matt can’t get out of bed, and I can get out of bed but feel like I’m going to have an asthma attack everytime I do.
So our chocolate making workshop and lunch was rearranged and, after sleeping for approximately 20 hours, we were ready to face life in Cusco once again.
I can highly recommend the chocolate making workshop. Not only do you get to roast and peel cocoa beans, grind cocoa beans and learn all about how chocolate is made, you also get to create your own chocolates with any flavours you like which you can then take home at the end (I obviously did one of each flavour). Matt very kindly gave some of his chocolates to the reception staff at our hostel but I didn’t. I know, I’m a terrible person, shoot me.
The lady running it was Peruvian and very funny. She asked us if we would rather have the class in Spanish or English to which I replied ‘English is probably better’ in the hope that she would think I wasn’t some hopeless Brit with no knowledge of the Spanish language (N.B to anyone travelling to South America I recommend DuoLingo, a phrasebook and talking to as many people in Spanish as possible no matter how embarrassing it is – I didn’t speak any before I got here and now I’m just about managing).
Anyway not only did we make a heap of chocolates to munch all afternoon whilst lying in our room watching Matilda, we also sampled hot chocolates and cocoa tea.
The cocoa tea is made with the shell of cocoa beans and sugar and it was surprisingly yummy. I bought chocolate tea back in Bristol and it tasted like grass.
The class took a more sinister turn when the lady made us hot chocolate with milk, cinnamon, cloves and sugar. She revealed that originally they would have put blood in this hot chocolate and offered it to the Gods. After saying ‘ah how interesting’ a long silence followed before she finally said ‘…so, do you volunteer?’
I was shocked and appalled that she would ask us to bleed into the hot chocolate. But, I thought, if I’m going to drink anyone’s blood I would probably rather it be my own, and I didn’t want to offend either her or the Gods, so I bravely and valiantly stepped up to volunteer as tribute.
She told us that originally it would have been 15 drops, but the Gods would accept 5. At this point I started to worry especially when she pulled out white gloves and a needle.
I held my finger out over the hot chocolate ready for the pain, but the lady stopped me and told me the blood from my finger wouldn’t be pure enough and it had to be from my tongue instead.
At this point I had a vision of my tongue swelling up which would mean I wouldn’t be able to eat anymore Peruvian food (plus there was always the possibility of death) so I decided enough is enough and pushed Matt forward instead.
‘He’ll do it!’ (Before you think I’m a terrible person, the lady did seem to know what she was doing).
Matt agreed reluctantly, held his tongue out over the hot chocolate, closed his eyes, whilst she began to prod him with a needle.
When no blood flowed she burst out laughing and revealed that this was all a huge joke, of course she wasn’t going to make us bleed into the hot chocolate.
We all had a huge chuckle, I laughed til I cried a little bit, then we all sat around the table drinking our blood-free hottie choccie and all was well.
We then made our next hot chocolate which she told us would only work if we sang whilst we stirred it. Naturally I went for Justin Beiber, because everyone loves that song deep down even if they pretend they don’t.
Matt chose the slightly more manly option of Spice Girls (although I did most of the singing, just saying) and the hottie choccie was delicious as promised.
By this point we were both feeling a bit full, and, as we had an hour before we could collect our chocolate, we dragged ourselves out to the Plaza De Armes to be further bombarded by travel agencies offering us a ‘good price’ for Machu Picchu. Eventually we ended up having a drink at a ridiculously overpriced restaurant named ‘restaurante touristico’ (don’t judge). This was the place where you say thank you in Spanish and they say you’re welcome in English – nevertheless, I persevered. I also just about resisted paying 2 soles to have a picture with a lamb.
We collected our chocolates and spent the remainder of the day doing absolutely nothing and then I was grumpy because I ate too much sugar.
Next stop: Machu Picchu