Cusco (part 1)
Cusco Travel Blog› entry 18 of 48 › view all entries
The bus journey from Nazca was painfully slow getting caught behind a very slow and constant procession of trucks. By the time we arrived, the journey had taken 16 hours (4 more than advertised). Marie had managed to find another hostel that no taxi driver knew and spent 30 minutes trying to get our way to her hostel. On arrival the receptionist denied any knowledge of her but we checked in anyway for lack of any alternative. With the delay, there was a slight panic to get to SAS travel and make the final payment for the Inca Trail as we had missed our deadline - not helped by the fact that the SAS travel office was up for Let. We found the new office and made payment confirming our places on the one trip that has been a must for the past 18 months.
Cusco - the former capital of the Incan Empire and now the gringo capital of South America. Although completely ramsacked by the Spanish when they conquered the Incan empire, pretty much all the colonial buildings still have the original Incan foundation stones of the Incan city giving it a very appealing vista. The main plaza is probably the prettiest of any town or city visited so far. Cusco itself is an essential stop on any South American trip with a very friendly vibe with plenty of great sights and caters for all tastes of activity and cuisine. After the scorching sun of the last 10 days of desert, Cusco provides a very welcome return to the mountains and beautiful valley scenery with a much more agreeable climate.
I tracked down Marie in the room she had mentioned in her e-mail and popped out for some food where there is an abundance of choice including two highly recommended Irish pubs.
Next day was final preparation for buying anything for the trek. On the advice of SAS, I bought a traditional Peru hat (for a third of Dave´s in Lima - he had been scammed after all !). Unfortunately we couldn´t find any Santa hats anywhere so gave up and had an ice cream. Booked some much needed Spànish lessons for our return from Machu Picchu before our meet and greet with our guide and the rest of our trek group. Our guide Javier who is half Quechuan (true name of the Incas) is a real character. 13 on the tour with a good diverse mix (3 English, 3 Oz, 2 Kiwi, 2 Mexican, 1 South African, 1 Canadian, 1 Yank) and all a similar age.