February 16th, 2008 – by: sissanoel
The Cathedral, Cusco
Got up very early this morning for our 6.50am flight to Cusco
with LanPeru - luckily we had our Qantas frequent flyer cards with us so got the tickets updated to add the points (couldn´t find the Lan lounge though!). The flight was much smoother than we thought, even allowing for all the mountains around, so that was good. From the moment you leave the airport in Cuzco, street vendors harass you with their products. Selling everything from watercolours to dolls to postcards, every man and his dog is trying to flog you something. Luckily, most are not too forceful and a couple of "no, gracias" usually do the trick. Our hotel here is very central, on Plaza Nazarena, so can walk everywhere.
Spanish-era buildings around the Plaza de Armas, Cusco.
The buildings here are in much better order than most places we´ve been as apparently the government has introduced strict controls on changes and repairs, obviously in search of the tourist dollars. It is nice to see the old buildings in good nick, though. Saturday in Cuzco has an artisan market at San Blas church, which is just up the hill from our hotel. We walked up with Yvonne from our group, and then worked our way back down the hill looking in all the shops as we went. There are some really lovely souvenirs here, some nice artisan shops with good quality ceramics and alpaca knitwear, but of course the prices match the better quality. Melissa bought an alleged alpaca jumper, which even if not real, will keep her nice and warm and was still cheaper than a budget one from home! After all this working, we definitely needed a rest so stopped off in an icecream shop - lots of fake cream, nuts and chocolate sauce filled the gap! AT our group meeting this evening, our local guide explained that there would be a couple of strikes in Cuzco from Monday, so not sure if that will impact on our sight-seeing plans while the others are on the Lares Trek. We´ll see how we go, but at least many of the museums and so on are within walking distance for us. We went out to dinner with our guide to Fallen Angels in Plaza Nazarena - never again will be use his recommendations! A simple meal and one drink each cost us S/100 which is about 4 days food budget for us! The food was very nice, but not going to do that again in a hurry. The trouble is that the guides eat and drink for free because they bring a group, so they forget about how these costs impact on our budget. back to local cafes for us!