Day 12: In and around Cusco

Cusco Travel Blog

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Cusco
When the wake-up call comes, it is still five minutes before the time it was supposed to come. Some minutes later, just as I am about to turn the on the tap to take a shower, the phone rings again: it's the reception, mentioning that another guest has checked out and that they want me to change rooms right now. In words that I will not repeat here (my Travbuddy account would be canceled for uttering such language), I manage to explain to them that their timing is a little short of optimal. The deal is that they will change all my belongings to my new room in the time that I am out on the planned city tour, and that on my return, I can collect my new key "for the luxury room", which is to be room 414.

The morning and early part of the afternoon are reserved for a tour around the city of Cusco and some sites of Inca ruins nearby.
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First up is another photostop to enjoy the view of Cusco, after which we visit our first site, Saqsay Huaman (which out tourguide learns us to pronounce as "Sexy Woman"). It's a temple complex that once must have been hugely impressive, but now it is just "normally" impressive - only ruines are left. These ruins still reveal the different levels in which the temples must once have been built, and explains why this temple was also used as a fortress for Inca soldiers.

Cenco is just a few minutes further: a labyrinth in which another temple can be found, and where the sacrificing stones are still clearly discernible. This site is much smaller than Saqsay Huaman, but it is better preserved.

A short visit to Tambomachay, which must have been something like a royal resort, with natural watersprings, finishes our tour of the Inca ruins.
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We return to Cuzco to make a tour through the Fransican abbey, where we see the smallest building stone of Peru (about 1 cm²), some old Inca temples that have been restored and the foundations of the abbey, which are also of Inca origin.

Our citytour ends in the cathedral of Cuzco, where we not only see the impressive interior of the church, but also the preparations for the upcoming Maria-procession going on. As we exit the cathedral, there are suddenly some salesmen around us (again), selling very special postcards. Earlier today, in Saqsay Huaman, some Peruvian was taking pictures of our group. We hardly noticed it, or at least didn't pay him any attention. After all, we take so many photos of Peruvians, why shouldn't we allow a Peruvian to take photos of us.
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But now it appears these photos were printed and "edited" (cut out at glued on) onto our personalised postcards from Cuzco.

It's very much lunchtime, and I join "the family" (in our group is a family of father, mother, brother and sister) into a restaurant at the Plaza Major, where I have stir-fried alpaca meet for lunch. It's good.

After that, I return to the hotel... I'm really curious to find out what room I have been put in. The receptionist has offered to transfer all my belongings just as they were (again largely unpacked, and he would reinstall them unpacked). The receptionist on service starts punching in codes on his computer, clicking a lot with his mouse, before coming up with... room 415. "But that is also a luxury room", the receptionist tells me when I mention that 414 was promised to me this morning.
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A nasty surprise awaits me there: nothing. No suitcase, no clothes, no souvenirs, nothing.

I return to the reception. "Sorry, sorry, sorry" - (there they go again) - "we didn't get round to it, but we'll do it right now". I insist on coming along, so I follow him to my old room 101... Again the same nasty surprise there: nothing. No suitcase, no clothes, no souvenirs, nothing.

So my belongings have been moved, but where to? After a long discussion I persuade him to let me take a look in - the according to him occupied by another guest - room 414. I think you already can guess what is in room 414... All my stuff, (almost) exactly as I left it in room 101 (almost, two missing bottles of water are later restituted by the hotel). Now you wouldn't believe it: the receptionist wants to move all my things to room 415, and it takes another lot of reasoning to convince him that it is really easier to move my backpack - the only thing I have in 415 - here, in stead of the other way around.
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But in the end, I may stay in 414, which is, compared to the other rooms I have been in, indeed a luxury room (still I had better "regular" rooms in other hotels this holiday than this "luxury" room here).

I take some time to do some repacking and unwinding my nerves, before I go down to the reception again to check in online for the flight back home tomorrow. I am already at a seat at the window, so I don't have to change anything. Then I walk around Cuzco, to so some last shopping and just walk around, enjoying this cosy Cuzco.

At 19:00, we assemble in front of the cathedral, to go to dinner all together. At the restaurant Inka Grill, we give our tourleader our gratidute-and-farewell speech between starters (for me calamaris) and the main course. My choice for the main course is the result of a challenge yesterday: our tourleader told us that, although she had lived in Peru for some time, she had never eaten the national delicacy: cuj (guinea pig) - and during our tour through Machu Picchu she said she would want to try it, but not if she would be the only one.
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The deal was made quickly: we both were going to try cuj (as two others would do too). I must say, it tastes really good... but to call it a delicacy, I find somewhat exaggerated. Nonetheless, all four of us had a very good meal at it. An traditional Peruvian desert completes our farewell dinner; that tastes very good too; unfortunately I forgot its name.

We walk back to our hotel, where three of us (the brother and sister from the family), later joined by a fourth (their father) install ourselves in the lounge of the hotel for a final game of cards, and to look back at a very good trip. After that, I spend the remainder of my last night in Peru in my luxury room, having finished repacking.
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photo by: Vlindeke