Day 8: From Puno to Cusco
Cusco Travel Blog› entry 11 of 17 › view all entries
August 3rd, 2009 – by: davdstraat
After leaving Puno, we make two stops, one for the view of Puno and a last glance at Lake Titicaca, one to buy some drinks and snacks for the road in Pucara, before arriving at the highest point of our entire Peru-holiday: Abra la Raya, at an altitude of 4338 m. We stop there for just over a quarter of an hour, to take some pictures... and to look at the merchandise the salesmen (and women) are offering over here.
Our lunch restaurant in Sievani is a bit of a surprise: we stop in front of a closed gate, no sign of any kind of establishment anywhere.
After lunch as much as we want, we have enough time left to look around the place, including the shops.
It's only an eight minute drive to our next highlight: Raqchi. Finally, on our eighth day in Peru, we get to see our first Inca ruins. These are the ruins of an Inca town, with a large temple (from what I hear, quite different from other temple remains found), the remains of houses and (which make the most impression on me) storage houses for grains.
Our tour through the ruins ends at another souvenir-market, where we detect yet another Peruvian product - better not to take home with, it might cause a lot of stir up at the customs: coca liquor. You might say: double trouble. But at that market I do find the souvenir, that now has a central place in my room at home: an goldcoloured Tumi, almost a foot long, to hang on the wall (or in my case: the bookshelves).
From here on we follow the valley of the Urubamba river downstream.
Today's last sight is the church of Andahuayllas. Strictly forbidden to take photographs inside, there are people walking around to check the you don't take secret pictures, there's a large screen behind the open doors to prevent anyone from taking pictures from outside the church... A lot of fuss about a church that is not really all that impressive... OK, there's gold on display. Lots of it, that was originally Inca-gold, but confiscated by the church and now reshaped into their religiuos symbols - quite overdone. Well, maybe that's what they're trying to hide: they're afraid that people will stay away if they see on the photographs what there is to see... Not that much!
An apppearance on the main square, in font of the church, I find much more impressive: from a long distance we can see a pair of hummingbids flying around some trees with abundant red flowers.
From there it's an hour drive to our hotel in Cusco. Or to the place where we are dropped off to go to our hotel, because the bus can't reach it. But it's only a five minute walk to the hotel, which at first glace looks nice. But that's only the first glance, as I will tell at a later moment.
In my room with view of a perfectly blind wall, I repack my backpack, because the next two nights we will be in other hotels, while our suitcases stay here. The reason is that we will travel part of the way by train, and suitcases are not allowed to be taken on that train.
We gather in the lobby of the hotel to go to dinner. Our tourguide directs us to the centre of Cusco, which is just two streets (but quite long streets) away from our hotel.
When our tourguide has brought us to the centre and pointed out some good restaurants, she leaves us to arrange the rest for ourselves. Eleven of us go to a restaurant where there's a dinner buffet. And quite good too! A wide veriety of choises for appitizers, first course, main course and deserts. Furthermore, there a band playing live, some numbers with tradional dancers. The music is somewhat loud, but they're very good. And they show their skill by not only playing tradional Peruvian pieces, but also music from around the world: a.o. a Beatles-medley and the overturr Wilhelm Tell (by Gioacchino Rossini) are also on their repertoire.
After a very satifactory meal, we return to the hotel.
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