Cusco

Cusco Travel Blog

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Walking in the shadows of the Incas

Once centre of the mighty Incan Empire, Cusco is today the centre of the Peru tourism industry and for most people, the departure point for the famous Inca trail and trips into the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, now one of the 7 new wonders of the world.

A UNESCO world heritage listed city, due to the terrocotta tiling on all of the cities buildings, Cusco pretty much caters for all levels of tourist. Offering low budget hostels to five star hotels, street side stalls to silver service dining and a bucket load of tourist agencies, all fighting for a piece of the pie.

We arrived in Cusco after an indifferent bus trip. Initially, we were stoked to get the front seats on the top level of the bus but our moods quickly changed as first the bus broke down for two hours in what would have to be the arse-end of the world, Juliaca (it was dirty-nasty!!), we roasted for 8 hours under the relentless sun and the on-board toilet caused severe dry reaching everytime the door swung open as we rounded a corner.

Thats some fine Inca brickwork
Yep, cant forget that trip quick enough.

Following a recommendation from one of the guys on the Colca Canyon trip, our accommodation for our Cusco stay would be the infamous Loki hostel. First thing to know about Loki is if you pay more than 4 soles from the bus station to Loki then like us, you have been had. Second thing to know is that it can be put in the 'hugely popular party hostel' category and thus ear-plugs for the dorm rooms are a necessity, especially if you happen to be sharing a room with a couple of Scottish lads. Loki is a top hostel, with good facilities, good bar, good food, good onsite tour agency, good outdoor area and top views over the city. At $6 a night its a bargain. The only downside being that its a decent walk back from town up a hill which at altitude makes it a little demanding on the lungs.

'Sachsaywaman'
It was at Loki that we also met the aforementioned Scottish lads, Richard and Craig, two top blokes who loved their banter, their football, Dundee United and their drinking.

It was a case of when in Cusco, do as the tourists do. Contrary to what should have been our better judgement, we booked in for a couple of day tours - the city tour and the sacred valley tour. They both served as a timely reminder as to why I dont like tour groups. "Now my friends you will admire this for 2 minutes and 10 seconds" "Here you will take a photo of our beautiful historic site which thousands of other people have taken a photo of"....it was hard to handle at times, especially with loud and obnoxious American and German people in our group. To be fair, they were both informative and took in all of the cathedrals and historic incan sites that the area had to offer.

Looking up the Sacred Valley
They also proved to be unintentionally humourous at times, with the pronounciation of the "Sacsayhuaman" incan site by our "Puma" tour group leader being a notable highlight.

Unfortunately it was on one of these tours that Anna performed the unthinkable, and drank some orange juice from a street side stall. Tsch Tsch. That night the inevitable happened and for the next 48 hrs she was a very sick little girl, luckily there were a couple of days for her to vomit up all of her insides and then rest before our Inca trail trek. Fortunately for me, the Champions League final just happened to be on during those couple of days so I headed to the pub with Rick and Craig to watch it on the big screen....shite game but good company.

So onto the next adventure....a relatively unknown wander through the Peru country side which ends up at some village no-one lives in anymore.

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Walking in the shadows of the Incas
Walking in the shadows of the Incas
Thats some fine Inca brickwork
Thats some fine Inca brickwork
Sachsaywaman
'Sachsaywaman'
Looking up the Sacred Valley
Looking up the Sacred Valley
One of our first experiences of In…
One of our first experiences of I…
Anna is actually jumping up onto t…
Anna is actually jumping up onto …
Another example of the fine Inca s…
Another example of the fine Inca …
The size of the surrounding peaks …
The size of the surrounding peaks…
Another Inca site in the sacred va…
Another Inca site in the sacred v…
The towering peaks over the Sacred…
The towering peaks over the Sacre…
Dusk on the way home to Cusco
Dusk on the way home to Cusco
Cusco
photo by: Vlindeke