Welcome to Cuzco
Cusco Travel Blog› entry 6 of 26 › view all entries
OK. So I am here. The plane ride over was incredible. You definitely have to sit on the left hand side if you are flying from Lima to Cuzco. It was amazing to see snow capped peaks and untouched parts of the Andes mountain range peaking through the mist and clouds.
Needless to say, today has been chaotic. I started off by getting into an unmarked taxi which the driver claimed was official. Thankfully, I read enough signs that convinced me that the ride was okay. The drive was chaos, and we went through narrow, brick paved streets filled with indigenous people selling their meat and produce on the side of the streets. It was really a sight to see. I just wanted to get off, take some photographs, and wander in the chaos.... though slowly, because Cuzco is 3300m above sea level, and I found myself running out of breath fast. Thankfully, I did not get any severe or debilitating headaches!
The hostel I am staying at, Loki Hostel, is definitely a social place to be. It is packed full and when I arrived, I discovered that I did not have a reservation and in fact, was only on the waiting list. I just had to assume I had a room and darted right for the city to find a trek to Machu Picchu and book it. The problem is, I was distracted by Cuzco. It is a touristy city, but the bottom line is that it has so much history and colonial architecture that give it an amazing character. Just wandering around the brick streets, watching a massive all day, all night parade (a HUGE festival is coming in 5 days), trying out the food, and visiting the numerous sites just spent away all my time.
I ended up joining a tour to visit a number of Inca sites around the city, but honestly, the guide was a big long winded. I ended up just wandering away from my group and running around the sites myself. If possible, I recommend to other people to rent a motorcycle for a day and visit these sites yourself at your own leisure. Tours just are not for me. It just dragged on longer than I would have liked... and I knew in my heart that this would be the case.
Well, after the tour, I went out to find cuy, a guinea pig delicacy. Yeah, yeah, I am a vegetarian, but when it comes to strange food I have to do it. I tried getting a friend I met on the tour to order the alpaca (like a llama) grilled steak, so I can have all my dose of meat at once, but she would not do it, which means that when I return to Cuzco, I will have to order it.
But back to the guinea pig. It was not prepared well. Kind of dry. Looks like a shiny rat on my plate, complete with cringed claws. I suck on the claws for the hell of it. Not a lot of meat. Kind of tastes like salty pork. I think the chef put too much salt and deep fried it. Needless to say, it is not a small meal. One quarter would have been more than enough, but somehow I down it. Maybe because I ate it at a cheaper restaurant, because many people claim that it is a delicacy. It does not matter to me, because I just ate it for the experience.
So, I am REALLY tired right now, and tomorrow I have to wake up at 4am to go trekking. I REALLY wanted to go salsa because the scene is quite alive here, and I actually found a partner while wandering around, but Machu Picchu comes first.
Also, the Spanish I have been learning over the past few months have been a godsend. More on that later.
When I write back, I will have been to a place I have been long dreaming of seeing!