Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cusco..

Cusco did not want to be woken up in the morning or so it seemed. But when we got to out hotel, the staff readily greeted us and served us Cocoa tea which is supposed to be an antidote to altitude sickness. Our Bus ride from Arequipa was super comfy. We travelled with 'Cruz De Sur', and it was one of the rare times I've managed to sleep so well on an overnight bus. Bus is a neat way to travel in Peru. Its much cheaper than Air and you don't have the not very nice surprise of finding out that the Airport tax to be paid around here is pretty high. (For International flights it was as high as 25 dollars per person)



Our hotel was close to the city market.  And since we got there early, we got out of our rooms as soon as we could.  Our trail starts in two days,  Cusco is where we acclimatize. We booked our trek with 'Peru Treks'. We were required to pay the balance two days in advance. So we found our way to the Office. The staff were friendly. Once we paid up we were briefed on what the trek would be like , some do's and dont's. Lots of important information we were thankful for, things we would not have known. Our guide warned us about the dangers of drinking spring water(even with water purifying tablets). When we did trek we stuck to this piece of advice religiously and it served us well.

Once done with the briefing we left and wandered around town. Ravenous we searched the square for places to eat. We should have known that the ones close to the town square would be expensive. But hunger got the better of us :). Once bitten twice shy, especially if you are backpacking on a budget ;)

Boy selling (something)..
Cusco is touristy. Its full of backpacker's most of who were acclimatising in preparation for the trail.
Luckily for us our two days there were sunny. We had the option of visiting the sacred valley, but decided against it as according to the literature in the briefing we were going to be seeing loads of ruins along the way to Machu Pichu. The market place was full of people , some selling food, some clothes, and some others traditional Inca medicine.

Walking up from San Fransico
The city center is beautiful. A prominent feature of all the South American cities we visited, the Plaze De Armas as it is called, is flanked by the cathedral on one side,  the church of Jesus Maria on the other and scores or restaurants and tourist offices. The church we were told was built over the ruins of the palace of the Inca Viracocha.The plaza is cheerful place. We sat a while outside the church.
Vendors flocked, people trying to sell us stuff, Artists showing off their work...
I would have loved to buy some of the paintings, but the  prospect of carrying everything and not knowing how conditions would be on trail , made us decide against it. All shopping was postponed , we thought it wise to spend in our last stop :)


Views from the City Center
Cusco has an incredible historical past to boast of. It was once the capital of the Incas, the first amongst the Inca cities. It is believed to be built in the shape of a puma. The primary language here is Quecha and not Spanish. Some say the Incas considered this the center of the world.
Iglesis Cathedral 

Scenes from the city center

Typical neighbourhood in Cusco
The hilly nature of the region, makes ordinary walks through Cusco's charming streets open up vistas of colour, of red rooftops, of people peeping from high windows, bright white walls in stark contrast to black cobblestone streets, little market places, tourists wandering in leisure and locals hurrying about catching up with daily life...
12 edged stone

The Irish Pub :)
There are several good places to eat... We even found a Mc Donald's (Is that a good thing..?)...
We did visit the Irish Bar a couple of times. The portion sizes did leave us very happy :)
Inside the Cusco Market..


The City center again (from one of the many restaurants along the square). Two flags seen in the picture, The first is the the red-and-white Peruvian flag and the second is the  rainbow-colored flag, representing the four quarters of the Incan empire. 


It was wonderful being part of this city..We felt we left with our slice of Inca History :)

M

4 comments:

  1. cocoa drink?? for rejuvenation?? r u kidding me? =D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hehe... Ninu.. strange are the ways of the world,,
    it grows on you though

    ReplyDelete

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