Published: February 10th 2012February 10th 2012
The Woods at Machu Pichu
Note the style-conscious Suzanne wearing the latest in rain ponchos
Our base for this trip was Cusco, which is at 3,400 metres above sea level so we both suffered a bit of altitude sickness. The local brew to combat altitude sickness is coca tea which is available everywhere. Suzanne said it was barely palatable and drank it like medicine. Cusco is a charming although poor city, which is heaving with cars, tourists and street vendors. The combination of high altitude, number of cars with poor quality emissions led to high air pollution.
We had a slight hiccough with our first meal when we tried to put the bill on our room but were politely told we weren’t staying there – to be fair both restaurant and our hotel had similar names.
Our first taste of Inca culture (Cusco was the Inca capital) was a tour led by a guide we nicknamed ‘Maradona’, who over-egged everything the Incas ever did and was always slagging off the spanish. He also said that the Cusco football team was once FIFA’s 13th
best in the world and that Jesus was its patron saint.
On the second day, when we visited the Sacred Valley, Suzanne pulled a sicky and needed an emergency nurse
Coffee in Cusco
Enjoying coffee opposite the cathedral.
who checked her blood oxygen level (it was OK). It was more an upset tummy – the first illness of the holiday. Despite this John really enjoyed the day and climbed hundreds of steps. A nice diversion at the end of the day was a visit to a craft centre where a traditionally dressed girl showed us how to dye alpaca wool and entertained us with her amusing anecdotes.
The next day was another 04.30 start to catch the train to Machu Pichu. In the wet season (ie now) the first part of the journey has to be done by bus because of landslides. Finally a bus took us up the mountain to the ruins. What a mind-boggling sight it was especially as some of the mountain peaks were shrouded in clouds. They were smart builders and farmers these Incas; pity they never wrote anything down as a lot of the interpretation is speculation. A torrential downpour took us to our hotel to dry off - bliss, there was a heater to dry the clothes.
There are more photos below