Published: April 20th 2012April 19th 2012
Tuesday 3rd April - Cusco
A fairly non-descript day doing menial tasks such as laundry, giving the fraud department at Nationwide a piece of my mind in an effort to get back our 2 grand and booking tickets for the train and Machu Picchu. We also had some fun bartering with the locals for their over priced gringo souvenirs. Unfortunately the Real McCoy is closed on Tuesday so we were disappointed not to have fish and chips and instead I had to make do with an amazing cheeseburger after we reluctantly visited the obligatory Irish Pub found in every tourist hotspot which are a magnet for every annoying septic in town.
Wednesday 4th April - Cusco to Ollantaytambo
Our nice hotel receptionist man who takes his work a little too seriously was kind enough to extend our checkout time by 30 mins to 9.30am as he glimpsed us a peak of his hitler youth knife. Off we went on our minibus through the mountains to the gateway of Machu Picchu, Ollantaa, sat in the Sacred Valley a few miles away from the most famous archeological site in South America. Having now done the trip, I'd definitely recommend staying
a night or 2 in Ollanta rather than going straight there from Cusco and back as it's such a lovely little village, full of indiginous peoples, cobbled streets with a great market next to the Inca fort. We found yet another english restaurant serving great food and were able to enjoy some tea and scones.
Thursday 5th April - Ollanta to Machu Picchu to Ollanta
And so the big day had finally arrived when we set off on the trip for what is a must visit for any traveller to South America. I stepped on our 9am train and was greeted by an old german man sat in my seat who claimed to not know where his seat was despite having had to show his ticket 30 seconds earlier, I guess eager to get his towel down wherever he could. I wasn't for appeasement and ordered him to make a hasty retreat from my seat he'd illegally occupied but stopped short of asking him to sign a treaty he could later break when his memory lapsed. The hour and a half journey was nice but nothing to get excited about so I think we're probably a little too
apoilt now from all the amazing scenery we've seen. Before arriving at the site there's a 30 minute bus journey up the steep mountain to build the anticipation. Not long after arrival and we're in and there it is to see. I can only describe it as a surreal experience where you enjoy the moment and get the sensation that you're walking through a picture the whole time having seen the image so many times and in particular as you travel through Peru. The views from the site are unbelieveable and the ruins themselves are like nothing I've ever seen before. After 5 hours of touring the place and with weary legs it was time to call it a day and head back. We met a nice bloke on the train back to Ollanta who went to school with Ian Botham and was friends with the dad of someone I know from school.
Friday 6th April - Ollanta to Cusco
Having had a pretty big argument the night before with the owner of our hotel about the crap service they gave we were glad to see the back of the place and pay him 8 dollars less than
we were supposed to, although not quite the dramatic circumstances of Casa del Mundo. After arriving back in Cusco we got our 1st taste of fish and chips on the trip at The Real McCoy. Then for Stacie it was a case of settling in for 2 and a half enforced days of watching the US Masters golf on ESPN. Come on Westwood! Woods has got no chance swinging it like that.
Saturday 7th April - Cusco
The morning was spent visiting the many artesan markets in Cusco and having fun negotiating with the vendors as they tried to fleece us whilst dodging all the other gringos that have over run the place. We can't get over how often sellers refuse to accept some of the offers we make for products when commonly it will be that we've offered in the region of 50p less than the asking price bearing in mind that they've got stock coming out of their ears. It can only be that they're greedy, stupid and not entrepreneurial and think that we're rich gringos that'll cave in and pay what they want. Unfortunately for them we're happy to walk away every time shaking our
heads purely out of principle. It's not nice to say but many of them are destined to stay poor forever with their stubborn stance but given that lots of these people are not at all endearing, I couldn't care less. Even often when you buy something from them, I've lost count of the number of times when they try and short change you and pretend they didn't realise. Slippery! Otavalo market is definitely the best place to buy anything we've found so far. The afternoon was spent watching augusta where little changes with Mickleson hitting miraculous shots and westwood missing everything outside a foot.
Sunday 8th April - Cusco
It was starting to feel like groundhog day as we yet again awoke in Cusco, ambled about and waited for the Masters to start. After yet another meal in the Real McCoy, we finally decided the place was a good idea but with crap food. Who doesn't put butter on a jacket potato? A peruvian. The golf was good and it was nice to see a quirky, unorthodox and emotional person in Bubba get the win.