In the morning, we all left for Cusco. The busses here run an hour late. We share the aisles with chickens in bags and the sound of chicks. It's a comfortable ride and we get to stop half way and buy rice and chicken from road side ladies for 2 dollars. We arrived in Cusco in the mid afternoon and went searching for hostels. We split up to try different areas looking for cheap and clean. We ended up close to the town centre with 5 to a room and shower attached. There was a courtyard with bar and travel company, the bar is where breakfast was served. Next, we needed to find food. We consulted the guide books and found a nice place with a menu de dia for 17 soles, only about 6 dollars, for appetizer, main mean and drink. We continued on to an English pub, where we definitely did not feel like we were in Peru. I was off to bed early still on weekday time. We had come to see the Easter processions, but ended up only seeing one. They had mainly occurred early in the day. What we did see was a glass coffin with
a preserved saint"?" and a walking band with townspeople walking to the beat. The streets were crowded as I returned to hostel. It was nice to see the nightlife after the quiet of our home.
I decide to see one of the museums in the morning with a handful of others. This museum (pre columbian art) was suggested by the archaeologists. It was one of my favourites, because it was not overfilled with objects and had fantastic lighting. You fell in love with each piece of pottery, sculpture and jewelry. The group gathered for lunch and then split up according to tastes. I went to the market where soup and then a meal cost 2 dollars and was excellent. The market is full of cheese, and vegetables, Easter baking and tourist clothing and blankets. I of course wandered through every foot of the place and then continued back towards the hostel looking at the stores with artisanal crafts. At the hostel, I was always able to meet with a few others and describe our day and sit in the courtyard to upload blogs. In my wanders, I had talked to a restaurant owner who promised free drinks if returned
with my group, so that is where we had supper. A group of musicians came into the tiny space near the end of our meal and played a number of Peruvian pieces. They were vibrant and encouraged our good moods to rise even higher. Then we were off to the bar. It was one of our number's last night so we were having a fond farewell, with many drinks at happy hour. By chance we ran into one of our archaeologists and moved with him to a local bar. It was a late and raucous night. Sunday dawned with headaches all around, so it was time to take a long walk. A number of us got a taxi out of town to ruins that were walking distance back, just not there up the steep hills. We wandered by ruins, and stands of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus has an incredible spicy smell in the heat of the sun. We met llamas on the road side and made it to the Christos on the hill, another huge statue of Christ looking over the city nestled in the valley below. It felt very fitting for Easter Sunday. Then we climbed down the steep stairs to
get to the city below. By this time, we felt we deserved lunch and went out in search of something different. Abby and I ended up at Santa Semana (Saints Week) food festival and had pork and pork cracklins deep fried with slabs of deep fried potato and a mint leave and onion salad on the side. It was awesome. Then I ran into street dancers. Each quarter of town has distinctive dance traditions and come on the Easter weekend to dance around the main square in traditional dress to walking musicians. One set had long black ponchos of hanging threads. At their waists were cloth dolls. They had masks covering their faces. I wish I had a guide to explain what the symbology was, fascinating. I wandered a bit more through the streets of town before going back to the hostel to read for a few hours. I hadn't had much more than 4 hours sleep the night before. The entire group gathered again for supper and a gentle finish to the long weekend. When we got back to the hostel, a pingpong table was set up so some people played amongst laughter before bed.
We were to
meet our host's brother at ten in the morning and make the long journey back home. On Peruvian time, we left closer to 11:00. I can never explain how beautiful it is here. On the drive, we wind back and forth up out of the valleys to the high pass. Every turn shows another incredible vista, or eerie cloud cloaked ridge of rock. I, who usually reads through every ride, cannot read here as the view out the window pulls my eyes constantly. We arrived home to home made chicken soup with great hunks of chicken breast. The rest of the day was ours and we relaxed with books and conversation, lots of english spanish lessons, because Zenobio is trying to learn English.
Good Night and Sweet Dreams
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