Cuzco (or Cusco)

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January 16th 2007
Published: January 25th 2007
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Or in Spanish "Catedral"
After a slight flight delay we safely arrived in Cuzco, then another long delay in getting luggage we headed to the taxi area. After turning down a ridiculous fare we found a taxi who would take us for 5 soles. He had a friend (tour operator) with him, who talked us into trying his recommended hostel, The Wirochacha. I inspected the room first and it was fine for $20 a night for a private room. Rudy, the tour guide, helped us with check in and then had us sit down for tea de coca (it is supposed to help with elevation) while he showed us the tours he could provide. We selected his Machu Picchu tour, which included the roundtrip train to Aguas Calientes, hostel in Aguas Calientes, r/t bus to Machu Picchu, a tour guide in Machu Picchu and all transfers for $138 each. We decided to go the next day and come back after to see ruins here. From all the research I had done the cost was only slightly inflated and seemed like an easier route than piecing it together ourselves. I guess going home for the holidays has made us a little soft. We declined the other
View from Cuzco Plaza de ArmesView from Cuzco Plaza de ArmesView from Cuzco Plaza de Armes

It seems all towns of any size have a big white religious statue on a hillside.
tours but promised to keep him in mind.
We decided to walk to the main square for lunch. The main square is picturesque; some say it is one of the most recognizable spots in Peru behind Machu Picchu. Tourists and locals are sittings on benches and walking all directions. We sat on a second floor balcony to have lunch. It overlooked the square and had terrific views of the surrounding mountains. Scott kept saying "We are having lunch in a little town in the Andes...pretty cool, huh?” Yep.
Our tour operator called to tell us the pickup time for the next morning had changed from 5:45 to 6:30. We didn't quite understand why over the phone but were happy for a slight reprieve.
We tried to get an early night but neither of us slept well. It could be due to the new environment or the excitement for tomorrow or maybe because our room lacked heat and I was cold all night. It is common in this part of the world to not have heat in the hostels and in some hotels. While in Lima we were warned.

We returned to Cuzco after Machu Picchu for a day of relaxation and to take in more local sights. We did visit Qenko ruins which after being to Machu Picchu seemed like a bit of rubble. That evening we had a wicked hail storm.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Cuzco Plaza de ArmesCuzco Plaza de Armes
Cuzco Plaza de Armes

Taken from a second floor restaurant balcony.
Hail storm in CuzcoHail storm in Cuzco
Hail storm in Cuzco

It began as pea size then got to be about twice that size.

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