Typing this on the hotel's computer so managed to get the location of our blog correct today, couldn't get the South America location from the I-Phone previously............figured the analysts of you out there would have spotted that in previous blogs.
Our flight from Lima to Cusco was 55mins and we arrived here at 11.30am on Friday morning.
The flight took us over the Andes mountains,and surprislingly close to them as we turned sharply and descended onto the landing strip at Cusco.........! The minute we got off then plane we both looked at each other and we knew then that the holiday had now properly begun. Lima was ok but nothing particularly special, and the weather was cloudy, and raining when we left the airport. Cusco was baked in sunshine and hot. It's turning from Autumn to Winter here so we were a little surprised. Cusco is in a valley and there are houses built all the way into the hillsides around it. The houses have terracotta roofs so the appearance of clay is everywhere. It's situation is quite stunning. The sun beats down and the hills cradled around the town appear to protect it. The roads are a little dusty,
and there are taxis and horns honking everywhere but it is so much less busy than the pounding metropolis that was Lima. Cusco is a large town in the context of English Cities. Our hotel is wonderful - a real gem, very "zen" like........nicer than in Lima............!!!
The main square that we remember from the Michael Palin videos is exactly as expected, and the vistas from every angle are truly truly stunning.............we wondered before we set off if this trip would live up to last year's journey through Argentina - now that we're here in Cusco, it will. The landscape and the vibe is just amazing. Traditional Inca people dressed in bright knitted clothes, waring big hats, sell their crafts on every street corner, the pan-pipes are playing, people wander rather than rush, and there is a sense of calm around the place. We've even heard the trains sounding there horns as they cross the main street, just as in the Palin videos, it's all just as it should be. It's hippy-ish......it's where the gap year students seem to hang out as they trek around the country, it's the base for the trips and trails to Macchu Piccu, so everything is geared towards trekking.
After we arrived at the hotel we decided to have an hour, felt tired................3 hours later we wake up with pounding headaches and dizziness....................altitude sickness. Before we set off on the trip we wondered if the hype was overplayed...............it's really quite unsettling. We drink "Mate" tea and eat coco-leaf sweets to help, but they have only provide temporary relief. We went out for an hour to see the town but soon came back and went back to bed - now teatime. John has worse side-effects than Denise and we didn't go out off the hotel room again until I'm typing this blog, now Saturday morning, in the lobby.
We've kind off lost a day to the sickness, but we just had to give in to it and rest. It prevents digestion, sickness feeling, face swells up, dehydration on a big scale, disorientation, slow reactions...........typing this mail is taking forever, and reading back is difficult. It feels like having the worst head cold ever, but we're told it lasts only a day or so and I feel better with each hour that passes, Denise has gone back to bed for an hour. Even climbing the stairs takes it out of you so it's a good job we planned a couple of days climitisiation into our itinery. Feeling like this out on the trail would be no fun at all, and makes reality of those celebrities'stories who were ill whilst climbing Mt Kilamajaro last year.
Cusco is 3,300m +sea level - Lima was 1,100m. Tomorrow we fly to La Paz in Bolivia, which being the highest capital city in the world at 4,000m +sea level, is our next challenge. We're back in Cusco twice more before we come home, and we hope the jump from Lima will have prepared our bodies for the relatively small increase to La Paz. To put it into context, Penistone where we lived in Sheffield was 400m +sea level and is reportedly the highest market town in England. Macchu Piccu is about 2,700m +sea level.
John's Spanish course that he went on last year has come in handy, it's very very basic Spanish, but he's feeling quite please with himself reading the menus, ordering drinks, asking the way, asking the price of goods etc.....can't imagine how we would get buy without a few words to be honest. Compared to some places we are heading to, Cusco is very urban, and being that there is little British or American cultural influence here, this is hardcore Spanish colonalised territory, English is not widely spoken at all, even in Lima.
Not in our best humour today, apologies if the blog is a little "dry", be better tomorrow.
I got up to go into the bathroom earlier and walked straight into the wall..........................!!! The disorientation is quite strong. All around the hotel there are people spaced out and looking very grey..........and this is a holiday.....?????
John finally has the need for a toilet.................which ends up in the hotel maintenace team being called in, enough said on that I think..........!
At the breakfast table this morning there was a tray with many different marmalade preserves.................I'm reminded now of Paddington and his passion for marmalade sandwiches.............It's not surprising really beacuse the local meat served here is guinea pig......................hmmmm - we consider ourselves open-minded travellers.........but that's a step too far for us perhaps. They offer you the option of fried or grilled...............it's quite the town delicacy. Like Denise says - I've been hoping to dropa dress size for ages, I've got no choice now....!
Cusco appears to be for the hardened traveller, there are no casual tourists here, and few Americans sop far, mainly Europeans and Aussies.
The people are particularly friendly, but then they have no 8.15am tram to race for, or deadlines to drive them through their days, these people are still living the kind of tlife that their anscestors will have been living for centuries, albeit with a modern twist in places.
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