Having packed up and got ready for the hostel check out, we made our way down to the beach for a stroll. The beach wouldn´t win any awards for cleanliness (at least two condoms in with the other junk), but it was pleasant in the first bit of sunshine that we had experienced since our arrival (the previous two days were very hazy). We had worked up sufficient appetite by the time that we returned to Barranco that we went straight for lunch. Being the adventurous travellers we are, we ordered the local delicacy called Cebiche and a side order of fried fish. Despite neither of us being renowned as big seafood lovers we dug in when the platters arrived. Cebiche is basically a load of lime marinated raw fish, squid and octopus!! Although delicious, the big portion that we shared turned out to be a little bit too much for Alex as she was to feel sick for the next 24 hours (I was fine, see below - her stomach was clearly a bit sensitive). We whiled away the rest of the afternoon before heading to the bus terminal for our departure at 7pm.
Lovely backdrop fails to draw Simon´s attention from the blood sucking flies.
our journey to Cusco:
- Bad: Alex didn´t see her bag being loaded and worried about it for the next couple of hours.
- Good: Alex´s bag was one of the first off the bus with mine close behind.
- Bad: The bus was only scheduled to stop once for us to stretch our legs (during a 20 hour trip!)
- Good: The bus blew a tyre out which allowed us off the bus for an extra unplanned stop.
- Good: There were a few films shown to entertain us and we even tried our hand at bingo but we would have struggled to understand the numbers at the best of times let alone with a rubbish speaker system and compere.
- BAD!: The on bus toilet smelt of death for the majority of the trip. Thankfully we weren´t seated at the back. After resisting for 12 hours we succombed to the call of nature and braved the stench hole with minimal gagging.
- Good: We got to see some gorgeous scenery although we had to endure lots of twisting and turning as we made our way through the mountains from sea level to 3500m.
- Bad: The combination of
toilet smell and motion around the tight bends left Alex feeling quesy for most of the second day.
We arrived early into Cusco on the bus (thank God) at around 3pm and grabbed a taxi to our hostel, which is the same company as the hostel in Lima (The Point Hostels). After a nice hot shower and a rest we briefly ventured out for pizza before hitting the sack for a much needed early night. Hopefully the sleep and the slow ascent in the bus will help stave off altitude sickness.
Up early and we had breakfast with some fellow British travellers, one of whom Alex had previously met through a mutual friend on a bender in Sheffield (small world !!). We had a couple of chores to do before the main highlight of the day and we made our way to a travel shop to confirm our places on the Inca Trail on Thursday. Alex also managed to buy herself a wooley hat and I get the feeling that there will be lots of trinkets bought throughout our travels. ALEX: "It only cost 13 soles", which is about 2 pounds.
Alex meets the locals
Simon was put off by the 1 Sole price incurred for the photo but didn´t anticipate that Alex would get to hold the Llama.
The rest of the day was spent exploring the Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley around Cusco. The first one was Sacsayhuaman, pronounced Sexy Woman, which had incredible mortar-less stonework to form the zig-zag defensive walls. The next site was Q´enko, which is a sacred ceremonial area carved into a large limestone outcrop. After listening to a Spanish guide we managed to locate the main attraction which is a carved serpent where they pour in Llama blood to see if the year will be fertile.
A short taxi ride, one pound only, took us to the next destination called Puca Pucara which is an Inca hunting lodge. Next to this was Tambo Machay which was more impressive. It was a temple of the waters where wealthy Incas bathed for ritual cleansing (see photo). On the way back I was persuaded to buy my own Peruvian hat with a lovely Llama design on it which I´m sure made Alex feel better for her purchase earlier in the day.
The plan for tonight is to hit the town. This will hopefully include a Salsa lesson which will be great fun but will definitely include food and at least one beer.
Tomorrow will be a bit more relaxing as we check out Cusco itself.
Next on the blog: The highlight of our stay in South America as we´ll be heading out on the Inca Trail.
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