August 14 to 15, 2015 Lima to Cusco

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August 26th 2015
Published: September 1st 2015
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Cusco! Liberation from 22 hours of bus! The city is golden in the morning light. Even from the bus windows, you notice the women: long black braids twined with black yarn and tied together in a loop, dark skirts past the knees with several layers of petticoats beneath, floral loose aprons, plump feet and legs stuffed into stockings and leather shoes or sandals, two layers of sweaters, stiff-brimmed hats with silk ribbon bands, bright woven shawls worn tied at the neck and slung over the back as pouches for handicrafts, children, calla lillies, bread.

The women seem to belong to the city more than anyone else. The streets are as elegant as they are, of worn cobblestone and steep alleys. Dogs of every breed settle into doorways and sidewalks, not mutts but handsome pets that roam for the day. And everywhere are signs of tourism for Machu Picchu and guided treks. You would think Cusco would devolve into a cliche of itself, but each day there are long, half-solemn, half-gleeful parades by and for the locals only. Men from academic and religious societies stand in the warm square in sweater vests and suits, hoisting a brilliantly bedecked Virgin on a heavy wooden pallet. The women follow solemnly, then two bands, then groups of dancers covered in beaded costumes and coy masks. The dancers are flushed and grinning to themselves. They are putting on a spectacle for no other reason but to celebrate the day, and though the tourists support the city, the city lives for itself.

Choosing our hostel based on nothing but the name (it shares my boyfriend’s cat’s name, a good enough sign) is the best dumbest decision I’ve made so far. Loki hostel, turns out, is infamous as a party hostel. Its Cusco location happens to be a beautiful old establishment with two courtyards and old Spanish architecture. Quiet dormitories plus three happy hours, all for $8 a night. Unfortunately, all I have are many grumpy hours of altitude sickness from the 11,000 ft elevation. We are in Cusco to meet up with our friend Gabby and to prepare for a five day backpacking trek at an even higher elevation--I spend the day gasping and groaning up the steep streets with only a daypack on, terrified of my impending doom at 15,600 ft with a 30 lb pack.

Cusco sends me reeling in the best
Hill to LokiHill to LokiHill to Loki

At 11,000 ft, this little hill made me wheeze. This does not bode well for impending 15,000+ ft with 30 lbs. We only had 2 days to acclimate. Also not wise.
and worst ways!

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


Dinner with a viewDinner with a view
Dinner with a view

This bus had 2 hot meals!
Loki HostelLoki Hostel
Loki Hostel

For the people of the beautiful woods.

Peruvian tortillaPeruvian tortilla
Peruvian tortilla

Vegetable and egg "fritter" In Peru, it's 7 soles (~$2.30) for a two course meal with a drink. It is a magic land of butter rice and fritters.

1st September 2015

Sorry to hear about the party scene at your hotel. Hopefully you'll get accustomed to the noise and won't even realize it's there….fingers crossed. The architecture of the church in the plaza is gorgeous!! Have you been inside? Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers and wishing you a wonderful adventure with many beautiful memories to make. We love and miss you Sara! Auntie Myrna
1st September 2015

love the pics
Hi Sara, each picture is worth a thousand words; they were great. Hope your first week in school goes well. We are in prayer for you. Love you dearly.
18th September 2015

i really love dogs. the architecture is all so beautiful form ur photos wow! hope that u r feeling better from altitude though, that's so incredibly high! i'm loling at the irony of a hostel named loki being an infamous party hostel, god of mischief and all. land of butter and rice sounds great according to ur photo. my fave line: / tourists support the city, the city lives for itself. / but also that mention of dogs.

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