Cusco and Rainbow Mountain

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July 14th 2016
Published: September 24th 2016
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Cusco, the Inca capital is incredible, not only for its history but it's friendly people. Our guesthouse, run by a local Cusco lady and her awesome dog Godart, was in her house behind a flooring shop which occupied the narrow corridor to her house. We only realised this was a shop after a few nights and always wondered why there was a lady with her baby surrounded by bits of wood sitting there as we would pass through to the house.

Our first day in Cusco we checked out the cathedral, a building made up of 3 parts, then because the cathedral ticket gave you access to more religious stuff, we ended up doing a religious museum, another traditional church and a church at the top of Cusco, with great views out of Cusco, after a while you do get a bit religioused out and there's only so many Catholic Jesus's on a cross you can see before you get fed up of them and want to see anything remotely Inca related that the Spanish didn't destroy. Unfortunately Cusco doesn't have many of these things left. But one thing it does have which our walking tour showed us, the next day, was the old Inca walls from buildings made by Incas. These walls were slanted inwards to protect them from earthquakes and had no cement to hold them together. Instead Incas were amazing at jigsaws by cutting massive pieces of rock and putting them together through brute force, creating indents in the rocks to allow pieces to be lifted, sanded and put back down on top of the other. One piece of rock even had 12 sides to it as they had to cut sections to fit it next to the other rocks. Very impressive and makes our attempts at building look messy and poor in comparison. Our tour guide for the walking tour was from the Amazon jungle and had spent his childhood growing coca for the cocaine market. He even as a child had to make cocaine and deliver it to cocaine dealers. It's so sad that not only are drugs bad for you, but they endanger people's lives and give a reputation to a plant which is normally good for you, in this case helps tackles altitude sickness. Because of this the plant is regarded as something which is bad and banned in so many countries, when it is actually all the rubbish you put with it to make cocaine that is the problem and not the plant itself, similar with hemp and weed. Unfortunately for him that was a way of making money in the jungle, so fleeing to Cusco to do city tours was his way out!

We checked out their version of Manchester's northern quarter, local small businesses and nice restaurants, including our first curry in south America! The squares in Cusco are stunning and worth other cities checking out how nice a square can make a city. Food, like in most places of Peru is very impressive here, way too many pizzas have been consumed here.

Another day we did a chocolate making workshop and even used coca to add into milk chocolate, which gave quite it quite an odd but unique taste.

Another 2.45am start was on the cards to visit rainbow mountain. This is a mountain that is 5100m above sea level, you start climbing it around 4100m to see an incredible mountainside that has an array of reds, purples and white coloured rocks. Only in the last year or so has it been open to tourists, so it is awesome to know so few people have been there before. Godart the dog kept me company until I was picked up and driven 3 hours to our starting point, after a cold breakfast of rolls- a bit like Argentina for breakfasts in some parts of Peru. We set off and it was tough with the altitude to climb quickly but the views were amazing.

After this we met up with a couple of people from the trip for some nice Peruvian food and got ready for our next adventure, the Inca trail.

Additional photos below
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12th July 2017

Rainbow Mountain and Red Valley
The Rainbow Mountain is an excellent place for everyone who likes to walk, as it is the only way to get there although you can also get horses, but in particular I prefer to walk because when arriving there it is worth it and what makes it even better is Go by the red valley that very few do. Here I leave a video that I found of Rainbow Mountain with Red Valley : And I think it's the only video with red valley because everyone only shows up to the mountain (Vinicunca).

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