Too many tourists!

Trip Start Dec 26, 2004
Trip End Jan 29, 2005

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Final destination CUSCO!!

We have reached the final stop for our 2 week trip into the south of Peru, Iīm very sad but then I remember I still have 10 more days in Lima after thankfully!

We started off our trip from Puno to Cusco on a great foot, we were booked first class on the train ride thank god for first class! it is a 10 hour ride! If you are going to take the train from Puno I suggest taking the train, itīs 4 hours longer than the bus but itīs totally worth it. Especially in First Class which can set you back about 83$ US but trust me itīs well worth it. We had lunch included and wine wasnīt that expensive so we ended up getting 2 half litre bottles with our lunch. We had a bar in one of the wagons and an observatory area with a balcony in another wagon. Pretty neat stuff. It wasnīt busy at all so we had alot of room to ourselves. At 3pm it was happy hour so 2 for the price of 1 so we stocked up on a few beers. Phil met a couple from Holland while I met a guy from Colombia. The food is excellent and so is the service. Bathroom is so clean for once! Take note that public washrooms are very dirty and smell awful but you get used to them after a while. So when we saw the bathroom in the First Class area we couldnt believe how great it was! The only complaint I would have is that even if you are in coach class, the ride is extremely bumpy! Keep in mind that the train tracks were constructed in the early 1800s and I believe they havent been updated much since then. So I am sure that first class would be alot more comfortable!

We finally arrived in Cusco at around 530pm and we were met at the train station and taken to our hotel. I love our hotel room! I think we lucked out and received a suite because we have our own living room and a king size bed iīm loving it! NO more fighting for covers with Phil or being pushed off the bed. Plus complimentary chocolate and 2 bottles of water. We had the rest of the evening free so we chilled in the room for a bit then headed to the main square to check out a restaurant. The food was great but it sure was alot more costly than the rest of the country, which we were expecting, itīs full of tourists everywhere. Itīs quite the shock to us after weīve felt like the whole country has pretty much been all to ourselves. Also, the street merchants are much more aggresive around here, so Iīd watch out for that. Phil got punched in the stomach by a small child who was selling chocolate bars, probably because we wouldnīt buy from him or either it was a distraction tactic because we went back to the room after dinner and noticed he had a slashed rip in his pant leg which wasnīt there before. You really have to watch your back, pick pockets and robberies are a dime a dozen around here.

Today we went for our city tour with a private guide. Not bad except I would suggest doing a tour on your own. I mean we learned alot more Iīm sure than we would have had we been alone, but we spent too much time in the churches which this city is full of!!!! OUT OF CONTROL! plus the guide spends too much time explaining things in detail I couldnīt handle it anymore near the end. I do admit the temple of santo domingo and the cathedral are totally worth it just do it on your own. In the cathedral near the back, there is a huge reproduction painting of The Last Supper. Since it was painted by a peruvian native, they changed a few things, like instead of wine being served on the table it was Chica, which is a local wine made out of a purple corn. Also instead of the regular food on the table it had been replaced by a roasted guinea pig. It is quite entertaining. Unfortunately no cameras allowed in the cathedral so I wasnīt able to take a pic.

We had the whole afternoon free so we went to a little restaurant far away from the gringo area, we figured that it would be cheaper too. We were right we found a restaurant that cost us in total including a bottle of wine for 23$ CAD!!! not as cheap as the other cities but still cheap compared to back home.

The day we headed up to Machu Picchu we received a wake up call at 445am. We got picked up at 545am and headed to the train station. Very cramped seats very bumpy ride. 4 hour ride beautiful scenery to say the least. Once we arrived in Aguas Calientes (this is where the buses that take you all the way up to Machu Picchu are located) we boarded a bus and took a breathtaking scenic ride up the mountain to reach Machu Picchu which is on the tip of a mountain. The bus ride takes about 20-30 mins. You do have the option of walking up, it states it would only take you about 45 mins to walk up but we met a fellow canadian who walked it up and it took her 2 hours. So beware of signs that state the opposite. I am very glad we went in the rainy season which is low season as well. Barely any tourists, as you will see from my photos I was able to score many shots without anyone obstructing my shots. We were worried it would rain so we brought our rain jackets but boy were were extremely lucky. It was a beautiful clear day and quite the scorcher too! We wondered around on our own until around 130pm when we went to eat at the local restaurant. The only restaurant next to Machu Picchu. It was costly but luckily our tour included our lunch so we didnt have to pay. If you must pay take into account that the buffet costs 28$ US each. If you cant afford it Iīd suggest taking the bus back down to the village of Aguas Calientes and looking for a place to chowdown there, but expect higher prices than normal since it is a tourist area. Also expect to be harassed left right and center every 2 seconds by locals. We headed back down to Aguas Calientes after lunch and walked around until it came time to board our train back to Cusco. Once we got on the train it started to rain! Talk about perfect timing!!! God sure was on our side that day.

We were exhausted so we rested for a while in our room then headed to a small pizzeria closeby. We went to bed early.

Today we leave Cusco. Our flight back to Lima is at 4pm. Even though I am sad to end our 2 week escapade, I know that we still will have more stories to share with you all once in Lima.
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