Back to the belly button. Where's all the fluff?

Trip Start Feb 03, 2013
Trip End Dec 13, 2013

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Flag of Peru  , Cuzco Region,
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hello again!

So after four quite intense days we decided to spend a bit of time in Cusco to recuperate and write blogs, which we had slipped 6 weeks behind on. The weather wasn't great so being cooped up inside worked out well! It won't be a very interesting blog I'm afraid as for the first 3 days we only left the room to go to the toilet and only left the hostel to eat!

14th May - We had initially wanted to leave our current hotel this morning but when we woke up our bodies ached from the thousands of steps we had climbed yesterday and we couldn't face being packed and ready for 9:00am so Garry went and checked us in for another night. We had breakfast, which was included here, and it strengthened our opinions in that Peruvians are stupid and suffered one too many bumps on the head as children. The breakfast was very simple and consisted of two bread rolls with jam and butter and some coca tea and coffee yet we waited over half an hour for it. The breakfast would arrive in stages but not logical stages where we could at least start one thing. We would get the hot water with nothing to add to it. We would get the butter and jam with nothing to spread it on etc! It wound me right up! When we finally got everything it was nearly lunchtime. They didn't have any orange juice left either so we had papaya juice which was disgusting and tasted like vomit. So, after an eventful breakfast it was back into pyjamas and I got to work on the blog.

Garry headed out in search of a launderette and a new hostel as we were paying way too much in the one we were in. He got back just as I was finishing my first blog and had found a hostel for half the price we were paying and it was just off the main square. We both got ready and headed out for lunch. We both instantly knew we were going back to the nice lady in the market where we had gone on our first day here. This time we both ordered 'arroz con huevo mixto'. This consisted of rice, avocado, chips, salad, fried banana, fried egg an a hot dog. It was very yummy.

After lunch Garry showed me the hostel and I really liked it. It had a lovely courtyard in the middle and although it was a little run down it had real character to it. We asked if we could book a room for two nights but he told us we would have to come back in the morning. He was a bit off with us and I think it was because Garry tried to barter down the already extremely cheap rate!

We headed back for an afternoon of blogging before heading to an all you can eat Indian buffet for dinner. It was OK and it filled me up after one plate which is never fun at an all you can eat so I left feeling short changed.

All the blogging had completely worn me out and I was out like a light whilst we were watching prison break. That really annoys Garry!

15th May - We had a slightly more organised breakfast this morning, but the service was still a joke. We checked out of the hotel and headed towards the hostel off the square where a more cheerful man greeted us and showed us to our room, which had a balcony! We originally checked in for two nights but ended up extending it to four. We sat in the courtyard and wrote a blog each before realising that the travelpod app on my phone allows you to write a new post so we were now going two at a time. It soon got cloudy and very cold so we continued in the room.

For lunch we went to the market lady for another mixto and for dinner we had pizza in a cute little restaurant on the passage infront of our hostel. Everything in between was blogging with maybe a cheeky episode of prison break.

16th May - Today was similar to yesterday. We stayed in the room to blog and only left to pee or eat. We went to the nice market lady for lunch again and for dinner we had Mexican food at another cute little restaurant on the passage. We finally got the blog to the same month and country we were in so we decided that would suffice.

17th May - We extended our stay for two more nights and decided we needed to get out of the hostel before we got cabin fever and went mad, however the weather had other plans and it rained heavily on and off all day so we were cooped up again and I created some Facebook albums.

Having had enough mixtos we decided we just wanted a sandwich for lunch and we didn't have to head far. The lady opposite the hostel had a great lunch deal so we headed in there just before the heavens opened. Whilst we were waiting for the sandwiches we had a game of draughts. Garry had never played it before and I'm not too sure I remembered the rules right but it passed the time.

We spent the afternoon watching prison break and then headed out for dinner. Since we hadn't stretched our legs much today we decided we would take a walk before dinner and the city was very pretty all lit up at night. We ended up back on the street of our first hotel where there was a locals' pizzeria so we went in there and ordered the offer which was a family sized pizza and garlic bread with coca cola. The pizza came and it was massive and piled high with ham and sausage. This is the first time we had struggled to finish a meal, but struggle we did.

We headed back and watched the Bolivia Top Gear special, which I had never seen before. It was so good to watch it as they went to places we had been, like death road, and experienced the same things we had, like the effects of the altitude! It brought back many fond memories of Bolivia and with true Top Gear humour.

18th May - Today was the day we were going to spend the day out of the hostel! We decided we would walk to the bus station and sort out a bus to our next destination, Puno. Garry asked the man at the hostel what we should expect to pay for certain artesan goods as we had no idea and didn't want to be ripped off. It's also expected to barter here, which we are no good at so needed some sort of guide. He then mentioned an artesan market, which was just out of town, where we would find the cheapest stuff. This was on the way to the bus station, which was good, and we got there just in time to hide from the rain. We got a few bits and pieces before heading to the bus station where we booked the front two seats on the double decker for the next evening.

We headed to the market for lunch as we were ready for another mixto, but we were devastated to see our lady's place all shut up. I'm not sure why we took it so badly because there were at least 20 other ladies serving the exact same menu at the exact same price. We went to the next door lady, but it just wasn't the same.

We spent the afternoon shopping and we must have hit every artesan shop in the city. Garry found some shoes he really liked but they wouldn't budge enough on the price so he left the shop without them.

We had a burger for dinner and enjoyed it on a kerb watching all the teenagers going to the club opposite. Us old folk headed back and finished series two of prison break - rock and roll!

19th May - Today was the day we would finally check out of Cusco. It had began to feel like home so it was sad, but we still had the day to actually explore and see Cusco.

We checked out of the hostel and left our bags with them. We decided to have our Batti Mix (like a muller crunch corner) breakfast in the main square where there was some sort of event going on. There were police and soldiers in uniform and a big band playing with a small marquee of officials and a large crowd forming. They played what I assume was the national anthem and raised the Peruvian flag and the colourful indigenous flag. We were told by a shop owner that this happens every Sunday. We then watched some of them march and they looked like John Cleese doing his silly walk in faulty towers - we had a little giggle to ourselves. They started parading around the square and we headed off on my lonely planet organised walking tour.

We climbed up from the plaza to San Cristibal church where we got amazing views over the city and we could still see and hear the parade in the main square. We carried on up to Sacsaywamàn, which is an Inca ruins site. Before we visited that we headed up the other hill, which had a mini Christ the redeemer and a view looking out over the city - and a great view he had. We then headed over to Sacsaywamàn where a man asked us for our ticket. We had no ticket and he told us we needed a tourist ticket which allows entry to here and 3 other ruins sites around Cusco. He said we could buy one off him for £20 each. We laughed at him and walked off. We had already seen Machu Picchu so we didn't need to pay extortionate prices to see more ruins, plus we could already see some of it from the outside. We sat down outside the entrance and I gave Garry a history lesson on the site anyway as I will do for you guys also.

Sacsaywamàn means 'satisfied falcon' in the Quechua language (the native language of the Andes region of South America) and I like to call it 'sexy woman'. It is a site of military significance as it was the fort of one of the most bitter battles in the Spanish conquest. The rebellious Manco Inca recaptured Sacsaywamàn and used it as the Inca base and was on the brink of defeating the Spanish before a last ditch attack, which they lost. Thousands lay dead on Sacsaywamàn, which attracted swarms of condors, who began feasting on the dead. The irony here is huge as the Incas worshipped the condors as gods, yet ended up being eaten by them! This Inca tragedy was memorialised by the inclusion of 8 condors on Cuscos coat of arms. The Incas also apparently created Cusco in the shape of a puma and Sacsaywamàn was it's head and inside there is a 22 sided zig-zag wall for the teeth!

There is only about 20% of Sacsaywamàn remaining as the Spanish tore down many of the walls to build their homes in the city. They left behind the largest stones, one of which weighs 300 tonnes.

Our walking tour lead us on to Tandapata for the classic Cusco cobbled experience. They were cute little back streets but unfortunately the cobbles had all been dug up! It then began to rain. In the hope that it was just a short and sweet shower we found shelter just behind Plaza San Blas. When the rain ceased we went in to the plaza and watched an old tramp lady shower in the fountains. On the other side of the plaza a band started playing and a procession left a building carrying a cross and they paraded around the square until the church. A man was letting off very loud fireworks in the square, which scared me a lot!

We then headed down another cute street of Hatunruniyoc to the 12 sided stone. The incas were building geniuses and looking at the walls, which are held together with no cement just perfect stone carving, is just incredible! We then headed back to the plaza where we took a break from the tour for a bit more shopping and for some lunch. The market lady wasn't there again today so we had to go to the next door lady again :-(.

We continued our tour back at Plaza de armas and I explained to Garry that there were 4 church's on it. The oldest one is the smallest one joined to the cathedral. On the other side of the cathedral is another small church all three of which are joined. The forth church is one of great controversy. The church was built by the Jesuits who wanted to build the most magnificent church in Cusco. With it being built opposite the cathedral the arch bishop of Cusco was not happy with this and complained that its splendour should not rival that of the cathedral's. The squabble between the two led to Pope Paul III being called upon who was in favour of the cathedral, but the message didn't reach in time and the church was built.

We then left the plaza and headed for another, which had some sort of fair going on. We then walked through the colonial archway of Santa Clara, which we had walked through everyday to get to the market. We had hoped that Santa Clara church would be open as apparently the interior is covered in mirrors, which was apparently done to entice curious indigenous people into the church,but unfortunately it was closed. We then wandered a different way back to the plaza and my walking tour was complete.

On the way back to the hostel Garry tried on the shoes he liked again but they still wouldn't budge on the price, but he loved them so much he bought them anyway. He now calls them his pretty shoes. Should I be worried???

We sat in the hostel courtyard writing diaries until we were ready for dinner. With the burger last night being so good we were going to get one of them but they were shut so we went and had a pizza instead and sat right in front of the clay oven to thaw out as we had gotten very cold in the courtyard. We had our dinner then headed back to the hostel to collect our bags. We got our hats and gloves out as it had turned quite cold before walking to the bus station for our night bus to Puno.

So there you have it folks... our time in Cusco. To be honest I think both of us would have been happy staying there until our flight home as it is a lovely city. However, there is more to Peru than its belly button so it was time to move on and see some of its other features as we only have 2 weeks left!

K x x x
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Leonor on

SO behind! But where are the pics of the "pretty shoes"?

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