Christmas in Cusco - my best ever
Trip Start Sep 21, 2010
10Trip End Jul 07, 2011
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Next night, Saturday, was our first “Hour of Power”. The unfortunate 2 kiwis (Nick & ?) arrived in as it started – gave a good attempt for 20mins and then gave up completely when they realised what was going to be required to last the hour. It starts as a shot of beer every minute as the music changes from one 80s song to the next, but the intensity increases to a song every 20secs. At a later hour of power myself, Pedro, Fellipe & Ivan from brazil gave it a good go, didn't quite get there and only thing I can remember after that is falling over while trying to take a pool shot…unfortunately others remember more – I was in great form apparently!
We both had to work the Sunday night, which wasn't ideal as we had to get the bus at 4am and only finished at 2, and of course got drunk. So we left on our Salcantay trek that Monday morning. First day wasn’t easy, but 2nd & 3rd were total killers – at 4650m on the 2nd day we were caught in a snow blizzard that my aldi ski gloves couldn’t withstand…both fingers & toes were freezing….will be one of the most memorable moments of the holiday (even if not at all enjoyable). While the ppl on the standard trip finiashed walking at 3pm on the 3rd day & went to the hot springs, we had another 3.5 hrs continuous walking left as we squeezed the trip into one day less
~we tried to pass it from one to the other on that peak…broke the lens. We met Jen and the others from the 5 day trip that night as they arrived to town & headed to the hot springs with some of them.
Paddys feet were in blisters & we were pretty much falling asleep as the guide was rambling on about MP earlier in the day, so we’d no intention of drinking when we got back. All the same, we said we’d pop our heads in to see what the craic was. Well, the place was buzzing – as good an athmosphere as you’ll ever see in a bar! On top of that, there was a few of the gang from La Paz in there, so we couldn’t resist staying on for the night.
The reason for the shortened Salcantay was to allow us to get in the full Christmas eve in the hostel. Three of the others from the trek (Richard + the 2 brazillians) arrived in that night & suffered the same fate as us the previous night...not being able to leave the class athmosphere in the bar
It kicked off a great group of us that congregated around the pool tables & ended up in Mythology (sometimes followed by Mama Africa) every night…Steve M1, Other Steve, Ray (all Perth), Amsa U3, (Melbourne/Perth not sure), Luke F2 (London), Steffi U2 & Kay U4…and of course Zac who tried his best to put drinks on everyone else’s room. There was a few others aswell, like Valerie, Stella etc who were part of the group on nights out even if not around the pool table.
Sine & Karen arrived to tell me that they had nicknamed me “Mr Screaming Orgasim” while I was in La Paz…that nickname went down well and led to a compulsory facebook update
A yellow party was arranged for NY’s E, which turned out to be another nuts night. I got out for 30mins to see the fireworks in the plaza with Valerie & Magdelena… it was mahem with 100 fireworks a minute all set off by random punters in the crowd. You’d often jump form side to side to avoid them. It was brilliant to get back and see that Olan had proposed to Gemma & they were now engaged!
Unfortunately NY’s just didn’t turn out so well for me
It was quite a pity we didn’t do the Ollyantambo ruins (the Sacred Valley) as they are supposed to be better than the inca trail, and 2nd only to MP. However, I really enjoyed the rafting Johel arranged for Jan 3rd. We had a great group of ppl from the hostel, all of which were out til 6am the previous night! The craic on the raft and the scenery itself was top notch. At one point both myself & Steve had the same thought..we seen a cow wandering along the edge of a cliff with a 200m drop and were thinking wouldn’t it be so cool to see him somehow wander off and fall? I’m blaming the drink for that one. I felt a little sorry for Johel… we kept slagging him off and telling him that he wasn’t allowed on the same boat as us. He ended up on a different boat and we totally soaked him at every available opportunity. He had asked me what the word “Creep” means a few days earlier and so he got the unfortunate nickname “El Creepo”! On the bus back from the rafting I gave him my ipod to listen to Creep, by Radiohead, and he listened to it at least 5 times, before requesting it in the bar another ten times before I left Cusco
I arranged 3 soccer maches during our second stint in cusco…the last was the Inagural Wild Rover v Loki game (which was supposed to be a blitz tournament after I talked to two other hostels & two nightclubs numberous times). They had some nifty players & two subs, but our team moulded really well together. Myself & Olan sharing goalkeeping duties, Neils Van Nistelrooy up front & the three hard-working brazillians…yes, some brazillians can tackle and Fillipo put in one of the best tackles I’ve ever seen, killing himself to get back to stop a near-certain goal when I’d just put us 8-1 up with a back heel from a corner! We ended up winning 9-3.
Hostel: Wild Rover…. Class hostel...we rate it the best hostel of the trip. If I was opening a hostel & desiging a bar, it would be based on the exact specs of the bar in WR Cusco. Beds & showers def within top 3 of the 1st 4 months of the trip.
Bus to get there: Hauyani (?) from Puno (35 bargained down to 30s for Cama)…very good journey…arrived 5am & taxis tried to charge 10s when going rate is 4 or 5…we paid 5s.
Matchu Pitchu Activity: There are three main options people go for:
- Classic Inca Trail: Lonely planet advises you to book in advance and this costs you $450 - $500 with the companies listed in that guide
- Salcantay: all the Peruvians were advising us to do this trek…demanding at 6-8 hrs per day walking…peaks all along the walk. Average price of $180 + $10 to rent a sleeping bag…we paid $175 incl the bag.
- Inca Jungle: the trek for those into activities…6 hrs of biking the first day included. Rafting & ziplining coist $20-$25 extra each.