We Made It!!
12.11.2015 - 13.11.2015 18 °C
Jetlagged, exhausted, and with the quickly dawning realisation that speaking a few words of a language is vastly different to partaking in a conversation of it, we hailed a cab from Cusco airport. Trick for new players- the cabbie's fares OUTSIDE the terminal can be halved. Jo had been gripping the Jesus handle for dear life this morning when Alberto drove us through Santiago, but old Alberto had nothing on this guy. We almost went nose to nose with a mini bus exiting the airport and there was no improvement after that. I thought driving in Malta was manic, there's constant honking, flashing of lights ( which means the opposite of NZ here), and traffic cops on almost every corner, half of them packing heat.
We made it to San Blas, and with a short walk we were at our new digs. La Bo'heme is a quaint backpackers with an awesome staff. There's a small courtyard surrounded by the rooms, all off the street so super quiet too. Perfect for an ageing couple such as ourselves. Sergio made us Coca tea for the altitude and explained in-depth the best places to eat, we are planning to tick all of them off. A light dinner down the street at Pachamama, we had the restaurant to ourselves, Good hearty food and $8 each for 2 courses plus drinks.
Our first decent sleep in days, crepes and good coffee for breakfast courtesy of the hostel= bring on Cusco!! We're both suffering a bit from the altitude (11,000feet will do that to a couple of kiwis) so we set off to explore Cusco. After 2 hours I'm in love with this city,and standing under the cathedral in Plaza de Armas incites visions of conquistadors and sacrifices, and the incredible Incan stonework that lines the walls takes you back even further. The people are beautiful and friendly, even the hawkers are respectful, and the police presence in town makes it feel very safe. ( With the exception of a very small child, who took a dislike to Jo and proceeded to attack her legs with a book) . We made our way to the massive San Blas market, we're going to have to go back as we missed the "witches section", and found ourselves the centre of the University while looking for the museum- we ever did find it but the uni was lovely. Even the stray dogs do their own thing, using only the footpaths to walk on, sleeping in the square where the people are, not scavenging or barking. And for mongrels they look like nice dogs.
We returned to the hostel armed with colorful pressies for the kids (wont tell you what cos I know you're both reading this), significantly improved Spanish AND Negotiation skills, and a much lighter wallet.
Lunch @ Mutu was Creviche - local delicacy, trout done in andean lime chilli and garlic, smashed down with a pisco sour, and dinner at Pachapapa on Carmen Alto. This place was highly recommended in Cusco. Alpaca steaks in yellow chilli sauce, and a wood fired pizza cooked in the oven in the courtyard. All washed down with some potent pisco cocktails.