South America | Peru | Southern Peru | Cuzco (Cusco) – Cuzco
Tuesday 8th May
Cuzco isn’t a pretty place on first sight, and armed with the knowledge that many tourists leave with less possessions than when they arrived, we were on our guard. We had a system all worked out: Hector carries the daypack on his front, to keep an eye on the razor blade artists, I do the same with his smallish rucsack. He has my heavy bag on his back (I do try to pack light, honest!) and walk behind to guard it. All a little uneccesary since Orme?o offer a free taxi service to your chosen hotel.
We have chosen the Santo Domingo Convento. Yes indeed, you don’t get much safer than staying in a convent. We hadn’t exactly expected a functioning convent, but that’s what we got, complete with catholic girls’ school attached! Who can complain, when the safety deposit keys stay with the Mother Superior herself!
Pleased with our decision, we head off into the town to see if it’s really as bad as they all say. The Plaza de Armas in cuzco’s centre is a beautiful place, with colonial cathedral made from Inca ruins. Not intimidating at all (until dark falls!) although be ready for some hassle. Do you want a taxi? Do you want postcards, local art, local food, do you want to change some money….Speaking of money, we needed to get some from an ATM – not an altogether pleasing prospect, but we found an indoor machine with nearby security guard. This didn’t stop the elderly, well dressed Peruvian man from peering over the shoulder of an American man in front, seemingly trying to get his PIN code. He made his excuses and left when we rumbled him. I hope someone would do the same for me!
Wednesday 9th May
On our second day in Cuzco we did all of the things that a tourist is not supposed to do. We went shopping in the busy Mercado Central, we went out and about with a camera, we even took our money out on the street to pay a vendor. And here we are, still in possession of all our money and valuables. True, a five year old child warned us away from one end of the market, telling us that a group of boys were planning to rob us, but still, we escaped unscathed.
It would be a real shame if people listened to the hype and left their cameras at their hotels, since Cuzco has some spectacular views to be photographed. I also got an ultra-touristy picture taken with 2 traditionally dressed woman and a couple of llamas. I think it’s Cuzco’s equivalent to a MickyMouse picture!
Once again, Hector managed to find a place showing
Champion’s League football (a nice excuse for me to have a 3 course menu del dia) and then time for an early night – our pick up for the Inca Trail is at 6.30.