Along the Sacred Valley back to Cusco

Trip Start Mar 16, 2009
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Trip End May 29, 2009


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Where I stayed
Hostel Frankenstein

Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday 27th April - Wednesday 29th April

Our guide had told us the Inca pronunciation for Cusco was actually Qosco - all this time, just like Costco, without the "T"!. We had caught a bus back to the nearby Aguas Calientes from Macchu Picchu, where we re-grouped with our Inca trail traveling party and the guides for an afternoon pizza in the town. We bade goodbyes to them, and we then sought out accommodation to stay in for the night. We found a place overlooking the Rio Urubamba, and promptly hibernated through the sheer exhaustion we felt for the remainder of that afternoon. We'd chosen to stay in Aguas Calientes rather than head straight back to Cusco, as it had particularly good thermal baths (Aguas Calientes = hot water), so we checked them out in the evening, and weren't disappointed. It was the perfect way to loosen all those joints!

We took the train the next morning back towards Ollyantaytambo - where we had previously arranged to check out two other sites on the way back to Cusco. The first was the salineras - a series of stepped salt deposits and mines, which were clearly used as the local supply of salt. The stepped nature suggested some prior Inca involvement, though I never quite worked out why (we were sans guide now!). The second stop was Moray, a fascinating place regarded as the "laboratory of the Incas" - this was a unique circular stepped conical valley, with each step effectively having its own micro-climate (due to altitude difference) and allowing a variety different vegetation per step to grow.

We then made our way back To Cusco by evening, reuniting ourselves with Hostel Frankenstein and our rucksacks. That evening we checked out the Centro Arte Nativo, which had a show featuring dancers performing the dance traditions of various tribes from the Peruvian regions. And then afterwards, we went to a restaurant, seeking out the native delicacy of Peru - the Guinea Pig! In fact we were mauled by five different restaurateurs, all trying to entice us into their places to eat in. Quick aside: we'd kept a tally of people canvassing us for one thing or another during our time in Cusco - the results are: Beggars: 5, street artists = 11, restaurateurs = 17, massage salespeople = 32! We tried grilled guinea pig (we should have gone for the more expensive roasted version), which wasn't really all that great, and my impression of it being stringy from 10 years ago was no different now, plus this time there was a rather unsavory smell. Angela was completely put off, plus my impressions of a dead guinea pig didn't really help her much either!

We were going to leave Cusco the next day, but not before a bit of Champions League football in the form of Man U vs Arsenal. Man U trounced them - but we enjoyed the match in the Real McCoys, whilst having a good slap-up English breakfast accompanied by some more PG tips!

And that drew our Inca adventure largely to a close. We were due to depart Cusco that afternoon for Nazca. We had had a good time here, and I felt happy that Angela had been able to share such an experience as this with me.
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