Cusco

Trip Start Oct 05, 2007
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73
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Trip End Oct 04, 2008


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Where I stayed
Yanapay

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Friday, June 20, 2008

We arrive in Cusco fairly late in the evening where we get a taxi to the Yanapay where we will be staying and meet Steph and her friend Livvy who arrived the day before. Liv and Steph have a tearful reunion and then we head out into the town to get some much needed food. We find a nice Mexican place up 'Gringo' alley and then head back to the hostel where we talk and mess about on the internet for a while before going to bed.

We spend the next four days relaxing in Cusco, there is loads to explore - various markets, small sidestreets with shops tucked away and loads of really nice restaurants to try out followed by bars in the evening!  There are shops selling alpacca products, handmade woven rugs, paintings, jewellery - the amount of craft shops are incredible and really interesting to wander round and also haggle for a bargain! And the hilly cobbled streets are starting to get us into shape for our trek (at least I hope they are!)

Livvy and Steph like their sleep so in the mornings me and Liv head out and see various things before meeting up with the others for lunch. We are there just in time for the Inti Raymi festival to celebrate the winter solstice so there are lots of parades and other things going on in the Plaza de Armas.

On the first day that we are there the art students have a big parade with their art work on floats or being carried around the square. One of the nights we are in Cusco there is loads of dancing in the plaza. The plaza is packed full of people watching and it's really cool to see the dancing in all the traditional costumes and loud music followed by fireworks. For Inti Raymi itself (24th June) me and Liv head down to the remains of the Convent of Santo Domingo where there is a huge performance going on which involves lots of dancing and music and lots of different traditional costumes. The display then moves up to the main plaza where pretty much the same happens. The Inca king and queen are carried around the square and theres a mock sacrifice of a lamb in the centre before the display ends.

Whilst in Cusco we also do a lot of shopping to pick up bits and pieces from the various stalls in preparation for our Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu and also explore the local market which is really good to see all the different things for sale. There is loads to see and do in Cusco, Livvy also introduces us to the delight of Caliente Vino and we discover amazing Falafells!! We have a meeting with Eduardo the person organising our trek who tells us all what to expect on the trek which makes me really excited but just seems to worry everyone else! We also meet up with our guide Roger (pronounced Roya) who seems really nice and gives us more information than Eduardo and also tells us that there wil be two other people on the trek with us. I'm really looking forward to the trek and we have an early last night in Cusco so we're ready for the 4 am start the next morning.
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