Cusco Hilton

Trip Start Sep 02, 2008
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11
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Trip End Dec 14, 2008


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Monday, October 6, 2008

Arriving at the Mirador Del Inka, just off Plaza San Blas in Cusco - we were shown to our double room, with shared bathroom, by one of the mysterious sunglass wearing family who ran the hostel. Still pumped at surviving the bus journey the fact the toilet had no lock, shower curtain or toilet roll didn't seem to matter much. Obviously I hadn't noticed the dust in the bedroom (these things seem to pass me by) or the mangy looking dogs and slowly Jen pointed out that this was actually quite a skanky place to stay.

Anyway we left our Cusco Hilton (more Bangkok than Paris as I'm sure you've gathered) to explore Cusco, the ancient Inca city which serves as a gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley that surrounds it. Such is the importance of all the Inca sites in and around Cusco the government in their wisdom have decreed you require an extortionate tourist ticket ($45 US dollars!!! for ruins, I ask you) to visit any of them. We discovered this after a torturous ascent up to Saqsaywaman (Sexywoman as it's universally known) and not having any cash on us meant that we had to stand somewhat pathetically by as hoards of tourists rushed past to see the remains of the Inca fort.
Entrance fees became a running theme for Cusco, every church, cathedral and museum charged a fee (in dollars) which meant with our notorious frugality we didn't actually get to see the inside of anything - still it left time for shopping and we are now the proud owners of bobble hats and Inca Kola t-shirts; the like of which some of you lucky readers may find in your Christmas stocking this year!!

Aside from the fees, Cusco is actually a great city to wander around, lots of cobbled streets and alleyways, plenty of fantastic buildings built by the Spanish (after they diligently knocked down most traces of Inca power) as well as highly efficient tourist police who whistle threateningly to locals trying to foist their wares on us foreigners.

The rest of our time was spent supping Cusquena (quality Peruvian beer) and searching out free wi-fi outlets which took us to such salubrious establishments as The Real McCoy Pub, Nick's Sports Bar and McDonald's. Most importantly though we had time to get sorted for our Inka Trail which started on Monday.
 
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