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Day 11 - Tour Day 7 - Cusco, Horseback riding

Cusco, Cuzco, Peru Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ok, well today's post has a few moments of the trip for the bus last night.

We were meant to originally leave at 10pm, however due to the issue we had last time we took a 10 hour bus trip, our tour guide organised for us to catch the 8pm bus, he had the transfer (minibus) organised to pick us up at 7pm from the hotel, at 7pm still no minivan, he called them and it appeared there was some kind of emergency and they had to organise another driver for us and it would be there by 7:20, by 7:20, still no bus. He called them again, apparently now the bus is stuck in traffic, so instead they organised 4 taxis for us all. At 7:35 we were finally in the taxis and on the way to the Bus terminal, supposedly a 10 - 15 minute taxi ride. We arrived at the Bus terminal at 7:58 to the screams of the other guys who had arrived just a couple of minutes before us shouting "JUST GRAB YOUR BAGS AND RUN!". It took Bruno a couple of seconds to realise that this female kiwi accent screaming at us was Sonia from our group. But needless to say, we did exactly that. We arrived just in time to get the last of our bags checked in.

Apart from that, our bus trip was pretty uneventful, including sleep wise, wasn't much of that going on from Bruno's and my side of things, the bus was so hot that we struggled to sleep. It wasn't until about 4:30am until I finally dossed off for an hour or 2. We worked out that over the past couple of days, both Bruno and I have been running on about 5 to 6 hours sleep.

We arrived in Cusco at about 7:30 and made our way to the hotel. The first thing we noticed was how big the city was, Cusco is huge. Unfortunately due to the arrival time there were no rooms available for us to check in. Instead we decided to head out and grab a quick breakfast before taking a quick tour around the city with our guide Lucho.

We arrived in Cusco on the first day of the Incan Sun Festival “Inti Raymi”, which takes place on the winter solace. Back in the time of the Incas, this was a religious holiday, but now it's more of a theater representation.

Due to the Inti Raymi festival being on there were a heap of children dressed up in these amazing costumes, and this also meant a heap more people were in town.

Lucho took us around some of the sites and showed us some of the safe places to get money changed (some people will use fake money), he showed us some of the walls around the street that were made by the Incas. Carved all by hand and placed so tightly together, it's hard to believe that this was done without modern day equipment, the carving of the stone is so precise you can't even fit a piece of paper between the bricks. Unfortunately when the Spanish arrived they damaged a lot of these walls around the city and used them to make the churches.

After our tour of the city we headed back to our hotel to check in and shower as well as dropping off some well needed Laundry to wash, I haven't been this excited about getting laundry done in a long time. Then it was time for myself and Bruno headed off with Sammi, Constance and Laura for a horseback ride around some of Cusco’s archaeological sites. Before we left we ran into our guide who had just got back from buying a new phone, it appears he let guard down too much when he was giving us our tour and his phone was stolen from his pocket.

Our horses arrived and as my horse came out while I was doing up my shoelace, the others opted out of the horse for them and said "Jono can have that one". They seemed to think it was an old and crusty horse that would die. But I found it quiet nice to ride. The tour was about three and a half hours which took us down to an old cave used by the Incas to do sacrifices. From there it was a trip out the mountain range by horseback for a view over the city and a quick snack. Before heading back downhill to the start point. Quiet a lovely day for a ride.

It was then time to head out to get briefed of our Trek, all of the group except Hannah are doing the Lares Trek, Hannah was able to get onto the Inca Trek (which is longer and hikes right into Machu Picchu on the last day). We will have a new guide taking us on the trek, his name is Sergio or Gato (translates to Cat) apparently it has to do with the colour of his eyes. The trek will involve camping for two nights which should be interesting, apparently it can get as cold as -10, so I should almost feel right at home with the guys from Christchurch dealing with snow at the moment.

We then took off for dinner, but not before seeing a great firework display which had been setup for the festival. It's been great arriving here during this time as we get to see so much more cool stuff like this. Dinner was in this little restaurant tucked away off the street behind a door, around the corner and up some stairs. Unless you knew exactly where it was, it's likely you wouldn't find it.

The restaurant was called AguayMant, while the Alpaca meal I had was fantastic, the best thing that I had was the Chocolate Milkshake. It had to be probably the best Chocolate Milkshake I had ever had. Afterwards we made our way back to the hotel by pushing our way though the crowd of several thousand people. At which point Bruno lost his cellphone. So he will be off tomorrow to file a police report so he can claim insurance on it. Tomorrow we will be heading off on a home stay before doing the trek so we will probably be out of contact for several days.


Where I stayed

Cusco Plaza Nazarenas - Calle Saphi 486, Cusco, Peru I rated this place 4/5 - Internet works but noisy in the morning

Internet at this place seems to work well, each room has its own shower and toilet and breakfast is available in the mornings as well. Only problem is if your planning on getting a sleep in from a night out on the town, chances are slim. The tiled floors and the big enclosed areas that your room surrounds makes it an echo chamber. As lots of tour groups come through here it can get a little noisy.

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