When we first got to Cusco I was not very impressed as I was having a bit of reverse culture shock. Having spent a good few days in the desert and in the canyons far away from the majority of the tourists I had gained a solid view of rural Peru away from the cities. The Peru I had become used to is a pretty poor place, the roads are rough in places and the people are busy farming and tending to animals on the hillsides while in the towns there is a typical square with a church, a police station and a resturant serving fried chicken or trout. The ladies do indeed all wear hats, wooley or fleece tops and leggings and the most common way to get around is on a motorbike or a minibus that stops everywhere and in between drives at crazy speeds on mud covered roads. The landscape is impossibly steep and around every corner it seems there is some new stunning view.
When you drive between the big tourist centres then the roads are suddenly quite smooth, the minibuses are in good order, white and have prominent tourist signs and every so often there is a gift shop selling passable coffee and occasionally even cakes !
Cusco takes things to a whole other level, on the main square the buildings are carefully and properly conserved and there are no high rises blotting the landscape, so it is very pretty, look closer and you can choose between Starbucks, the Irish pub or KFC along with a number of high end restaurants that take local inspired cuisine like Alpaca and turn it into a succulent art from, there are multiple high end hotels all housed in old colonial buildings with beautiful courtyards. In the streets you find ladies and kids dressed up in fancy coloured outfits with a baby llama under an arm looking for a few sols to have their photo taken with you. So although Cusco has very little to do with rural Peru it is actually a very nice city to spend a few days, there is lots to see including some extensive Inca ruins and the setting in the hills is lovely.
The hostel I stayed in was at the end of this step street above the city, at 3600m it was a good daily workout to get up and down to the town.
Some of the Inca ruins were now the bases of christian church as is the case with this church overlooking the main square, it is know by locals and tourists as the “sexy woman” site although the Peruvian spelling is different it does sound like the english shorthand.
Due to the trouble in Boliva, Duncan has decided to head home via Bogota from Cusco, he lasted one night in the hostel and moved into a nicer hotel for his final two nights, that gave him peace and decent wifi as his head turned to work and planning. Duncan had led the way in the search for nice food and found some lovely restaurants for us in Cuzco, here below sampling the excellent trout tartar.
And finally dragging me into the Irish Pub for an all day breakfast, after a few days I had overcome my negative reaction to the foreign chains and culture and was persuaded to enjoy the good things that the city has to offer
At this point you can see that Duncan has gone for the clean shaven executive look as part of his transformation from bold adventurer to corporate businessman !
As always Duncan was great company and we travel very easily together on the many adventures we have done, now in the planning is a multi-vehicle trip in South Africa with both families and Nelson as part of my trip to that continent.