I went on an all day bus tour of the sacred valley around Cusco. Phil was of course supposed to come but she had wicked altitude sickness. She only got up once that day to go get pills apparently. We had already booked the tour so she said I should go anyway .
There was chaos at the start as the scores of your operators from around the city brought their customers and tried to install them on the buses. I was put on one bus then taken off it because it was a Spanish only tour, only to be put on another Spanish only bus. It turns out that the last English bus had left in the meantime so I was promised that I could switch at the first site Pisaq. Before we got there, however we had to stop at the first of three souvenir stops.
Pisaq had 4000 inhabitants in Inca times, 2000 of them farmers on the terraces. The terraces had stone walls in front and were backfilled with gravel and topsoil. I was introduced to the English speaking guide and promised that I would be switched after the next site. We then went for a buffet lunch.
We carried on to the next site, Ollentaytambo. It was quite a zoo of tourists. None of my pics were all that great.
After this place they finally offered to let me switch buses, but I was understanding a lot of what he said and that were a very jovial group so I stayed with them.
The final stop was at a textile place where they did a demo about dyes and had another nice display of dyestuffs.
I got back to the hotel 12 hours after leaving and Phil’s meds were kicking in enough to go out for ice cream.
We went to the Cusco culinary cooking class and made our own dinner. I would happily recommend this to anyone who has any culinary interest. We started with Pisco Sour cocktails. Apparently a bartender didn’t have any whisky for a whisky sour and subbed a local super strong wine. We had one made with traditional ice cubes and two done with frozen juice cubes.
Next came the appetizer, Causa which is chopped chicken salad and sliced avocado sandwiched between two layers of mashed potatoes built in a mold.
- Unfortunately, Phil developed altitude sickness and she didn’t make it through the whole thing. She went and lay down after making the appetizer. We made the main course which was quinoa risotto and lomo saltados (beef stir fry). We flambéed the beef cubes
Then added tomatoes, red peppers, onions and cilantro. It was delicious.
We finished off with a fruit mousse.
Great meal and fun making it ourselves.
We got some sleep last night, but I didn’t get a ton. I tried to get back to sleep using Nirvana Unplugged, which usually works before the CD is finished, but I ended up doing that, the National, Wish You Were Here and Townes Van Zandt before it was 7 am and time for breakfast.. Sucks to be me.
This morning we signed up for a cooking class for this afternoon, then took a city tour on a sightseeing bus. First it circled the block twice and brought us back to where we started. When the tour was over I realized there was a sign which said they were only allowed to park for 7 minutes, so they were probably returning to base to try to fill the bus before the tour actually started. Once we finally got going, it took us past the Plaza das Armas
And up to Cristo Blanco above the city
With nice views of the city below
And an archeological site whose name I didn’t catch
And then to the obligatory tourist trap where they try to sell you expensive artisanal goods, in this case jewellery and alpaca items. They did gave a great display of dyestuffs for alpaca. I found the blue corn particularly interesting.
I made my usual pilgrimage to McDonald’s. I always try the local item. Maharajah Macs, Desayunos Tipicos, etc. This time it was a nasty dried out piece of chicken breast on a bed of green rice with big corn kernels. Phil asked me if it was good and I said..of course not, it’s McDonald’s!but they had some neat condiments
21 hours virtually nonstop. I should know better than to try to take pictures from a moving bus but the scenery was so great I couldnt resist.
Yesterday before we left we are in the bus station and they had a bilingual menu, so I took a picture for future reference
They also had this handy dandy chart of fruits and veg…in alphabetical order no less.All we did today after we arrived is check into the hotel, then went for a bite to eat and went for a wander. We went on a ‘free’ walking tour. Nothing is free and we had trouble breaking away, sadly when we tried, they waited for us so we bought our way out at the next stop. It was only sort of interesting and he was very long winded and not very information dense.
We did go to a few interesting places. Notice the pop bottle sprinkler and the market designed by Mr Eiffel of tower fame
Most of the beautiful old buildings here seem to be sandstone more than coloured plaster
That is one building seen through an archway but I the light is hitting the top of the arch funny
We will probably go out for supper then go to bed early