ihana.com - travels - peru 2000 - cuzco
It was dark in Cuzco when we arrived. The station is mercifully free of taxi drivers and hotel reps and only certain people are allowed inside. We were met by one of the girls who works at the hotel Casa del Campo which was to be our base for the next couple of weeks. She held up a sign with my name on it; 'Tom Pissy' - great! Barry turned out to be called 'Boris Sarin'...
Cuzco was by far the most touristic of all places in Peru. It is easy to see why though, the streets are cobbled and narrow with old buildings partly built on old Inca stonework, its a beautiful place. Nightlife is busy with all discos open every night of the week. You can get free entry/drink passes from chicas in the street but the atmosphere in the discos is very European compared to that of the places we'd been so far. Theres loads of places to eat, check email and book excursions. Its a good base for doing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, rafting, jungle trips, mountian biking, horse riding - whatever you like.
Cuzco is supposed to be built in the shape of a Puma. We visited the 'Puma's Head', Saqsaywaman, which is probably the best example of Inca stonework there is. We walked up there from town, its only 20 minutes. The weather was dull and showery but as we arrived it cleared, leaving the stonework bathed in the kind of light photographers dream of. The stones are fitted so close together you can see no gap at all. The biggest ones weigh up to 150 tons.
As Cuzco is about 3500m above sea level it needs some acclimatization. Fortunately, we'd gradually increased our altitude from Arequipa, Colca, Puno and now Cuzco was actually a bit lower than Puno. My feet still had blisters healing from the Colca Canyon trek so we decided to do the jungle trip to Manu first and tackle the Inca Trail later.
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