From Moquegua to Cusco

April 4, 2014 - Cusco, Peru

11 hours' kip. Fantastic hot shower. Beautiful weather. Back okay. Stomach okay. Breakfast for 2 pounds ten for the both of us - tea and beef roll for Vince, milky coffee and avocado roll for me. On the way to the other side of town to find out about collectivos (minibuses) we found guineapig on the menu. One pound 60 for guineapig, rice and potatoes in a stew. Jo and Ellie please note - the guineapig's leg and foot was very visible! I had half a forkful. Tasted like the dark part of turkey to me (the bird, not the country). We climbed up a mountain - okay, big hill. Cerro Baul. It took one and a half hours up and 50 minutes down. There was a ruined city on the top. Very ruined. Piles of big stones. Still pretty impressive, though. Weather wonderful. Bonus - found a packet of 10 fags. Unopened. Me pleased.

Next day we went to the market. Wished we had longer to spend there. It was fascinating. Huge and sold everything you could want very cheaply. We bought 6 bread rolls for 20p. Took a bus to Puno. 5 hours. Five pounds each. It was 150 miles. There was a delay of nearly an hour, though. A lorry had gone over the edge of the (mountain) road. A crane was there holding it in place and blocking the road. It was quite dramatic watching the lorry being lifted off the side of the mountain. Higher up, the weather changed. We had sleet and snow. When we got to Puno we booked into a good hostal we had used last time. Then got a meal for 4 soles - just under one pound - each. There was so much I couldn't eat all mine. We went to the internet cafe next door to the hostal and I looked at the photos Vince had put on the blog. The one of me in the Salt Inn made me laugh. I look really pigged off. I wasn't, though. That was an excellent day. Perhaps just not camera-ready!

Saw on the news that there had been an earthquake off shore of Arica. And a Tsunami was expected. Good job we decided not stay there. We simply took a taxi from Arica bus station to the border. We had decided that. being in Chile, Arica would be too expensive. In retrospect a good choice. Vince has just informed me that there WAS a Tsunami in Chile. Not in Arica but I still think we did well to get out of there fast. Looking online, Vince says the Tsunami was southern Chile, not northern. Even so . . .

Next day we got a bus upgrade, or thought we had. Our cheap one - 250 miles for around four quid each for 250 miles, with 13 stops - was not running. We were moved onto a bus which took 6 hours with no stops. Buses are not that punctual in Peru. Although I hated the Bolivian attitude (insular, backward, unhelpful) they were spot on with their bus times. Not that I am bothered. Purely an observation. So ... our upgraded bus left half an hour late and stopped at every major bus station. Once for half an hour. The 6 hours turned into 8. Chuff knows how long the "eight hour bus" would have taken!! Really lush scenery for the last 4 hours. Very green. We arrived in Cusco and found a hostal within our budget. Beautiful view. Then ate in a restaurant for 6 soles each - around one pound 30 - for two courses.

Pleasant surprises this morning. The water in the shower was so hot I nearly burnt myself. Boy, did I stay in there for a while. Marvellous. And then we found out that continental breakfast was included. We went on a free walking tour for 3 hours. It was very informative about INca life, history, buildings and . . . free places to visit! And there were the usual tiny tastings - alpaca and local chocolate. There should have been guineapig but Israelis had taken over that particular restaurant so the tasting was felafel! We then went back to the restaurant from the first night and ate from the 12 soles menu. 2 massive courses and a pisco sour for me and coca tea for Vince.

Coscu is lovely. Bits of Inca architecture, lots of Colonial buildings. We will have a good look around tomorrow. There is an organic market, where only local stuff is sold. I have seen the size of the avocados and am very impressed. Plus Vince has a few more hills he wants me to climb . . .



1 Comment

Graham J:
April 7, 2014
What effect does coca tea have?
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