We are running low on warm clothes that don't smell. I was quite happy that our hostel offered a laundry service; drop it off before 7am, get it àback at 6pm. I dropped it off at 6:30am yesterday (Sunday) morning and gave directions to wash in cold and hang dry. Last night we came back and our stinky clothes were still sitting in the same spot. They said it would be done today. When we left this morning, our clothes had moved. I take this as a good sign...John said they probably put them in a closet so I wouldn't say anything. I guess we will find out tonight.
I feel very safe in Cusco except for one danger...dog poop. It's all over the place. If possible it is even more prevalent on Cusco's streets than it is in the Montmartre district of Paris. This is especially concerning because if there is an errant turd within a kilometre of John, he will find a way to step in it.
Shortly after leaving our hostel, John realized he had forgotten his phone. I said I'd happily wait for him in the San Blas square...and that is how I got a few minutes of unchaperoned shopping time. Unfortunately after making my purchase, it took the lady a good ten minutes of running from one vendor to another before finally getting change.
Today was a leisurely day. We wandered around and explored Cusco at a slow pace We did not feel rushed like yesterday, running up and down the cities steep inclines like a couple of spooked alpacas.
Our first stop was to a tour agency to book a tour for tomorrow to the southern part of the Sacred Valley to see more Inca archeological sites.
Our next stop was the Inca Temple of the Sun (Qorikancha). It is now the Convent of Santo Domingo. This used to be one of the most important Inca temples but when the Spaniards gained power, they destroyed it and built a monastery on its foundations. The original temple had both interior and exterior walls lined with solid gold tile plates. The gold was used to try and ransom the Inca ruler held prisoner by the Spanish conquerors. Despite receiving the gold, he was still executed.
Afterwards we went to the Museo de Sitio Qurikancha which was a small but interesting museum about the Incas.
After looking around, we found the Inca 12 angled stone. The stone is part of a large wall and is 'famous' for the precise stonework that required the stone to have 12 angles on its face (compared to the 4 angles of a square cut stone) so that it fit perfectly with the surrounding stone blocks. Everyone was very impressed. I wondered if some ancient Inca got plastered one night and was really trying to only make a four cornered stone...John just sighed.
We had to go back to the tour agency so I asked our salesman to recommend a reasonably priced non-touristy restaurant with really good food. He couldnt remember the name but drew us a map.
We did not find it but instead came across Gustitos de Loli. Not cheap but a real gem. It had Peruvian food but what really caught my eye was the home made pasta. The sauce was divine and the chicken done to perfection. The service was great and the bathroom was spotless and even had a toilet seat...(many of them don't).
When we left the restaurant it had clouded over, the temperature had dropped and it started to rain. It was amazing how quickly the streets filled with peddlers selling plastic rain ponchos and umbrellas.
There are always a lot of peddlers on the streets. In the mornings when it's cold, many of them are selling knitted hats and other warm garments. When the sun heats things up, they are selling sun hats. There are always lots of arts, crafts and jewellery for sale on the streets. And you can't forget the women in fancy native dress carrying or walking cute little baby alpacas who will let you have a picture with them...for a price. They are on almost every street corner.
The rain had stopped by the time we made it over to the San Pedro Market. I loved looking at all the different foods. Maca powder, quinoa, chia and many other grains were dirt cheap compared to prices in Canada.
Best was watching the people. Some of the merchants were napping at their stalls. Other craftspeople were knitting; their needles moving so quickly (I was quite envious).
And the colours....a feast for the eyes. I had never seen gladiolus that shade of blue and the vibrant textiles...
John and I tried freshly blended juice. I couldn't resist buying an adorable llama hat. So fun.
The sun was out when we left the market so we made our way to the Plaza des Armas. I got an ice cream from a very unobtrusive McDonalds while John had a coffee from an equally unobtrusive Starbucks. We consumed our treats while sitting on a bench in the square, watching a worker fly his hawk throughout the area. It seemed to have worked cause there was not a pigeon in sight. However the pigeons returned within ten minutes of the man and hawk leaving.
We passed a street named Purgatorio. Now who should want to live there? After I took this picture, I noticed a guy peeing against the wall.
John and I headed back to pack for tomorrow's big day. I was delighted to find our laundry returned, fresh and clean.
I really love Cusco. It is a picturesque city filled with colorful sights and people. So much character.
TIPS & COSTS
Gustitos de Loli - Recoleta Angosta 613-A
Phone- 084 262198
Tickets to the Temple of the Sun- 15 soles each ($6 Cad)
Museo de Sitio Qurikancha - included in the cost of the 10 day Archeological ticket