Day twenty-seven/twenty-eight: Cusco and Sacred Valley

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This morning we spot children in the hotel! Actual children. Blonde haired, English speaking children the same age as ours! Hallelujah! I’m sure my reaction was something akin to the child catcher (poor kids) as I bellowed “CHILDREN!” at them.

Luckily I didn’t scare them off and they all bonded over ‘friv’ on the lobby computers, chess and entertaining each other with funny accents… and before you know it a football match is scheduled for later in the day. Hmmm, just the small issue of a flat football and the lack of a pump to overcome.

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Today we take a city tour of Cusco. We make it to about half way through before being asked “Why does this man think walls are so interesting?” We are stood looking at our fifth wall. If you’ve ever been to Peru or studied the Incas, you’ll know their walls and building methods are a very important part of their history. But to this seven year old, we have touched, looked at, walked by and climbed on enough walls to last her lifetime.

Being accompanied by a rainstorm and a child without a raincoat for most of this cement-less wall experience made it all the more enjoyable.

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Let’s just say we ‘get through’ the trip to all the local historical monuments… the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the Koricancha Temple, the ruins of the Kenko Amphitheater, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, and my personal favourite…. Sacsayhuaman (pron. sexy-woman). 

We fail to find a football pump, so the children continue with funny accents and doing impressions with their new friends, they play chess and take turns on the lobby computers. We discover that no one (in the whole country) can be served alcohol as there’s a general election tomorrow.

That’s a new phenomenon to us – what does that tell you about a country? And what uproar would that cause if implemented in the UK? I try to put my case that I am not in fact voting, but alas no one will bend the rules. Perfect. Finally, the rainy-no-wine-wall-day comes to an end. Tomorrow’s another day…

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Today we’re off to the Sacred Valley. We have the same guide as yesterday, Puma, so we hear some of the same patter and enjoy his stories as he proudly talks about “my people”.

DSC_8882Blue skies today so we can actually see out of the windows and can see Sacsayhuaman (although still being reminded of Rod Stewart each time he says it). We drive to a little farm with llamas and alpacas and of course we stop off at a couple of obligatory artisan gift shops, a market and a silver shop on the way to our final destination today… Ollantaytambo.

IMG_8923Unfortunately we are joined for the second time by a family we had the displeasure of meeting yesterday. They consist of a grown man and his two parents from Europe (not the UK) and they are rude, gruff, shout, smoke, smell, they snort, they grunt, have miserable faces and are always late. Unfortunately they have chosen to do *all that* (minus the smoking) in the seats directly in front of us.

My heart sank when I saw them again this morning. We’re at the start of a six day tour and it dawned on me that we may have to listen to their bodily functions for the duration.

We’re all wearing small wireless earphones linked to Puma’s microphone to hear him as we walk through the ruins. This also means we have the pleasure of hearing the gruff family each time they complain to him. It also means we all hear Puma when he forgets his mic is on and complains about them to another guest. From the top of a ruin I start to jump and wave at Puma to alert him to turn his mic off, but he keeps going and keeps going.

Really really fortunately, the gruff family have chosen to not wear their earphones today.

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Several stunning, albeit wall-based archaeological sites later…. including the very beautiful Ollantaytambo… plus the obligatory 30p a piece photographs with locals in traditional dress holding llamas and lambs (right before they head home to pull on a pair of jeans) and we arrive at our hotel.

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We’re staying in a kind of canyon and the scenery is stunning. A late night campfire keeps the children entertained before bed… tomorrow we catch the vista dome train (not the nine hour one) to Machu Pichu. I am beyond excited!

Lost:

  • Ethan’s coat (left on the bus back in Cusco)

Found:

  • Ethan’s coat (thankfully located and returned by the tour company 24 hours later)

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