July 24, 2013
Today I had another Jean adventure. I had a nice morning in my room reading, I am almost done with Diane's book: Cusco, The Gateway to Inner Wisdom. Went to Yoga at 10:45 but there was no one there in the atrium. Little by little some travelers showed up until finally our teacher arrived quite late. It did not matter, it was a good session although a bit too advanced for me. The stretching felt good as did getting settled back into just breathing and being quiet. I then had lunch at a small crepe place where everyone was speaking french and seemed to know each other. It was a very small place, again great food. Then I prepared to go to the ruins just outside of here. I walked up the stairs and more stairs, steep, then on the road, steep up, climbing, huffing and puffing - "what was I thinking?!" - until I finally arrived 4 km later. This set of ruins is seen as a sacred place , and quite expansive (to me). I ended up hiring an english speaking guide which turned out to be a very good idea. We walked and talked for about an hour, he then explained how I could see the other 3 ruins further up. It was quite confusing to me but I decided I was up for the adventure even though I was planning to just see this one (and save the others for next year). I took a taxi for 5 soles (little less then $2) to forego the 15 minute walk up the road since I was already tired but instead the taxi driver suggested he take me all the way to the furtherest ruin for 10 soles and I then take the collectivo buses to make my way down. So he dropped me off at Tambomachay ruins which was set in a beautiful natural setting. This particular ruins was one where the Incas routed the water to a ceremonial bath, channeling the water from the streams. It was quite beautiful both the ruins and nature. Then across the street was Pukapukara which had great panoramic views. I then had to walk back UP to find the collectivo bus which I had just missed to go down to Q'enqo the final ruin on my list. I sat by the side of road until I got a ride to that ruin (1 sole, less than 40 cents). But you get what you pay for. This collective went right past Qenqo when I spoke up, he let me off but not before I had to now walk back UP the road to these ruins. It was now about 5:00. I explored these ruins, along with busloads of others then had to walk back UP the road again to find another collectivo to get to Cusco. The collectivos are the local (and cheap) way to travel so they are not allowed to part next to the sites, instead they park in the distance making their riders have to truck out to them. I go on this van (which seats 14) and by the time we ended up in Cusco, there were 29 human beings in that little bus! I counted babies and all, the bus kept stopping along the road and crammed one more passenger in until we got to Cusco - glad I had a seat. There was a little confusion about where I was to get off but the very local people ended up helping me and got me back into the van when I got off at the wrong place. Then they got me off the bus in the right place, I was confused at the cost when it was time to pay since she said what sounded to me like the number 14 when I was thinking it was 1 sole, turned out to be .14 sole (about a nickel) - explains why the locals use these buses. I was now on familiar territory as I was dropped off in a plaza that was part of my walking tour yesterday and I knew how to find my way home. I had an amazing meal at a little place called Venezia: tomato stuffed with carrot/celery salad, rice, fries, trout, salad then I had to order dessert of an apple pie that was quite different than our American apple pie, more european with an almost soufflé crust and thin custard on top - absolutely delicious, with tip, my bill was 20 soles (about $7). I am loving the food here!
Tomorrow, I rest my legs...my calves hurt. Just yoga at 11 am, the Inca museum and lunch at LP's highly recommended Cicciolina restaurant. Then packing for the trek and meeting with the group at 7 pm. It will be nice to see the Plaza de Armas lit up at night as the meeting place is nearby. Tomorrow is my last day in Cusco.