We arrive into Cusco around 7.30am, and my tummy is growling but my snack box has mysteriously disappeared.
We get a taxi to our hostel, we're actually staying in the extension of the WalkOnInn, just up the road, and our room is nice enough - double bed, and private bath with electrical shower. I think it's the first one since Ornelia's in Quito! It's 75 soles, so not too bad, but there are no common areas to hang out in, and no internet.
Ryan is knackered so we siesta for a couple of hours and then head out mid morning to explore Cusco, the continents oldest continuously inhabited city. We walk down our cobbled street to Plaza De Armas which has two churches to two sides, other attractive buildings bordering it, and a fountain in the middle. Cusco's cathedral took 100 years to build and has been built on the site of Inca Viracocha's palace with blocks from Saqsaywaman.
There are tourists everywhere. We are also being sold (well attempts to sell us things are being made) tours, massages, paintings, jewellery, hats, handicrafts of any sort really, everywhere. Oh and sunglasses. Can't you see I'm already wearing sunglasses!! We politely decline them all but this doesn't take long to become annoying.
We find a tourist information office, and find out how to get to Ollanta. That done, we continue to mooch about the city, heading up a cobbled street off the plaza where we see woman in colourful traditional dress with a baby llama (or lamb!?) tucked under their arms, or leading grown llamas, offering to pose for photos, for a price of course. We come across the Museo Inka and in the courtyard there are highland women weaving by hand, their work is very impressive. We carry on up the cobbled alley, past many stores selling tours and just as many selling handicrafts. We pass tourists that have truly embraced the local lifestyle, they're sitting on the pavement, selling their own wares, dreadlocks, grimy looking, competing with the locals for the tourist dollar. We're looking for a Coca museum, but first find a coca shop, take advantage of the free tasters and then continue our hunt for the museum.
We eventually find the museum above the Plaza San Blas, and pay 5 soles for entry which includes a guide through the museum, which is quite good. Leaving the museum we finally succumb and purchase some coca toffees.
We head back down the street, browsing the handicraft stores and detour to find some of the remaining Inca built walls in Cusco. The walls and the enormous blocks used to construct them are seriously impressive. We head back to the main plaza, passing more Inca walls along Loreto.
Puffed from the 3300m and all our sightseeing, we head back to the main building for WalkOnInn to make use of the wifi and upload the latest of our pictures. Later in the afternoon we head back down to the plaza and find a free ATM, shop for overpriced groceries with all the other gringos in a small supermarket on the plaza and then head upstairs for some dinner at Paddy's Pub - the highest Irish pub in the world! We share a beer, and feast like kings on our amazing meals - a steak sandwich and burger, both massive and delicious, and only 15 soles each!
During our meal some festivities start in the plaza and are still going when we finish so we head out to watch. There are small cracker fireworks being set off in front of the church and dancers in masks and costume parading around the plaza. It all seems to be in aid of a patron of the local school. Once the dancers have passed we head up the hill to our hostel, but find that the parade has wound its way up the hill and is blocking our way. So we watch some more dancers and parading people pass by, some of the guys are dancing with bottles of beer in their hands!
Back in our hostel we shower in a lukewarm shower and jump into bed. Ryan has a terrible night, struggling with his breathing. In the middle of the night he hunts out his inhaler, a coca toffee and pops an altitude pill. Something works and his breathing becomes easier and he manages to get some sleep.