We stayed at the LOKI hostel in Cusco which was a bit of a party centre and went clubbing to Mama Africa´s which is pretty much where everyone goes in Cusco, we left the club when it was light and built up a bit of a tab with the dangerous system at the bar where u dont pay but give your name and room number... hehe.
We did do the cultural bit too, we visited the Cathedral which was not as boring as it sounds, it was built by local craftsmen 500 years ago under the authority of the spanish conquistadors and the building is full of controversial paintings that have quechuan and traditional andean meanings worked into them secretly. We hired a guide which was the best way to do it otherwise we might never have noticed the hidden symbols. Some were not quite so subtle, like the guinea pig in the centre of the painting of the last supper! (a local delicacy). They also have a saint or lord of earthquakes, a christ statue made from bamboo and silver that was marched in the streets in desperation in 1650 during a particularly destructive earthquake and miraculously managed to stop it. Another interesting part of the cathedral was the shrine to saint benedict - the catholic patron saint of single men where local single girls leave their prayers with their names and numbers for the local single guys to pick up. like a religious dating service hehe.
We also saw a few local archaeological sites on horseback which was different but rae was a bit scared of her skitty horse that had had different plans for his day we think. Mark was brave enough to do a bungee jump of 120metres with a 6 second freefall, we more or less went to the adventure park straight from a nightclub but you can imagine sobered up pretty quickly and rae had sweaty palms just watching mark so chickened out this time..
Then started the INCA TREK! we have made a video diary of the 4 days trek that we think is worth a watch- we had a great time and a great group including 3 other englishmen, one aussie, 2 guys from denmark, a couple from norway, a mother and her 2 sons from the states and a Puerto Rican girl. We were fed like royalty and the camping equipment, apart from one little leak in the tent on the last night, couldnt have been better. Our legs ached a lot, mainly from the downhill parts but it was all worth it for the stunning views, the sense of achievement and the experience of being close to nature (we saw orchids, waterfalls, a tarantula, and a wild spectacled bear - only the fifth bear our guide had seen in 7 years of working there!). We got through lots of chocolate (not difficult for Rae) and high energy foods. We drank some coca tea in case of altitude sickness. The Machu Pichu ruins themselves have a beautiful setting, up in the cloud forest and surrounded by the andes, and we learnt lots from the guided tour on the last day. Then we got on the short bus journey to aguas calientes for lunch and then the train to ollyantaytambo and from there a taxi back to loki hostel in cusco for the night before we flew to Lima, the capital city.
Until next time, Rae and Mark x