Cuzco is fantastic! I arrived the weekend of the Winter Solstice when there is a big Sun Festival (Inti Raymi in Quechua, the Inca language). They lasoo the Sun with rope so that it comes back for another year, pretty much the same theory behind Yule, before Christmas eclipsed it. I had altitude sickness (I'm 3,300m above sea level so it's hard to breathe and I felt dizzy for the first couple of days) so I didn't stay long.
All last week I was studying Spanish so now it´s about where my Japanese was after 2 years... The school is good (Excel Language Center) and I´ve made some new friends. One girl is doing homestay in a neighbouring house so we hang out a lot. My homestay family are wonderful. They are very welcoming, cook great food and speak Spanish slowly for me. Tonight we're going to watch the Peru-Bolivia match. If Peru win, they're through to the next round of the CopoAmerica, so you can see it's VERY important!
I've managed to get some sight-seeing done. There is a great city tour of the old Inca Temple and the Catholic Cathedral. The Incas built amazing stone walls without mortar and perfet seams which withstand earthquakes, while the Cathedral is unbelievably decorated with gold, silver and cedarwood altars and lots of paintings and elaborately dressed dolls of Mary. I also took a tour to the Sacred Valley to see some ruins but, as is the case in many countries, we got taken to markets so we could spend money rather than to places of interest.
Things have changed since I was last travelling - I can now copy my photos from my memory card to a CD and of course there are internet cafes everywhere. Unfortunately the connections are a bit slow so I can't upload photos at all easily.
I'm off to the jungle tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it, especially the increase in temperature as Cuzco is really cold at night and first thing (plus no heating at all in the houses). Not looking forward to the mosquitoes but I think it's a small price to pay to be somewhere so extraordinary.
Well, I've been here half an hour and my photos haven't uploaded so I'm you'll have to wait til I get back at the beginning of August. Hope you are all well! bfn