We left Cuzco to spend the night at Ollantaytambo, the town at the start of the Inca Trail. As timing turned out it was also Christmas Eve. There was an option to visit some nearby Inca ruins but in honour of the holiday I instead opted to have a glass of wine in a local bar overlooking the ruins. Well at least we could see them! At first it was just me and Katy but soon more of our group appeared and with them more drinks ordered. It also heralded our Christmas singing which was to last the entire 12 days of Christmas! The locals looked on very amused as we went through Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer etc. When a group of tourists walked past wearing in Santa hats we thought it a good idea to given them a rendition of Jingle Bells until they hurriedly raced past rapidly disappearing into the distance. Maybe the alcohol hadn't quite improved our singing.
Unlike the UK, Peruvians celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and it is mainly a family affair. Children are allowed to stay up past midnight and have hot chocolate and cake. Interestingly their nativity scenes do not display Jesus until midnight when he is then placed in the cradle. It does make sense!
Our tour guide had arranged for us to have hot chocolate and the traditional Christmas cake which was great. We sat around in Santa hats once again singing and feeling very Christmassy - helped even more when our guide produced champagne! Outside children were letting off firecrackers in the streets and generally causing mayhem. Shops were still open and would close early at about 8pm. Very different to home.
As we had to start early the next day we did not stay up to midnight but headed off early for a good night´s sleep.