Sparky Travels

April 16, 2011

Cuzco

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 5:48 am

Liam, Marie, Mia and I arrived in Cuzco, capital of the Incan empire, on the 12th of April and checked into Pariwana hostel. Unlike most of our accommodation over the last month, this was a big, busy, party hostel. After a quick nap in the ridiculously comfy beds (big duvets & 2 pillows!) we had a few games of table tennis in the courtyard. A walk round the town revealed it to be very pretty, if touristy, with colonial architecture dominating and a numerous pretty plazas, not least the central Plaza de Armas. We dined at Los Perros, a modern restaurant serving international cuisine.DSC02904

Liam was only passing through Cuzco on his way to Lima and a flight out of South America so the next day was his last day with us. We sat on the balcony of an Indian restaurant, drinking beer and wished him well on his journey. I then went on a trek round town to look into treks to Machu Picchu with limited success. Me and the girls went to the recommended Inca…fe for dinner where I sampled some Alpaca steak with the Andean staple of quinoa. The alpaca was tender and juicy with a taste veering towards venison. yummy!

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Back at the hostel it was Pub Quiz night, but we arrived too late to form a team. Instead we helped a couple of Irish guys, James and Eugene who won the quiz and kindly shared their bottle of rum prize with us. This helped make the karaoke night which followed the quiz bearable. The singing (none of which involved us, I hasten to add) was excruciating and the song selection abysmal. Me and James were the only two left wh wanted to continue so we caught a cab to sample the local clubs. The first was closed and the bar below was lifeless. The next stop was pretty much full of prostitutes and tourists and the final one full of large groups of Israelis. We decided at this point to cut our losses and head to bed before the sun came up.

I dragged myself out of the hostel on the morning of the 14th and tried to get my trek booked. Most were too expensive or didn’t go all the way to Machu Picchu and the only company that ticked all the boxes was closed for the morning. While I waited for it to open I went to MAP, the Museum of PreColumbian Art. This was mainly displays of ceramics and metalwork from the earliest civilizations through to the Incas. The most impressive was that of the Mochicas, from the 1st-8th century AD. These displayed high levels of craftmanship and lifelike portrayals of animals. Other impressive pieces in the museum were indistinguishable from some modern art, especially cubism.

I managed to book my trek, a 4night/5day Salkantay trek, that afternoon which begins in two days time. Fresh from my enjoyable Alpaca experience it was time to try something else… Guinea Pig. It was served roasted, halved and with the head chopped off but with it’s little claws rigid in the air. The taste was like very bland rabbit and there was not much meat on it. I’ve tried it but I’ll never order it again. Though maybe a stew would be more palatable.

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Friday the 15th was spent trying to get prepared for the trek the next day. I needed to pay the $400 or so, hire trekking boots, sleeping bag and a rucksack. At our team meeting that evening we were informed that the pickup time for the trek was 4am in the morning. I still managed to go out for a farewell dinner with Mia, Marie and Claire, another Danish girl. We went to a sushi restaurant and I managed to get a couple of hours sleep after packing my bag and checking out.

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