Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hello from Peru!

For our first night in Cusco we had picked the Hostal Corhuasi, a little hotel less than two blocks from the Plaza de Armas.

The narrow street was cobblestone with narrow sidewalks and solid walls as far as we could see. Every few yards there was a door with a metal gate. Corhuasi had a bright blue door and a few steps down into a small reception area. Of particular note was the giant oxygen tank at the ready!
The taxi driver dropped our luggage inside and took off. The woman at the desk greeted us and immediately sent us to the breakfast room for hot cups of coca tea.  It's supposed to help with altitude sickness.  We were both feeling a little headachey and light headed.

What a spectacular view this room had!  It looked out on the city and straight down to the cathedrals in the Plaza.  All the buildings are packed close together practically one on top of another. We were looking out on the orange tile roofs of hundreds and hundreds of buildings.  The mountains were climbing up in the distance and there were misty clouds all around and it was raining lightly. It was about 65 so pretty much perfect.

We checked in and the hotel gave us our key for room 1. This turned out to be the coveted room in the hotel, according to Susan's guide book. There were windows on three sides with the same beautiful view, our own private bathroom, and lovely beds with alpaca blankets.

We got ourselves settled and then took a nap for about 2 hours. It was hard to lay down and rest because we were both so eager to get out and explore. But we had been warned not to let Cusco get the better of us. It does take time to acclimate and we were still feeling fuzzy headed.

We got up feeling slightly better and decided to explore. We left the hotel and went down the steep narrow road.  We took it really slowly. The road ended at one corner of the Plaza de Armas.  The plaza has a big fountain in the middle, gardens with lots of flowers, cobblestone streets all around, two large Cathedrals on two sides, and the other two sides are two story buildings full of shops and restaurants. The Plaza was full of people, tourists, locals, and many people trying to sell their wares. There were also a ton of dogs running loose all over the place.

Susan and I were exhausted from walking down there, so we sat on a park bench for a while. We got into a conversation with a German woman who was very... interesting. She went on and on about all the places she visited, but was very annoyed with the poverty and people being uneducated. She couldn't seem to figure out why people didn't just get a better job or move somewhere better. Obviously she has never been poor. It was hard to get away from her.

We went looking for dinner. All along the two sides with shops, people were standing in doorways trying to convince people to come in and look and buy. The restaurants were no different. Every restaurant had someone outside with a menu trying to convince passersby to come in and have a meal. They sort of needed this advertisement as the restaurants were all upstairs and not easy to find without a guide.  We decided to go into a place that had a balcony.  It was hard to know what to order. We decided on a meal that was meant for 2 with lots of meat options, including alpaca, guinea pig, liver, several other things, and a bunch of fries. They said it was for 2 but it was a huge amount! I cannot believe how much I ate. The guinea pig tasted mostly like chicken. The alpaca was pretty good. There was something else very tasty but I have no idea what it was. We took a doggie bag home with us. I thought I had eaten too much, but I was surprised that I felt way better after all that protein.

view from the restaurant onto the plaza

1/4 of a guinea pig!
We had only been out for a few hours but we didn't want to overdo it so we headed home. We knew it was only about 2 blocks to the hotel but it was straight up hill so it was going to take a while. We had to stop several times to catch our breath. It doesn't seem like anything is different but you know something is up when your heart is hammering away and you haven't really done all that much.
We relaxed the rest of the night catching up on Facebook posts, journaling, and figuring out plans for after the conference. I was worried about falling asleep because it was so loud outside. There was some loud music playing somewhere close by and I think a TV was on, we could hear traffic in the Plaza, horns honking, dogs barking, the police whistle, and occasionally fireworks. Don't know what that was about. But everything quieted down around 9 o'clock. We both slept very well.

For breakfast there was some kind of runny yogurt that tasted like vanilla, bananas, papaya, and a few different bowls of mystery toppings.  I think the one I tried had quinoa and some sort of puffed corn thing. It was very tasty. Someone from the kitchen came out and took our order for eggs. Oh, there were also rolls, cheese, slices of ham, and olives.

Susan and I went back down to the plaza to get a few things. I dropped off some postcards in the mail and Susan got a couple of nice sweaters. I also had to buy a towel because the place I was staying in Pisac supposedly didn't have any.

We made the laborious climb up hill one last time and had the hotel call a cab for us. We were sorry to leave because it was such a beautiful place.

One crazy taxi ride later and we were back at the airport!

many people walk around holding lambs and let you hold them and get a picture...for a few soles. I couldn't resist!

Dogs, and sleeping dogs, everywhere!


Maria Kaefer said...

HI Aimee!
Thanks so much for bringing us with you on this amazing trip! Looking forward to all of your posts!!! Be safe and have a wonderful time!

Loiseer said...

Pat and I are having so much fun reading your posts. We started backwards then realized we could get to the first one - technerds. What a great adventure...
Lois Reborne