Exploring a new continent

Travel time: March - June 2010  |  by Dominik Weber

24 April - 1 May Cuzco

Cuzco is a very beautiful city with a wonderful atmosphere and also a lot of tourists. But most tourists are staying in the city for usually not more than one night before they are heading to Maccu Picchu. That's why there are (like in Arequipa) a lot of travel agents on the street selling all kind of tours to you. Since I heard that the number of people visiting Maccu Picchu are limited and that it is better to buy the ticket in advance, I already did so in Arequipa. But I might have gotten the trip slightly cheaper if I would have bought it in Cuzco. I have not anyone in Cuzco that arrived there and didn't get a tour the next day.
Cuzco is a holy city built by the Inkas and then later conquered by the Spanish invadors. Since the Inka architecture was so excellent - especially the constructions of walls and basements - the Spanish weren't destructing them, they were using it and put their buildings on top of the old Inka walls. Still today, you can see a lot of building with Inka bases and Spanish tops.
The main place in Cuzco is - one more time - a Plaza de Armes. It is surrounded on two sides by the cathedral and by the XXX church, and from two sides by Spanish buildings. There are a lot of smaller, copplestoned streets, small shops, little courtyears. Actually, a very nice place to stay. But as all the tourists, I only stayed there for one night before I was heading up to Maccu Picchu the next day.
* more about the trips to Maccu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in separate chapters. *
I came back from my trip to the Sacred Valley and wanted to leave the next day (Saturday) to Puno. But since I was really exhausted from all the traveling, I decided to stay another day in the hostel (it was the Walk On Inn, just a few blocks away from the Plaza de Armes). I still don't know if it was a good idea to stay one day longer in Cuzco: first, it was raining for half of the day, so it might have been better to sit in a bus rathern than sitting in the hostel, second, the 1 May is a holiday in Cuzco and most of the shops were closed and third, the city cut the water lines during these days at certain hours of the day to safe water. Anyway, I enjoyed the city and the night life a bit longer, prepared my future travel and enjoyed having free internet in the hostel (to find out later that the computer was full of viruses, was very slow and didn't work at all any longer the next day. No, it wasn't my fault...).

The only downside of doing sightseeing in Cuzco is, that most of the museums and churches are not only not free, but in some you won't get access unless you have a Boleto Touristico. This Boleto is somekind of ticket for all kind of museums, but in most museums you can get by buying a single ticket as well. But others, you won't get in without this Boleto at all. And this Boleto is pretty expensive. I think it is another way of squeezing money out of the tourists.
Anyway, I enjoyed Cuzco very much, it is a great mix of locals and tourists, beautifully situated in a green valley, but the nights can be quite chilly there. Well, as it will turn out, my tour will become colder and colder the next days...
But there was one funny thing when I left the town to go to the bus terminal (tip for travellers: don´t buy bus tickets at travel agencies. Simply go to the bus terminal and you will get the ticket cheaper. You can also negotiated the fare). The 2 May is a holiday in Cuzco as well. I haven´t figured out if it was a catholic holiday or - as someone said - it is the last day of school. It was before 10am when I walked over the Plaza de Armas and there was already an entire batallion of soldiers waiting while other groups joined them. I don´t know what these other groups were, but it reminded me of carneval. I think most of the groups were local shepheads dressed in their best habits. Well, I hope one of the photos will turn out right so you all get an impression. Althought most of the groups were just waiting for the parade, they were dancing and showing their skills anyway. Unfortunately, I had to leave.

These colonial houses make Cusco to a beautiful place.

These colonial houses make Cusco to a beautiful place.

The most photographed stone in Cusco. Part of the old Inka city wall: the remarkable 12-cornered stone.

The most photographed stone in Cusco. Part of the old Inka city wall: the remarkable 12-cornered stone.

The 12-cornered stone on the right, and where tourists, there vendors...

The 12-cornered stone on the right, and where tourists, there vendors...

Since the Inka´s architecture is remarkable and almost indistructable (especially by earthquakes), the Spanish conquerers were building their houses just on top of the existing walls. Despite hundred of years and various earth quakes, the walls are still intact until today!

Since the Inka´s architecture is remarkable and almost indistructable (especially by earthquakes), the Spanish conquerers were building their houses just on top of the existing walls. Despite hundred of years and various earth quakes, the walls are still intact until today!

...and everywhere is a little bit of Germany. Here the Honorary Embassy in Cusco.

...and everywhere is a little bit of Germany. Here the Honorary Embassy in Cusco.

View over the roof tops of Cusco from my hostel.

View over the roof tops of Cusco from my hostel.

A cup of healthy breakfast - for just about EUR 1.

A cup of healthy breakfast - for just about EUR 1.

The "carnival" in Cusco. A group of dancing lama shepheards (don´t worry, they don´t carry living lamas at their hips!)

The "carnival" in Cusco. A group of dancing lama shepheards (don´t worry, they don´t carry living lamas at their hips!)

© Dominik Weber, 2010
You are here : Overview The Americas Peru 24 April - 1 May Cuzco
The trip
 
Description:
After working for too long without a real break, I decided to go on a long planned backpack trip. After changing the departure date and the destination several times, I decided to go to South America. Starting in Colombia, then Peru and finishing in Bolivia. At least, this was the plan but once on tour, you never know what to expect. This report is for all people asking how I am doing, but also for those who are thinking about doing something similar. I hope I can inspire them.
Details:
Start of journey: Mar 19, 2010
Duration: 13 weeks
End of journey: Jun 15, 2010
Travelled countries: Colombia
Peru
Bolivia
The Author
 
Dominik Weber is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 11 years.
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