Peru 2005 Day Nine: Cusco

by Kara on July 30, 2005

This is one of the many, many stray dogs in Peru. Some of the dogs were a little skittish, but we never witnessed any agression at all.

This is one of the many, many stray dogs in Peru. Some of the dogs were a little skittish, but we never witnessed any agression at all.

We spent Saturday morning wandering around Cusco, trying to get used to the altitude (around 11,000 feet) prior to our trek on the Inca trail. We started taking Diamox the day before coming to Cusco, and we didn’t seem to have any problems, except for getting winded a little more easily. We walked around Plaza de Armas, down Avenida del Sol to the craft market, then over to the train station and the local food market. There was a huge variety of food – especially different types of potatoes and corn. We tried to get away from the touristy shops so we could find a big plastic handle bag like the locals used, so we could leave some of our stuff in it at Tikawasi while we were on our trek. We managed to find one the right size, and then had to meet up for our postponed city tour, which included the Cathedral del Cusco, which was built over the remains of an important Inca temple. Much of the architecture in Cusco is actually built on the foundations of Inca ruins, which tended to be much sturdier than the Spanish constructions. We rushed through the tour to meet our Inca Trail guide at 6 p.m. back at the hotel.

I don’t know how we managed to get so lucky, but our guide, Narciso, was absolutely amazing. I may be slightly biased, but I am convinced he is the best guide in the history of guides. He went over the details of the trek with us and also gave us some great news. We were to be paired up with another group and their guide – a total of only four trekkers, which would be really nice. Of course, in addition to the guides, we would have about 14 porters and two cooks. We said goodbye to Narciso until 5:30 a.m. the next day and headed off to dinner.

Check out more of Stephen’s pictures of Peru.

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