Taking the easy route - flying to Cusco
12.02.2013 19 °C
Our flight to Cusco this morning was at 9am so another early start. The plane was tiny, 2 by 2 seating, and the flight attendant was taking pictures of the inside of the plane before we set off, which I thought was weird? The flight was only an hour, in comparison to a 21 hour bus journey that we could have taken, and the scenery was beautiful from the window - looking out over the Andes with its rolling brown mountains followed by taller snow capped mountains.
The landing was fine, even though it was in a small valley with a tiny strip. As we taxied, I saw McDonalds and Coca Cola welcome signs, which reminded me nothing was remote any more. As we steeped off the plane, I think I expected to be 'hit' with the altitude, I'm not sure why, but I felt fine.
Some advice - know how much to expect to pay for things, particularly around the external transport routes, as the taxi man tried to charge us 50 soles (£12.50), when it should have been a third of that. We managed to get him down to 20 (£5) so not too bad in the end.
Cusco is much bigger than I had imagined, more shops and restaurants and definitely more cars - there are so many cars! I think I had just seen pictures of the historic side of town but of course there is much more outside of that.
Our booking at Pariwana hostel was on recommendation and it was a good one. This is definitely the biggest hostel we've stayed in so far, taking up 3 floors around a courtyard area. Downstairs is a reception, a travel information desk, bean bags and day beds to sit on, ping pong and table football, and a trolley to get free hot drinks. Upstairs were dorms, but also a computer room with sofas and chairs, a tv room with cushions, a communal kitchen and a bar and cafe area that doubled up as a breakfast room. Up to the third level were more rooms, mainly private like ours. Like in Buenos Aires our room was large, clean and nicely decorated.
Quickly I became very cold, even though the thermometer said 19 degrees. I had to put the thermal long sleeve tshirt and leggings I'd bought from uniqlo under my jeans, tshirt, thin jumper and fleece, but I was still cold. The hot drinks helped a little, but I was freezing all day! Andrew tried the coca leaves in hot water that didn't do much either.
We had a walk around the town during the day, not really taking much in but it looked very nice, then after dinner at the hostel we got into bed under a sheet, a big duvet and two thick blankets. And, you guessed it, it was still cold...