Day Forty-Seven

We had another successful journey today! We woke up around 6:30 and a man from our hostel in Lima helped us catch a taxi; our taxi driver was super friendly and gave us all these tips about avoiding trouble in Cusco. Check in at the airport was a breeze, and then we grabbed a snack before security of tamales and coffee. Security was also easy and quick; we were a good hour early before our boarding time. We flew with Star Peru, and the flight was only an hour. So easy. And someone from our hostel was there to pick us up right after we grabbed our bags, and during the ride back to Loki Hostel, I was just in awe. We’re in the Andes again, but it’s definitely different than the Andes we were surrounded by in Quito and Baños. It’s a lot less brilliantly green, and more yellow and burnt, and reminds me so much of eastern Washington, like the hills surrounding Lake Chelan. It’s especially trippy because I’m going to Chelan the day after I fly home from Lima…small world.
Our hostel’s in a great location, just on a slope a ten minute walk from the main plazas, and the building’s this giant 400-something year old ancient thing with a ton of public areas and there are a ton of people here from all over. There are three bunk beds in our room, and sadly I’m on top, but one of the guys we met that’s also in our room is really nice and just got back from trekking the Inca Trail yesterday! He said it’s hell, but totally worth it. I definitely feel the altitude, but differently than I felt it in Quito. I’ve felt slightly light headed twice, but we’ve been drinking water and drinking té de coca (tea made from coca leaves) which is supposed to help with the altitude. After getting settled into our room, we locked up our stuff in the lockers under our beds and went for a walk around central Cusco.
It’s really a beautiful city, much more beautiful than Lima. To be fair, though, we barely spent a day in Lima and I think we weren’t super stoked to explore during the hours we spent there anyway, so I’ll definitely give it a chance when we fly back there next week. The weather was gorgeous too; a bit crisp, but the sun was out today and the golden mountains dotted with green trees looked gorgeous under an almost clear blue sky.
While we walked around, the city was bustling with parades, music, noises, and mouth-watering smells, as the city is celebrating the Catholic Corpus Christi week; basically we picked an incredible week to come here. We are missing the Inca festival of Inti Raymi this Friday because of our trek, which sucks, but there’s supposedly some great fiesta this Thursday that we’ll get to witness. The atmosphere is so infectious, and I feel so comfortable here.
We stopped for a late lunch at this cheap, traditional looking place, and boy, were we pleased with our meal. We each got a soup and then shared a plate of fries, all for 20 soles, which is like $7 American; such a good deal. Laura got cream of asparagus, and Brooke got cream of mushrooms, but we all agreed mine was best: sopa de criollo, or the soup of Creoles (another name for Mestizos, I think, but also criollo, I think it’s a word used to identify a Peruvian). I think it was this cream and egg broth, with chunks of tomato and meat, and these deliciously doughy noodles, which were either flour or egg noodles. It was so flavorful, and just the right amount of food.
We walked around for a bit more after, trying to find our other friends at another hostel, but we ended up at this giant market called San Pedro near the highway. It was stocked with fruit and snacks and crafts, and we’re definitely gonna hit it up before our trek; our roommate, Rudy, recommended that we bring snacks, because although they do feed you on the four days of the trek, he said it was nice to have stuff to munch on as he hiked.
We came back, and now we’re just chilling in the bad area of the hostel. We’re definitely a bit tired after walking around this afternoon, but I really want to walk around more tonight after dinner to see this festival! Tomorrow I think we want to go to Sacsayhuaman, another Inca ruin site that’s super close to our hostel. But we’re definitely gonna try and get some downtime before we leave for our trek on Friday because we’ll definitely need the energy. Everyone I’ve talked to says it’s absolute hell, but I know it’ll be worth it. I know we’ll make it through. Looking forward to some killer Peruvian food tonight!

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