Having arrived in Cusco feeling awful, I spent the first few days doing little more than lying in bed, eating porridge and drinking tea to clear my stomach up. That wasn’t having much of an effect, but then I took some antibiotics and things cleared up pretty well. After feeling better, and visiting Machu Picchu, the time was mainly spent waiting for my package to arrive. It had taken 24 hours to get from Scotland to Lima, but then it got stuck in customs. Jon had given DHL all the important paperwork in Scotland, but for whatever reason communication between DHL there and in Peru was non-existent. Jon had contacted them while I was at Machu Picchu, and they’d assured him that they had everything they needed, but of course when I got back and called DHL Peru they denied having any paperwork at all. It meant that instead of leaving on the Wednesday as planned, I ended up leaving the following Monday, having spent hours on the phone with DHL trying to sort out the delay.
Having stayed in the outskirts for a while, I moved into the centre of Cusco. There is a cheap hostel, that costs $5 a night with breakfast included, and it’s where most cycle tourists stay – Hospedaje Estrellita. It’s only a 5 minute walk to the main square, next to lots of cheap places to eat, and by the best bike shop in town – that I was definitely going to visit but then just didn’t get round to it. It involved spending money, but it was a much better base for being a tourist, as it took about an hour from the place I’d been staying at before to get to the city centre, which really didn’t motivate me to go and be a tourist.
With most of the sights only accessible with a Boleto Turistico ($$$) my sightseeing was mainly wandering around and looking. There is however one sight that’s pretty close by, called Saqsaywaman that is possible to get in for free. I wasn’t intending to do it, I’d gone up to the Cristo Blanco – Peru, as Brazil, like their Jesus statues overlooking their cities – and followed a path from there. I followed it down, and it ended up in the ruins without going past any checkpoint. The most impressive part of the site is easily the stonework. The stones are gigantic, maybe 4-5m tall, and all placed together without using any form of cement or bonding agent. They just fit perfectly. Phenomenal.
Looking down on Saqsaywaman