Today I…

May 24th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Bought a belt from this lady in the San Blas neighborhood (she put it on me, pulling it through my belt loops; I felt like a little girl getting dressed by her mother):


Climbed up the hills surrounding town and got a view of Cuzco like this:


Meandered along narrow alleys such as this:


And sipped a cappuccino from a balcony along the main square, Plaza de Armas, looking out to La Catredal de Cuzco:


I also went to Enigma Tour and picked up this map and some info while paying our balance:

Here’s how the hike breaks down:

Hike 15 km (9.3 miles) – probably around 9 hrs
Starting altitude is 2,600 m (8,528 ft)
We camp at Llulluchapampa, at 3,750 m (12,303 ft)
Elevation gain: 3,775 ft (I have never done this in one day)
Looks like most of that gain is at the end of the day, too.

DAY TWO (the HARD day they say):
Hike 13 km (8 miles) – probably around 9 hrs
We hike over 2 mountain passes
First pass is named, “Dead Woman’s Pass” at 4,200 m (13,779 ft)
Second pass is at 3,950 m (12,956 ft)
We camp at Chaquicocha, at 3,500 m (11,483 ft)
Elevation is up and down this day, but there are 2 pushes up those passes that equal 2,621 ft of uphill exertion

It actually sounds better to me than Day One, but that extra elevation and corellating lack of oxygen will make it tougher **at the highest altitude this day, we’re only getting 40% of the oxygen we’re accustomed to

Hike 9 km (6 miles) – probably around 6 hrs
We hike over our 3rd mountain pass at 3,670 m (12,037 ft)
We camp at Winay Waya at 2,700 m (8,858 ft)
Elevation gain for the mountain pass is 554 ft, then it’s downhill

We hike to Machu Picchu!!!!!
It will take about 3 hours (4 km / 2.5 miles)
No real elevation gain, but lots of downhill at the end, and very steep

We Ate!

May 24th, 2012 § 3 comments § permalink

After 36 hours of abstinence from food—except for a few nibbles of dry toast, crackers, and brothy soup—we rebounded from our food poisoning incident with full enthusiasm.

It might have been a little foolhardy to not pace ourselves with small amounts of bland and boring food…our stomachs are still in trial, but so far I only have a little heartburn.

I thought I’d show you our damage.
**none of my photos are color corrected (they’re shot RAW and I have no computer), so the food won’t look as it should


A typical Peruvian dish: the simple spit-roasted chicken, called Pollo a la Brasa. A quarter chicken plus mountain of papas fritas looks like this:



Antipasto with cured alpaca meat, local cheese, quinoa croquettes, zucchini, and eggplant:


Tacu Tacu, an African dish brought to Peru by Spanish slaves that’s like a fried mash of beans and rice, with a breaded slice of beef (Cheryn’s entree; tasted better than it looks):


Alpaca tenderloin served over a quinoa risotto the restaurant dubbed “quinotto”:


I recommend both restaurants.

Los Toldos ($)

Incanto ($$$)


May 23rd, 2012 § 4 comments § permalink

I woke up today under weighty layers of thick blankets (it’s cold here at night and there’s no heat in this old building) and the noise of busses and trucks that by their sound make Cuzco seem like a very busy, industrial place. But it’s neither. It’s lively for certain, but not busy.

The city is wrapped by steep grassy hills studded with houses the colors of brown and terra cotta. Wandering through the cobbled, narrow alleyways of the historic center, we found plenty of squares and churches to stop and take a break and people watch.

There are lots of “perma-travelers” here, just like in Asia… I’m talking about the post-apocalyptic looking travelers who have a ragged, Mad Max chic. We’ve made up a place of origin for these people; it’s called “Dürtopia,” a land where combs are banned and clothing must be faded or torn to be worn in public. Dreadlocks and funny beards and ill-fitting sandals are highly revered.

There’s another strata to this traveler set we see here in Cuzco, though, and these may be the fashionistas of Dürtopia. Benjamin described them quite aptly as looking like models for a travel line by Urban Outfitters that I would call (if I were them), “Lost and Found,” because it seemed like the girls pulled items from a variety of sources (some items having been thrown out) and found a way to make them work.

Better people watching was the Peruvian ladies in full native costume holding adorable baby lambs. I know that lambs are babies, and saying that was redundant, but I wanted to drive home the ADORABLE point. I make a rule not to pay for set up photos like this, but I had to this one and only time.

So far no problems with altitude, and our appetites are back, so all is well in Cuzco!