|Cusco City Tour||1 | 2|
CUSCO, PERU — Both of us are feeling better now. Erin's still sniffly from her cold, but my digestive issues seem to be gone for good now. Thank God for Pepto Bismol, or whatever was in those pink pills the pharmacy gave us. I think Erin really liked her Christmas present, too: a bag of Peanut M&Ms.
We slept in a little bit to make sure we were fully recovered, then had breakfast and headed out to Inka Wasi, our travel agents, to see if we could change our Sacred Valley tour (originally planned for yesterday, but missed because of Erin's illness) to tomorrow instead. They didn't even bat an eye, and said no problem, which was cool. While we were at it, and since we had some extra time to kill, we also booked a city tour with them for this afternoon, to see the ruins just outside of town, then booked our bus tickets to Puno on Friday and overnight on the islands. A very productive visit!
We enjoyed a leisurely "break" day, walking around town a bit, and trying to go to San Blas Cathedral, but it was closed mid-day. We had lunch just down the street from there at a bakery that started as a shelter for underprivileged teenage girls, with all profits going to their education and care. The food was awesome stuff, too! It was cheap, and well worth it, so we tipped big for the girls.
We came back to hotel to meet out bus for the city tour around 2. Our guide, Romulo, was extremely knowledgeable. It turns out he's done a lot of archaeological work in the area himself, and even co-authored a book on Peruvian stories (the main author was a woman who moved to Peru from San Francisco, and just travelled around with him as a guide). I glanced at a copy on the bus, and actually did find some of the stories interesting. They were typically told in the first person (by the main author), who talked about what she saw, and what Romulo said it meant. Actually meeting Romulo made the stories easier to visualize as we read them. We already have too much to carry, though, so I resisted the offer to buy the book and get it signed there.
|Temple of the Sun|
The tour started us out at two places in town: the main cathedral, and Temple of the Sun at Convento de Santa Domingo. Ironically, these are the only two places of the six or more in the city that we already saw. We were required to purchase a city pass for $10, which allows you to visit any of 16 different archaeological sites in the area once. Technically, we weren't allowed to revisit the cathedral, since we already saw it, but Romulo just said something to the guard, and we were let back in again. And at Santa Domingo, we had to pay again, but we didn't want to pay a second time to see what we already saw, so, again, they just waved us on in. Not sure why, or what was said, but it worked! And, to be honest, we actually would have paid again, because it was only a dollar or two, and we really wanted to take photos of this place. (The signs scared us off last time, but then we saw everybody else doing it, so we figured the signs were probably just intended for the artwork, but didn't specify.)