Cusco town centre

Hail Storm in Cusco

Linda´s afternoon tour

18.11.2017 Cusco

Text & Info from Linda in English

Scroll nach unten für Texte, Infos & Peter´s eigene Eindrücke in Deutsch

We both had a good nights' sleep but Peter is still not feeling well. I persuaded him to stay in bed and I intended taking a walk around the main market square area. We spoke to a Swedish man at breakfast who offered to show me a local tour office and general directions in the city centre. This made Peter feel more comfortable about going back to bed.  The city centre is quite safe to walk around and carry a camera! After Roger, the Swedish man left me at the tour office I decided that I would take an afternoon guided tour and in the meantime just walk around the Plaza for a few hours taking in and capturing impressions of Cuzco. Peter and I had some lunch together and then I set off on my guided tour which started at 2pm. Peter was feeling well enough to walk over to the tour office with me. That way he would know where I was! At this stage I should mentioned that the weather in the morning had been extremely warm, around 18 degrees but felt like 28! We are at 3200 metered high and I was reminded to wear sun cream. I decided to leave my fleece in the hotel and just wear a blouse and take my rain jacket with me. I also took off my hiking boots and put on a pair of summer walking shoes - MISTAKE!  Our tour guide told us that we would walk 2 blocks to a church then another 2 blocks where we would get on our tour bus. While we were in the church it started to thunder, then it started to hail and such large hail stones that we suddenly had about 10 cm of hail stones/snow on the ground and the temperatures had dropped down to 8 degrees. When we left the church I was wondering if I should go back to the hotel but everyone seemed to think it was a great adventure so I decided to continue. It was quite an amusing site to see the city in chaos - total chaos. People were falling over on the slippy footpaths, water seemed to be streaming down the roads from everywhere, locals were selling rain ponchos on the street corners and it was now quite cold. 

We made it to our bus which was warm and welcoming and set of for our first Inca site after the church. On arrival there were local women selling their goods and the first thing I did was to buy myself a pair of gloves, a hat, and a shawl. It was all supposed to be Alpaca wool but it was too cheap to be real Alpaca but it was nice and warm. It had now stopped raining. Our tour went from one Inca site to the next and to be truthful I was never quite sure where I was so I just listened to what the tour guide told me, took my photos and decided to read up on all at a later date.

I purchased a video on the tour to check out where I had been later.

I was the only English speaking member of the tour and I think I got the shortened version of all because the Spanish explanations were quite long and mine only a few short sentences. That was okay. I got the main idea of things and picked up some interesting information. The tour also gave me the opportunity of seeing local people and the Cuzco area. 

I was later to see that all the info I needed was on the video in English. 

I was surprised that at at 5.45pm our tour guide mentioned that we had another 2 stops to make before returning to the city Centre. I then found out that I was not on a 4 hour tour as I had been told but on a 5 hour tour. This immediately got me a bit worried because I knew Peter would be worried about me. Our final stop was an Alpaca wool salesroom. Of course they wanted to sell high quality and expensive goods to tourists. Most of us came out quite fast but one couple decided to buy some goods but could not make up their minds. After 1/2 hour of waiting some members of our group went inside and complained and demanded that we head back into town immediately. This happened and although I was relieved I was worried about Peter and hoping that he was fast asleep in a warm bed.

My worries were because I know Peter better!  The bus dropped us off somewhere in the city and the guide told us to walk 2 blocks straight ahead and 2 blocks to our right towards the Plaza. It was now raining heavily and dark. I immediately made my decision and flagged down a taxi which took me back to our hotel. On opening our room door my worries were confirmed - no Peter. I imagined him looking for me, feeling week with his bad infection and lying in the street cold somewhere. I grabbed a warm jacket, put on my boots and was about to leave him a message that I was going to the Plaza to look for him and pick up our bus tickets for the next day when suddenly our room door opened and there was Peter. When I did not come home just after 6pm (it was now nearly 8pm, he went to the travel agency and made the man in the office ring the bus to find out where they were and to know if I was on the bus and safe. This was all confirmed but the tour office man told Peter the tour would finish at 7pm and of course Peter expected me black at the Plaza just after 7pm. Well all was okay now. We don't usually split on our tours but Peter had wanted me to see something of the area and an organized tour sounded perfect.  We headed for a restaurant and then off to bed to get some sleep, we were leaving the hotel at 6.30am to go to the railway station in Poray near Cusco. The train no longer connects from Cuzco and Poray is a 30 minutes' drive from Cuzco. We had organized a private transfer from our hotel. In order to travel on the 07.35 am train you have to be at the station at 7.05am.  

Machu Picchu here we come!!

Info to Cuzco:

Cusco, often spelled Cuzco, is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cusco Province. In 2013, the city had a population of 435,114. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft).

The site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th-century Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared  a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has become a major tourist destination, hosting nearly 2 million visitors a year. The Constitution of Perudesignates is the Historical Capital of Peru.

The killike people occupied the region from 900 to 1200, prior to the arrival of the Inca in the 13th century. Saksaywaman, the walled complex outside Cusco, (it was on my tour!), established that Killke constructed the fortress about 1100. The Inca later expanded and occupied the complex in the 13th century.

Cusco was long an important center of indigenous people. It was the capital of the Inca Empire (13th century-1532). The Spanish gained control of the city in 1533. Pizarro renamed it the "Very noble and great city of Cuzco". Buildings constructed after the Spanish invasion have a mixture of Spanish influence with Inca indigenous architecture, including the Santa Clara and San Blas neighborhoods. The Spanish destroyed many Inca buildings, temples and palaces. They used the remaining walls as bases for the construction of a new city.

After Peru declared its independence in 1821, Cusco maintained its importance within Peru's administrative structure. Since the 1990s, tourism has increased. Currently, Cusco is the most important tourist destination in Peru. In 1983, UNESCO declared

the city a World Heritage Site. The Peruvian government declared it the Tourism Capital of Peru and Cultural Heritage of the Nation.

In 2007, the New7Wonders Foundation designated Machu Picchu one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, following a worldwide poll.

The elevation of Cusco is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft). Cusco was found in 2006 to be the spot on Earth with the highest average ultraviolet light level. You need a good sun tan lotion here!

Presently, tourism has been the backbone to the economic growth starting in the early 2000s, bringing in more than 1.2 million tourists a year. In 2002, the income Cusco received from tourism was $837 million USD. In 2009, that number increased to $2.47 billion USD.

Because of its antiquity and importance, the city center retains many buildings, plazas, streets and churches of pre-Columbian times and colonial buildings, which led to its declaration as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.

As capital to the Inca Empire, Cusco was an important agricultural region. It was a natural reserve for thousands of native Peruvian species, including around 3,000 varieties of potato cultivated by the people. Fusion and neo-Andean restaurants developed in Cusco, in which the cuisine is prepared with modern techniques and incorporates a blend of traditional Andean and international ingredients.

PETER Am nächsten Morgen wollten wir eigentlich die Stadt erkunden, leider aber ging es mir nicht besonders gut. Meine Bronchitis mit einer nicht so geruhsamen Nacht machte mir zu schaffen, so machte Linda sich mit einem Herrn aus Schweden nach dem Frühstück auf in die 10  Minuten entfernte Stadtmitte um uns dort nach entsprechende Stadttouren für Linda zu erkundigen.

Linda entschied sich für eine 4 stündige Stadttour. Lindas Tour begann um 14.00 Uhr.

Ich bin zurück zum Hotel um unsere Pässe zu holen, ohne Pässe konnten wir keine Tickets für die Busfahrt nach Machu Picchu kaufen. Zurück im Zentrum, diesmal mit meiner Kamera ließ ich die Pässe kopieren. Vor der Tür war noch voller Betrieb auf dem Zentralplatz.

Aus dem verhältnismäßigen guten Wetter entwickelte sich innerhalb von 10 Minuten ein Unwetter beginnend mit 2 Gewitterschlägen. Was dann folgte habe ich noch nicht erlebt. Aus anfangs leichtem Regen wurde ein 30 Minuten anhaltender Hagelschauer

An beiden Seiten der Straße entwickelten sich kleine Flüsse und Kinder bauten aus dem Hagelschlamm Schneemänner.

Nach meinem eigentlich kurzen Ausflug begab ich mich erst einmal zurück ins Hotel und ruhte mich aus. Um kurz vor 18.00 Uhr war ich wieder am Marktplatz um Linda abzuholen.

Kurzum Lindas Tour sollte dann bis kurz vor sieben dauern. Ich ging noch einmal zum Hotel um zu sehen ob ich Linda irgendwie verpasst hatte, sie war aber noch nicht da also ging ich zurück zum Marktplatz um dort zu warten. Ich habe gebeten das das Tour Büro mir bestätigt das Linda im Bus ist . Um 19.45 Uhr ging ich zurück zum Hotel ----- und da war sie  ebenfalls gerade eingetroffen noch etwas unterkühlt und mit noch immer feuchten Schuhen.

Wir aßen noch im Hotelrestaurant zu Abend und begaben uns dann in unsere warmen Betten. Vorher packten wir noch unsere sieben Sachen zusammen den am nächsten Morgen klingelte um 06.00 Uhr der Wecker.