Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 2 - Arrive in Cusco, try not to have heart attack

Day 2 Cuzco

We arrived in Lima after our 8h flight in first class with LAN airways. We gathered our bags, checked them back in and wandered around the airport a little bit. 

Our guide from GAP, Barbara, met us at the airport and gave us a quick run down on the basic plan for the day. Upon arrival in Cuzco our driver would meet us and we would head to the hotel. She gave us a briefing on the altitude sickness and to take it easy today so as not to wear ourselves out. 

We loaded ourselves into the van and and headed to the hotel. Along the way Barbara gave us a bit of info about Peru- the climate, the money, the fact that there are over 3000 types of potoes. This fact astounded me.

Once we arrived in the hotel we all tried some coca tea- the same plant from which cocaine comes from. I don't think any of us had ever tried it before and there were some mixed reactions. The general concensus was that it tasted like green tea. 

The common area of the hotel is absolutely gorgeous, with a big huge sunroof and couches and chairs to lounge on. We all sat around while waiting for our room assignments. 

I was paired up with Erin, from travelcuts in Saskatoon, and we ended up with a pretty large room with 3 beds. We showered and changed and met the group back at the courtyard an hour later. By this time my stomach was starting to eat itself.

The whole group set out towards a money change place and the ATMs. The exchange rate is pretty great- $30 USD got me about $84 soles.

After we were all funded, we went in the direction of lunch. Barbara took us to an amazing little cafĂ© with huge portions. I got a veggie burger and a cusqueso (beer). When my burger came out it was phenomenal!! Shredded carrots and rice, caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, fresh guacamole, and grilled eggplant, all on a fresh bun. 

By the time we all finished lunch the altitude had definitely started to take it's toll on us so the unanimous decision was made to go back to the hotel and nap. Upon arrival to the hotel  pretty sure I was asleep within moments of my head being on the pillow. 

Slept for about 2h and got up to get ready for dinner. We had our welcome dinner with GAP at an amazing restaurant with the most incredible view of cusco at night. Barbara made some recommendations of what to try and I think tha majority of us had some form of alpaca. I tried the alpaca saltada, a variation of the traditional lomo saltada which is made from beef. We were told that most Peruvian meals come with both potatoes and rice. This held true for my meal. 

After dinner a few of the group went out to the disco but the majority ended up being the responsible and going back to the hotel to sleep. I myself was still feeling the effects of the altitude and really just needed to sleep it off. Got some more great photos of the city at night and  poked our heads in a few shops on the way. 

Pretty sure my I was asleep within minutes of crawling under my two very thick llama blankets.

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