Somewhat refreshed after our arrival back in Cusco last night- a hot, albeit short, shower and a nice clean warm bed.
I now have three whole days to do NOTHING!!! Or, whatever I want, I should say. These few days there was an optional tour to the Amazon, which six of the group elected to take; since I am on the 45 day tour I will get to go at a later date, so I am taking this opportunity to relax, get some laundry done, and explore Cusco.
Cusco is the capital of this region, and was the heart of the Incan empire in it's time. It is a beautiful city, elevation 3700m. The houses all have red tiled roofs, and no buildings are higher than three stories (except the cathedrals)due to the frequent earthquakes occurring here. The Plaza des Armes downtown is the main square where two beautiful cathedrals are located; there are also many good restaurants and shops here. Unfortunately, there are also many locals constantly trying to get your attention to sell you anything from postcards to finger puppets to tours. You also have to be careful after dark, as there have been reports of pickpocketing and muggings of tourists.
I spent part of each day wandering around the city, taking in the sights. I also got a great massage- an hour and a half for 70 soles- only about 25 Cdn, what a bargain! Felt great after the Inca trail. Walking around here is almost like being back on the trail in some ways though; the streets are all cobblestone, and have steep, narrow hills- great exercise! Food is good and cheap- for 3 soles (not even a buck) I bought a bottle of water and an empanada ( pastry stuffed with ham and cheese) and walked to the Plaza des Armes, sat outside and had my lunch.
The rest of the time, I read and spent a few hours at the internet cafe, updating this site!
The Amazon group rejoined us on the last day, and we went out for a great dinner to celebrate before leaving tomorrow for Puno.