Massages,mushrooms and mythology
You would have probably noticed we had not added an entry for awhile. This was mainly due to doing the Inka trail, where we had no access to write for 4 days. The other reason is we simply got settled into a routine in Cusco which has become one of our favourite cities in the entire trip.
To fast forward a bit and let you catchup we arrived back from aguas cliente and the trail on the 25th march. Initially we were supposed to check back into our previous hostel where our baggage had been stored-Hostel Rojes. It actually should be called Hostel Rogues. These guys were a disgrace to the rest of Cusco who were largely extremely hostpitable. To sum up we requested the same room on our return and were promised if this was not available we would be given a smaller room at a lower cost. However Nino the arrogant owner refused to honour his promise and abruptly told us that we could look eslewhere even though he had promised this. If this was a once off it would have not been so bad, however the same thing had happenned to us when we were here last time when his daughter promised us breaky included but he went back on that word. Anyway after a heated exchange we stormed off with all our luggage in pursuit of a new hostel. Luckily Ursula the sales rep from our trekking company(all trek)was nearby so we managed store the luggage there whilst we searched. Whilst I am on the subject of feedback, let me tell anyone reading this that ALLTREK CUSCO are an excellent company to go with for the inka trail, excellent customer service. Even when we had a miscommunication with what was included in our trek, they simply listened and resolved the inquiry immediately.
Well leaving Hostel Rojes turned out to be a blessing in disquise as we ended up stumbling on hotel Calicanto, which was in good central location and had the best staff imaginable. Miguelle and our friend Johnny were fantastic. And the room was spacious and homely. Infact we even celebrated Shetty´s birthday at Calicanto. Miguelle helped me purchase a cake and we surprised her early after breaky on the 31st March. Bubba was so happy, well until she gauged two massive pieces down in 5 minutes after our usual eggs for breaky and then vomited it all back out straight afterwards. (should I have mentioned this in the blog?)
Okay I will let you chuckle on that last sentence a few more minutes.
As i stated before we got into a bit of a routine in Cusco. The following paragraphes will expand on these essential parts of our time in Cusco. In a nutshell we would get up after breakfast and complete a siteseeing activity, walk around the majestic Plaza de Armes and simply soak in its beauty, be stalked by countless woman canvasing cheap Inka Massages, Contemplate whether we eat at a 15 soles set menu cafe or Mcdonalds, at night we would invariably have cocktails at our favourite pre-party venue Mushrooms and afterwards party at mythology then stumble home to Calicanto and knock on the door to be let in at 3 in the morning. You can see why it was tough to update the blog during these ten days we spent in Cusco.
Site Seeing in Cusco
The following our some of the sites we took in during the day
Before we went to the Inca trail we purchased a tourist ticket that allowed us to check out four religous sites in Cusco. We had already visited the Jesuit church La Compinia, when we returned we Visited the Magnificant Catholic Cathederal. This was the iconic building in Cusco´s Plaza De Armes. It stood out like no other building and consisted of three seperate buildings, two smaller chapels along side the main church. Apparently some of its stone work was brought from nearby Inca sites. What stood out was its solide silver alter, its amazing wooden crafted choir area and its abundance of cuscan artwork which included the last supper with a Guinea pig on the main plate, and its signature barroque front alter piece that blocks the view of the main alter on entrance. This allows late comers like myself to sneak in to mass without the priest knowing. Unfortunately like all the religouse site in cusco we were not able to take pictures. Apart from the wonderful architecture and artwork another highlight of the cathederal tour was bumping in randomly to Sarah our friend from the GAP tour who informed us that herself and the rest of the group had just arrived in cusco that day.
ARCHIEPISCOPAL PALACE MUSEUM OF RELIGIOUS ART
This place was a great exibition of all the Cuscan religious artwork. It displayed a combination of similar work we had seen in the catheredal and La Compinia along with many other classics. Around this building was many small art schools where you could purchase replica works. It building base also housed the famouse 12 angled INCA stone.
Church of Sanblas
This church was the first church built in Cusco and was much smaller than the other churches we had seen but was not outdone in character. The pulpit was excusuite in the church and worth a mention. It had a scull at its summit which was said to be that of its scuplturer. I was not able to take pics but here is a image I found in google.
The temple of the Sun as it is transleted is situated next to the Church of Santa Domingo. It is now a site where the dominican monks reside however it was once a great Inka temple. Like most other important INKA sites the spanish built over it with a religouse building of themselves to sho dominance. Our guide named "lady" told us that when cusco suffered a mighty earthquake the INKA walls survived yet the spnaish colonial structured crumbled. We enjoyed this tour as it was Lady's first english tour which was a bit of a laugh.
The INKA Musuem.
This was a great tour and very informative. Having done the INKA trail this really filled in a lot of gaps for us about the INKA teritory, progress in ceremics,gold,stone and silver work. This Musuem is a must see in Cusco.
Set Menu or Mcdonalds
After all the site seeing we used to get pretty hungry. The biggest problem was the number of choice we had to pick from. At every street corner around the plaza that would be touts pulling us in all directions. Invariable most of the set menu´s where similar. A Soup, a main(trout,steak,or Chicken) and a dessert/drink oh and offcourse a miniscule shot of Pisco sour to tempt us in. I think we at about 15 different restaurents whilst there some where a bit dodge but luckily most where really good despite the skeptically low prices. We even met up with Walter and Isa from the trail twice at one of the better cafes. Well actually all in all I did quite well in my food selection but shetty was not quite so lucky especially as she kept getting tricked into choosing this mustardy sauce each time thinking it was a chilli dish, you know these "curries" must have spice in every dish. This sparked her to go for the safe option, Macca´s a few times. This however was no ordrinary Macca´s, it was beautifully built to match the decor of the Plaza, no gordy golden arches just tasteful wooden ones. No colouful feature walls, Inca Like brickwork instead. It was by far the prettiest Macca´s we had eaten in and it had the finest selection of sauces which we savour.
Usually after a hard days site seeing and a full stomach we would eather take a nap or wonder down to the Plaza to where would be hounded by tribes of local girls waiting to massage our arching bodies for a small fee. I do mean small, Infact $10 Aussie for a fullbody 1hour massage. $7.50 if we bargained hard. It was like we were in bangkok unfortunately minus the happy ending, however I dont think you get hounded as much for a massage in bangkok as you did here. Eventually after trying out a few we settle on two girls named Sonia and Claire. I offcourse chose the prettier one(louey you would know that). I must say for the price they were the best value massages you could get. You would pay over $100 buck in melbourne for the same treatment. However, I am not sure back in Melbourne they would jump on the table and straddle your head to do your lower back as they did here.
Nightlife in Cusco
After our packed daily schedule we would embark on our nightly ritual. Which consists of pre drinks and partying.
As mentioned Mushrooms was our standard pre party venue. This place was a laid back loungebar that featured comfy sofas plus lazy beanbags, tasty bites, chilled out music with a DJ spinning from the bar and Vuluptious barmaids(at least I thought so harsh thinks it was all in the push up bra). Most of all though it was our favourite place because of it´s Zany bartenders and the crazy large monster cocktails. Mango and Strawberry Daquiris and piscuirri´s were amongst our favourite. The presentation was intriquette and the preparation of Cusco´s unique cocktail the machu picchu was done with a surgeon´s precision. We had many a good night here and even managed to drag in the GAP group and Walter and Isa here too.
This place deserves a mention as it was the first dance club we visited in Cusco. Infact it was one of the first times we actually got down and danced properly on our trip. Mainly as in rio it was so packed it was hard to move during carnival and the rest of the time we have been on the move. Mythology was one of many clubs we would visit on a nightly basis whislt in cusco. We would do so just after Mushrooms. We would walk towards the cluster of clubs and be acosted by touts with free drink offers. I think the reason we went to Mythology was the music was the loudest from outside the club. Before 11pm the place was a salsa club and afterwards a full on dance club with hip-hop to techno and dancing tourist on the bar. It was also a special place as we met the "latin usher" the same guy we saw dancing up a storm in Bolivia. It turned out he was peruvian and he was a salsa teacher, he aslo had a new friend we refered to as "stiffler" due to his uptight upright technique. Usher still had the same stand out salsa moves and even asked shetty for a dance who politely refused as she did not want to be shown up on the floor. However the funny thing was when the tables turned and the music switched to panjabi, Shetty was quick to return the offer and asked him to dance, this time it was the "Latin usher" that got stage fright and went missing from the floor when he realised Shetty was well versed in this format of sub continent salsa.
Other notable nights out in cusco was when we saw the entired GAP group from the balcony of Mama africa´s (another night spot). This was the same day we saw sarah at the catheredaral so it was not as big a surprise to see them but it was exciting all the same to catch up with the guys. We actually ended up partying with them twice doing the rounds at mythology, Mama africa´s and roots another joint close by where the promoter guy kept on calling me OBAMA. It is worth a mention that Shetty was so hyper one night that she declined my request to leave at 4am and ended up stumbling home with the rest of the group at 5ish. Now I know how my mother felt waiting up for me back in the day.
Well That was our fantastic 10 days in Cusco after the INCA trail. We probably waisted a few days figuring out whether we were going to fly to Cuba or the amazon as it turned out we decided on neither due to cost. However that said we loved here in Cusco and are sad to leave. Hopefully Lima will be just as nice.