Sunday, February 04, 2007

Cusco & Machu Picchu

It doesn't really help that I lost and eventually found my diary while in Cusco so you'll need to bear with me. Anyhow, we didn't really do a whole lot in Cusco other than take a couple of Spanish lessons, catch up on internet stuff and carry out the oil change I'd been meaning to to since I bought some oil in Valpariso. I actually carried that bloody oil all the way accross Bolivia for no particular reason, what a numpty!

We were holed up in Casa Grande, a nice central hostal with a courtyard and bike parking, where the staff were more than accommodating with our bike-based mechanical nonsence. We visited the Norton Rats pub on the square which boasts 'real ale' on tap however I was a little dissapointed as the IPA was off the whole time I was there but somehow I beat Michelle at pool three times so I suppose the I suppose Old Speckled Hen must have been ok.

Leaving the KLR at the garage (yet another blocked carb) we rode up to Ollytaytambo via a pleasantly green valley, somehow getting a nice cheep hostal on arrival. They claimed bike parking but in actual fact this involved getting poor Bertie to do a few yoga moves and getting down a few stairs though he got his own back by flattening a bed of their flowers in the process.
The next morning, we took the train up to Aguas Callientes and then the bus up to Machu Picchu. Its an expensive business this travelling lark. The bus snakes up the side of Machu P and you finally arrive at the entry point when you then have to shell out another 120soles (about 20 quid) to actually get in.

As expected, there was an awful lot of tourists about which affects the impact a bit but it was an awesome sight nonetheless. We spent the best part of the day wandering around the site and managed to check out the Inca Bridge but the walk to Huayna Picchu was closed by the time we got to it.

MP does strange things to people!

We'd timed our arrival back at Cusco with a night booked at the Hotel Monasterio, a leaving gift from Michelle's work. This place is probably the most expensive hotel in Cusco costing $500 a night so we were glad we weren't paying! A Snickers bar from the minibar would set you back $4 if you were so tempted. The deal included a 3 course meal so after a soak in the first bath in about 3 months, we scrubbed up as best we could in our oxygen enriched room and joined the rest of Cusco's high society for dinner.

A little bit of $500-a-night luxury

The following day, we sloped back to Casa Grande where we'd left our bikes ($500 a night doesn't acually buy you bike parking) and stayed another night. While the posh hotel was great, it was a little stuffy and it was nice to be welcomed back to Casa Grande, where the staff couldn't believe how much our fancy hotel had cost.

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