Heck, where do I start about Cusco Peru? The idea for me here is to take time off. It’s been a really hard core few months.. Lots of long distance riding from North America, through Mexico and Central America and nearly to the bottom, the Chilean Adventure, Kevin, Bolivia, etc. If I could go down to Ushuaia and finish South America, I would. But it’s winter there. The weather is bad in the good months, so it’s super bad in the winter months, not on my list of things to do solo.
So I decided to take a break, live a normal life, catch up on the blog, and wait for Young James who went back to England for a couple months for his break. When he gets to Cusco, our plan is to travel to the great Amazon, something I don’t want to miss while I am in South America. And I know it’s a difficult road, so I’d rather wait than ride that part of the world alone as well.
I spent many weeks in Cusco and I will do my best to whittle down the photos.
Cusco is another city at a high elevation 3,400 mt (11,200 ft). Which is actually lower than I’ve been in quite a while. Not as much huffing and puffing needed as I did in the last weeks in Bolivia, but still makes me feel old to climb these hills in the thin air.
I searched and searched and found an “apartment” for 1 month. Not sure why they call it an apartment as it was with shared bathroom and kitchen with 4 other rooms. I didn’t care though, it was cheap as I could get and just thrilled to have a kitchen with an oven. One of my first desires was to make chocolate chip cookies! And lots of little pizzas with pineapple.
Easy to get fresh food, but sometimes it’s a bit too fresh at the local market at the end of my street. I never once bought meat at the market. Let’s not discuss sanitation. I was a full on vegetarian when I lived here and cooked for myself.. ;-/
The Plaza de Armas in Cusco was always a pleasure. I have to say it’s my favorite plaza in any city I’ve been. Really pretty and well kept. Kevin was a plaza man. In every town we ever stopped, that is the first place he’d head too. And after hearing stories from his sister-in-law Tracey of their trip here together 15 years ago, I could not help but imagine Kevin in this plaza every single time I passed through, especially at night.
My main goal while here is to work on the blog. I treated it like a job and spent hours on it nearly every day. The apartment I am in is an extension to a charity hotel down the street. They don’t have internet in the apartment, so I’d wander down to their cafeteria every single day, and well into the night sometimes.
This hotel, Ninos, is set up by a Dutch woman who saw a lot of children on the street when she visited. So she created the hotel as a charity to help the children in need here in Cusco. She does an excellent job and I’m only too happy that the money I spend to stay here goes to them. I live in an apartment above their little school and listen to the children come in every morning.
While I stayed in this apartment, my motorcycle is parked about 2 blocks away. Cusco is known for robbery and the only thing I didn’t like about staying here is that my motorcycle was not in my continuous sight. I’m a big worrier, and every morning at 6 AM, I’d run up to visit and make sure all was okay.
Cusco is a fantastic place to roam around, so full of history and culture. When I’d take a break, I would like to hike up the hill to the Inca ruins, Sacsayhuaman.
Sacsayhuaman is the historic capital of the Inca Empire which covered a huge area of South America from Colombia to Chile. It was built around 1100 AD. I get stuck and marvel at the large stone walls of Inca construction every single time. I can’t help but to imagine the sheer amount of work involved to lay just one stone. The Spanish explorer Pizarro destroyed most of this Inca city in 1535. Remains of the palace of the Incas, the Temple of the Sun, and the Temple of the Virgins of the Sun still stand. The Inca construction has proved to be stronger than most foundations built in present-day Peru. Easy to see why…
And being an animal lover, I like to meet my friends up here.
Cusco is a crowded town with lots of exhaust fumes unable to escape from the close buildings. So bad that I usually walked to the market with my bandana over my nose. So to be up here means fresh air, and I love it.
The lamb was following this young boy down the hill. I can only predict it was to take the lamb to his mother in Cusco which are used to get photos with tourists.
Which I have to admit, I am guilty of getting the photos as well. You get hounded by these women all day long for a tip… “Miss…..You want a photo?”
I usually say No, but I couldn’t pass this little baby up. The lady was busy with her child and the little lamb was close to the street. So I did my job to keep it safe until she was finished with her own baby.
Good news on the motorcycle front. My most wonderful sponsor Pasi at Innotesco in Australia who represents Rukka http://www.innotesco.com.au/rukka/, had arranged to send me a new jacket while I was here. I didn’t ask for it, it was just something they wanted to do. After all that has gone wrong lately, it was the greatest to receive a brand new jacket in the mail. And look at this one! Red!
I couldn’t wait to try it on. For the first time, I get to try the waterproof Gore Lockout Closer.. in other words, a rubber toothless zip! I can honestly say I never had any trouble with the old jacket leaking through the zippers, but I am intrigued at how this new one works. It makes sense, completely closed, sealed and waterproof. I also love the large reflectors, making much more visible especially in the dark. This is so great, THANK YOU SO MUCH to Innotesco and Rukka!
I wore my new jacket everywhere… love it!!
One thing you can ALWAYS count on in Cusco is a party.. Fiesta! They have more celebrations here than anywhere in the world that I’ve experienced. For this saint or that saint in Catholicism, for the winter solstice, teachers, postmen, for the military, rescue workers.. The town is often shut down for dancing in the street.
This guy is doing well!
There must come a time in life that it’s best to sit and watch the others dance…
Time out for a texting marathon!
I got another awesome gift in the mail from good friend Doug Wothke. I had many things stolen from my backpack in La Paz, Bolivia, and one of the most important pieces that was gone is my SPOT tracker. Especially for a solo rider, the SPOT tracker is my emergency device to call for help. Several wonderful friends on facebook wanted to help with many things, which really blew me away. The support from world wide friends still astounds me. Doug insisted on sending me this SPOT he had, and on top of that, a new lock! Hahaha.. well thought out, Mr. Doug. In the package was another surprise, a VERY COOL t-shirt for the upcoming Cannonball race in the United States. He’ll be riding his 1928 Indian. All this came in right before my birthday, so it was perfect. THANK YOU SO MUCH, DOUG!!
My own bike survived another night.. always happy to see it. And it’s even more fun to have a new shirt to wear. I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 2 years now, so you know what I mean..
Not the most exciting blog post… no big adventure here in town for a few weeks, but given the chance to watch the tourists come in for a quick 2 days, see Machu Picchu and then leave, I feel it was special to call Cusco home for a while and really get to know it and make good friends. To be continued..