From Iquotis, we flew via Lima to Cuzco. We checked into our hotel La Augustine El Dorado on Ave De Sol and our room seemed fine. Adequate. Nothing grand, but it had a fridge, TV, heater, safe – everything we seemingly needed. Even a small balcony so Hubs could smoke outside any time of day or night without having to leave our room – something she loved to do.
It was almost dark by the time we arrived. We went for a wander to the main square, Plaza de Armas, and found a laundry service to wash our stinking jungle clothes. It was a pretty uneventful night – we were tucked up in bed reasonably early – something that was becoming a habit for us. We both felt affected by the altitude – Cuzco is 3200m above sea level. Both of us tired, short on breath, difficult to walk any distance, and I had a monster headache – one that nuerofen did not kill.
The early night did nothing and was a waste of time – I had the worst night’s sleep in the history of this trip. I hardly slept at all. Our second day in Cuzco was spent doing practical things – like getting train tickets to Machu Picchu, going to immigration to get another entry card (since I lost mine and needed it for the hotel and to get out of Peru). Immigration was relatively straight forward, despite having to go to the office to get an authorisation slip, walk up a huge hill in high altitude to a bank with the hugest line and pay the amount requires, 8 soles or about A$3, and walk back down the hill to immigration to get the approved and paid stamp. Phew!
I also got the worst leg wax I have ever had – including the time when I was a poverty stricken student and let beauty salon students wax my legs. The leg wax was supposed to cost 15 soles, or about A$6 and was supposed to take 30 minutes. I also got talked into a 30-minute massage for the same price. I was on the table getting my legs waxed with the oldest cruddiest wax for over 1.5 hours!! I was furious! Not only was the wax crap, but the girl who started waxing my legs didn’t seem to really know what she was doing. I started busting her balls about the wax being bad and another girl who had more of clue came in to finish the job. I cancelled the massage and refused to pay the full amount because I had such a horrific experience and wasted 1.5 hours of my life. Grumpy, To top that off, I was late meeting Hubs and missed her. And the laundry service was late, despite them having more than 24 hours to wash our clothes… so I had to wait, and had a huge headache and just wanted to go back to the room.
Instead of waiting impatiently, I decided to go shopping. Cuzco is a tourist tack town with every second person trying to sell you their artwork, a massage, a tour or dinner in their restaurant. It’s almost unbearable. There are also hundreds of small camping and trekking stores selling equipment and supplies for the Machu Picchu trek. It was time that I has a pair of performance trousers and I needed another long sleeve light top – we have 3 or 4 weeks in cool climate ahead of us, and again later on in the Argentinean Andes and Chile. I must have gone into 20 different camping stores, all tiny ones, and didn’t really like the look of the fake North Face pants, or other cheap pants they have. One shop however had more stock, and better quality stock – he had great performance trousers for about A$50 and genuine Diadora light tops – so we did a deal and got a good discount and two new handy items!
The weather in Cuzco was unbelievably good – the days were really warm and sunny – I got sunburnt slightly sitting in the sun!! The nights were cold – oh so cold – something I was not used to and never enjoy. I bet Machu Picchu will be freezing there first thing in the morning.
Our second night at Hotel El Dorado was just as bad. I don’t know what it was with that place, but I just could not sleep. The bedding was really heavy, the beds small singles, and nothing I did seemed to help. Earplugs didn’t help. Lavender essential oil on my pillow didn’t help. Going to the toilet, drinking water, wearing socks, not wearing socks – nothing gave me a restful sleep.
Just as well we had another town Agua Calientes to look forward to and then the magical Machu Picchu.