Well we have had an amazing night in Hostel Casa Nostra (check out my post on Choquequirao trek – Adventure in My Blood) and woken up to an amazing view of the mountains away out on the horizon of the valley. I could really get used to this place, but no time to ponder, we have a few chores to do before breakfast.
A quick brush down of the vehicles, clean the lights, mirrors & windows ready for the next leg of our journey. Today we will be making our 3 days stop in the Inca capital, Cusco.
The clients are awake and taking a few early morning photographs of the mountains before breakfast. As we make our way to the restaurant / reception below we are greeted with a wonderful laid breakfast, eggs, crispy bacon, fried potatoes, fresh bread & chilled butter, hot coffee or tea, and fresh orange juice. Plenty to go round and extra if anybody wants anymore!
We can relax today and take things easy in the morning, because our driving distance is relatively short compared to the last couple of days. So, we have a late-ish departure from the hotel and mount up for the first part of today´s itinerary.
Firstly, we will negotiate the long climb from the valley back to the main highway that links the cities of Cusco & Abancay. The climb will take us approximately 45 minutes to the top, and a quick stop to get some more photographs of the mountain across the valley. Although the higher we begin to climb, the clouds become lower, and the views become obscured. We find a small break in the clouds and everybody is happy!
We drive for around 90 kilometers before we arrive at our coffee stop area for today. This is an amazing archaeological site which combines Spanish Colonial with Inca ruins! I think you can see which stood the best of time?
Tarawasi is one of those small sites that sits back from the main road and can be easily missed if you are driving too quickly. It would be a shame not to visit this place if you are passing, because the setting is fantastic. We are lucky to be able to get all the vehicles up to the small picnic area overlooking the site.
Whilst Percy takes the clients on a guided tour of Tarawasi, I set up the coffee stop! We finish off the last of the homemade carrot & chocolate cakes, add a few cookies into the mix, and coffee breaks do not get much better than this!
After a stop of 45 minutes, we pack away everything, get the last few photographs for the album, and journey back onto the highway. We have been blessed with great weather for the last few days, and hopefully this will continue for the rest of the trip.
The terrain from here towards Cusco is relatively flat, and very different from the couple of days we have spent in the mountains. All around there are plenty of cultivated fields, filled with various types of potatoes, quinoa crops laid out like a blanket of lavender, and of course corn fields, cabbage & carrot. Mostly grown for the markets in Cusco & Abancay, but also part of their staple diets for their homes.
We have arrived at the town of Izcuchaca where we divert off the main highway through the busy part of town, because we are going to make another fantastic stop for lunch at Lake Huaypo (Laguna Huaypo). This area is abundant with wading birds & fowl, with the occasional eagle hunting or vultures circling above! The views here too are spectacular, with the mountain of Salcantay (6´271 meters elevation), its snow capped peak glistening from the afternoon sun. Across to the north is the slightly smaller peaked mountain of Sahuasirey (5´818 metres elevation), both truly providing an amazing backdrop for our lunch stop.
With limited places to stop around the lake, and the popularity for travelers to stop, we hope this area does not become too overcrowded for our regular picnic lunch ! Only time will tell.
We have been lucky today, the lake is quiet, plus it helps when we are traveling mid-week in the area. We have a great lunch, break out the foldable chairs and take in the views while we relax.
Our final leg of today´s journey is going to take us into the centre of Cusco, where the clients will abandon their vehicles in our secure car park close to their hotel. This is going to be a relaxing 3 days for them in a wonderful 5-star hotel (Casa Andena Premium) close to Plaza de Armas. Where they can relax and forget about driving.
They will have the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu, take a tour into Sacred Valley, or one of the city tours around Cusco, marveling at all the local history in this amazing city.
The guides will have a few chores to complete before they can relax!
The first chore, to get the vehicles valeted inside and out for when the clients leave Cusco in three days’ time, and also to make our scheduled stop to the large supermarket and stock up on provisions for the remainder of our days traveling.
Once the chores have been completed, we can take some time out and go to explore the city or go and venture a little further afield. Our only job is to ensure the clients are up bright and early for their trip to Machu Picchu, because if they miss the early train, they miss the day at the site. We are very fortunate to have local agents in Cusco that take very good care of us and have everything planned to the minute!
For this particular trip, me & Percy have decided to take a trek over the mountains from Chinchero to the Sacred Valley, a distance of approximately 15 kilometres. You can read about this trip in my post: Little Cusco Trek.
I thoroughly enjoy my time in Cusco, the people are so friendly, and there is a mix of tourists from every corner of the world here. Super nightly atmosphere in the bars & restaurants, and everything is so relaxed, it puts you at ease with the world.
Apart from the added rest we acquire in Cusco, we must not forget our clients, and we arrange a farewell dinner at one of the most popular restaurants (Pachapapa) in Cusco, to finish off what was a wonderful stay.
Our next stop will be Andahuaylas!
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