Our hotel in Pisac had received good reviews on Trip Advisor and in the morning I decided to check out the hotels grounds to see why and also to see if the proprietor was around so we’d be able to check out and arrange transportation to Cusco.  The grounds were nice but not rave-worthy and the proprietor nowhere to be found.

Plant on hotel ground similar to aloe

Plant on hotel grounds similar to aloe

After Adam woke up and got ready, we walked to the dining room where another guest appeared to have a similar idea.  We chatted and learned that he and his family had been staying in Lima for a month where he was working for the Lima office of the fair trade organization he worked for in Cambridge.  This field interests me significantly so we talked about the work the organization he worked for did.  Not long afterwards a substantial breakfast spread was laid out on the table and I enjoyed what was probably our best breakfast in Peru.  Honey coated quinoa and rice puff cereal with yogurt, freshly cut mango, coffee, and eggs.  Simple but good.  I asked one of the women if I could speak with the proprietor and, after a while, she came to greet us.  She agreed to call a taxi to meet us at the plaza and for her driver to drive us to the plaza.  We settled up and then caught our ride to the plaza and it was off to Cusco.

Once we checked into our hotel in Cusco, Adam realized he couldn’t find his Andean migration card (a piece of paper they give you at the airport when you arrive in Peru and that most hotels ask to see).  Fortunately, I had a map that had the location of the local immigration office so Adam set off to get a replacement card and we agreed to meet at a restaurant we had lunch reservations for.  We had a busy day ahead of us, with two trip briefings scheduled, and I made it to the restaurant at the appointed time.  Adam wasn’t there and I had no way of contacting him so I left a message with the maitre d and set out to withdraw money from a nearby bank since we were supposed to make the final payment on our Inca Trail excursion within half an hour.  I couldn’t figure out how to get US dollars so I ran back to the restaurant to see if Adam was there.  He wasn’t there yet so I ran to the office of our Inca Trail tour organization and explained that we would pay later in the day.

Fortunately, Adam and I ran into each other when I went back to the restaurant and we were able to relax and enjoy lunch as he explained his adventures trying to get the replacement card.  The restaurant was one owned by Gaston Acurio, the restauranteur and chef who revolutionized Peruvian cuisine, introducing the concept of Novoandina cuisine.

They had what I thought were the best mixed drinks we had in Cusco and we started our meal by sharing a potato sampler that was very good but quite filling.

Chicha potato sampler

I was already pretty full by the time my entree came out but I couldn’t say no to beef cheeks!

Chicha beef cheek

We left the restaurant happily full and rested from our adventures.

Adios Chicha!

Adios Chicha!

We went to Plaza de Armas to check out the main cathedral and another church located on the plaza.  After we left the main cathedral, we noticed there were dancers performing within the plaza and stopped to watch.

Cusco dance exhibition 1

Cusco dance exhibition 2

Cusco dance exhibition 3

This dance was rather racy--ooh la la!

This dance was rather racy–ooh la la!

Unfortunately, photos weren’t allowed in either of the churches but we were allowed to take photos from the lookout of the second church.

La Catedral from Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus

La Catedral from Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

I explored Cusco independently for a little while after we parted ways and then we reconvened at the office of Inca Trail organization for our trip briefing.  After our trip briefing, we got dinner at a Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant located on Plaza de Armas.  We shared ceviche and some sushi rolls when I realized I had forgotten to rent a hiking pole.  We ran back to the office to request the rental and then rushed back to our hotel, where we had a briefing of our Amazon trip scheduled.  Once our briefing was completed, we retired to our hotel room and packed for our Inca Trail trip.


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