First up: laundry
Thankfully there is no shortage of places to get your dirty clothes washed in Cusco. And for $2 a kilo with a same day turnaround why wouldn’t you take up the offer. That afternoon our clothes were delivered back to our hostel so nicely flat packed that we almost felt bad putting it all back into our backpacks.
I could get used to this..
Next stop: massages
Walking down the cobblestone streets towards the main plaza I felt good, not too sore at all. That was until the masseuse took to my calves- eek. Still, I could’ve stayed there for hours melting into the massage table and listening to the traditional Peruvian music versions of pop songs.
Oh yeah: Museo Choclo
With free entry and the promise of the best hot chocolate in town we couldn’t think of a better place to escape the increasing rain. As the friendly waitress pointed out we would need to make up for the calories we lost on the Salkantay trek. As if I needed an excuse to order the brownie too.
After learning all about this magical food I was sufficiently convinced that I was doing my body a huge favour by being there. Dad, you will be pleased to know that, contrary to popular misconception, eating lots of chocolate does not raise blood cholesterol levels. This may be chocolate factory propaganda but hey we’ll go with it.. So Niall ordered a Mayan version of hot chocolate (honey & cayenne pepper) while I went with European style (cinnamon & cloves). In hindsight I think the Argentine version might be the way to go. I’ll just have to verify that in a few days.
A spot of people watching
Not wanting to do anything too strenuous, we decided to plonk ourselves down in Plaza de Armas while the sun was shining. Unlike Aguas Caliente, Cusco is riddled with people intent on selling you something, from jewelry and tours to artwork and sunglasses. It sounds bad but as we usually do when spending time in a tourism-based town, we went through three phases of turning down whatever was on offer:
1. The polite ‘no gracias’ with a smile
2. The straight out ‘no’ accompanied by a shake of the head, and eventually
3. Little to no reaction
A huge effort has been made to prevent theft given the amount of tourists in town. We spotted four different types of police while perched on the stairs of La Compania de Jesus: traffic, national, municipal and one other more official looking type we couldn’t figure out.
The next morning we left for Lima, convinced again by our guesthouse hosts, waitstaff and taxi drivers that Peruvians really are some of the nicest people in the world.