I haven’t posted for a couple of days and this will have to stay the norm for the next week or so because we are off to start our treks! Tomorrow I start the Inca Trail and I can’t wait. I was pretty nervous about doing it but I actually did a huge hike yesterday which at 18km and climbing to 5100m altitude was a lot harder than anything I’ll face on the Trail touch wood. So now I’m feeling quite prepared. The trek was up the now famous Rainbow Mountain and I’ll write more about that soon.
After Chivay we returned to Arequipa for an afternoon before our night bus. While back in Arequipa I did some shopping for the first time and got a mixed alpaca jumper which was something ridiculously cheap like 35 soles or roughly £7. I recommend checking out the hidden covered market just behind some arches on Plaza de Armas. Fredy had recommended we wait until Cusco to get the best prices but it actually seemed cheaper in that particular area and we were also limited for time in Cusco so it worked out well.
The night bus Arequipa-Cusco was awful, apparently they’d had a lot of rain and maybe even a landslide which made the road bumpy and you could feel every twist and turn: so we got virtually no sleep. At one point the driver seemed to reverse for a kilometre or two which I’m now guessing is because the road was so bad he had to back up! However I suppose it’s worth noting that the Arequipa-Cusco road is usually one of the best maintained in Peru as it’s a major tourist route – so I wouldn’t necessarily let our experience put off anyone considering a night bus between the two. Night buses can be a great way to get a long journey out of the way and Cruz del Sur, as I’ve definitely mentioned before, are very comfortable!
We then had a couple of days in Cusco before today – right now we are heading to Ollantaytambo which is the starting point for both the Lares Trek and the Inca Trail. The first day in Cusco wasn’t too productive – mostly it was spent catching up on sleep and then having a couple of drinks before our hike briefing. I did have a quick walk around and visited some markets but would like to have a better look when we get back after the treks as it seems like a really nice place. Maybe I can post more about it then if I do!
Our second day based in Cusco was yesterday and it was completely dedicated to Rainbow Mountain – we left at 4am and got back around 7pm! I’m going to write about that experience in a separate post because I have a lot to say (mostly good!) so for now this is just a short post to fill in the gaps since Chivay. More soon!