Our bus was 1.5 hour late leaving nazca ‘because it’s the weekend’. It was pretty chilly sitting outside the station so Ty grabbed us a couple of Pisco sours to try and warm ourselves from the inside and we had a good time sitting and chatting with some irish girls who were also on our bus. They had had a bit of a rough time with one of their travelling buddys having their passport stolen in Ecuador, and another one not having her bags arrive on the flight from Ireland so they had a few good stories to tell. Once we were finally on board we settled in to sleep. We are both pretty good travellers in that we dont get sea or car sick but the road between Nasca and Cusco is extremely extremely windy and I think that, combined with the fact we had paid for 'cama' seats (which lie almost flat) made me feel extremely naseaus on the corners. Fortunately I wasnt actually sick but I spent a good few hours doing deep breathing and trying to control my stomach. Ty and I had had a bit of a debate about whether or not we would need our sleeping bags on the bus (my line is it was better to have it and not need it than be freezing without it!). It turned out Ty was right as they gave us warm blankets but we could definitly feel the temp drop as we climbed to altitude. The dinner and breakfast left a bit to be desired and wasnt as good as when we travelled with Oltursa, and one of the onboard toilets broke, but since we managed to get cama seats for the same price as the second class bus we werent really complaining. Yay for super specials! 

Arriving at the hostel we found that Paul and Jono, two guys we had met earlier in our travels had also checked in so it was nice to see them again and catch up. The beds at the hostel were super super comfy so after a shower and some food we crashed out.
Windy hills on the way to Cusco
the main plaza at night
View over Cusco
Ty's sister and her boyfriend had told us about a free walking tour in Cusco so we headed out the next day to join in. It was more like a free sample tour than the other walking tours we have done in Europe/America but it was great as we got to try Alpaca (kinda tastes like venison), a purple corn drink, some chocolate tea and yet more pisco while still learning a bit about the city. Although we had a bit of altitude when we were in Quito walking up the stairs for a view out of the city almost killed us! We had both been drinking the coca tea since we arrived which im sure helped a bit but its such a weird feeling to be so out of breathe climbing some stairs that should really cause any problems normally. I had been feeling a bit of vertigo too (one of the symptoms) so was a bit off balance anyway which made it harder. Paul came with us and we met another aussies/kiwi couple on the tour who we ended up heading with to an awesome rather gringofied cafe called Jacks for lunch. It was so so so delicious!

Cusco has a really nice feel to it, wandering around its easy to get caught up in the laid back pace of life and beautiful architecture. After a bit of shopping and running errands we headed down to another hostel called the Wild Rover to catch up with the aussie/kiwi couple again and when we arrived they were sitting at the table with the Irish girls we had met on the bus. It was quiz night so we formed a team but even with all our minds together we still didnt come close to winning haha. 

We had booked a collectivo to take us to hidroelectrica (where we can walk to Aguas Calientes - the starting town for Machu Picchu) for 70 soles return which should be about the same price as us doing it by local transport. Technically it should also be faster but we'll see!

We had been planning on white water rafting but decided not to, as it ended up being more expensive than we thought and company we wanted to go with not available the next day so we used the time to shop for warm clothes (we heard that it was only going to get colder from here and Cusco has lots of markets to choose from). I managed to get an alpaca scarf and hat for pretty reasonable price but we decided to wait until La Paz to buy some warm tops as everyone had told us it was super cheap there. One thing we noticed as we walked around the markets was that there are bucket loads of potatoes (including dehydrated ones) – with over 3000 varieties cultivated the Irish have nothing on the Peruvians!  We also visited a local musuem which had some interesting Incan and pre-Incan artifacts and history. One room we found a bit creepy though as they had a series of mummified remains on display and one of them looked like it was screaming. Stopping at a little shop to grab some meusli bars for our MP trip we ended up having some more Pisco tastings before buying a bottle to take home with us….our bags seem to be filling up with booze!

During our walking tour yesterday we had stopped at a japanese restuarant for some shameless promotion and it had made me crave sushi really bad so we popped down for dinner before heading back to pack our stuff up for our trip. 

Next stop: Machu Picchu

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