Thursday, 8 January 2015

Starting the Journey Home - Cusco to Lima

We woke up early in the morning, had breakfast at our hotel, and then packed our suitcases for the flight from Cusco to Lima.  We still had the can of oxygen, which I had found incredibly helpful at Machu Picchu.  My asthma tends to flare up at high altitude and taking little hits of oxygen really helped my stamina.  So as we were packing, John asked me if we should pack the oxygen or leave it behind.  I knew we couldn't pack it in our carry on bags but I thought it would be ok to put it in our checked luggage just like a can of hairspray. I also wanted to bring it home to show my allergy and asthma specialist to find out if anything like this is available at home.

We got to the airport so early that they were able to move us on to an earlier flight as long as we were ok not sitting together.  We found our gate (our tickets said gate five but we were actually supposed to be at gate two) and lined up.  As we were standing in line, in the barrage of Spanish over the PA system, I suddenly heard my name. 

I went to the boarding gate and told the attendant that I had heard them announce my name.  She informed me that I needed to follow her and we went through the double doors and started down a long winding ramp into the 'bowels' of the building.  We ended up at ground level and she started knocking on the glass double doors which would lead us out to the tarmac but were bound in a chain and heavy lock. As we waited for one of the guys on the tarmac to notice us, she asked me if I had anything dangerous in my suitcase.  No, of course not.  Oxygen?  No........

There was no way the guys on the tarmac were ever going to hear the gate attendant gently rapping on the glass doors but eventually someone noticed her and came around to unlock the door.  We went out onto the tarmac where the planes were getting ready for take off and she brought me to a small wooden structure like a little shed that had a huge plexiglass window.  If you've ever seen Mythbusters on TV, it looked  like the little shed they hide in when they are blowing things up. 

Two guys rolled John's suitcase out of the airport and onto a little table in the 'shed.'    They asked me if it was mine, and since we were only a few moments away from boarding I figured it would just be easier to say it was mine rather than try to explain that it was John's and have them go and bring him down to the tarmac with me.  I'm not sure why they thought it was mine; it has a luggage tag with his name on it.  They asked me if there was anything dangerous in it, and I told them 'no.'  Oxygen? they asked.  No, I said.  I knew we had talked about packing the oxygen but for some reason I thought we had decided to leave it behind. Luckily we use the same combination for all of the luggage locks, just for simplicity's sake, so I unlocked the suitcase while the gate attendant and the two security guys stayed outside the shed and watched me through the big plexiglass window.  Of course, when I opened it there was the can of oxygen right on top!  Oops!!!  They took it out, threw it away and then had me sign a form.  I had no idea what the forms said but I just wanted to get on the plane.  They took a picture of the photo page of my passport and then we walked back up the ramp to the board area.  Just as I got to the gate, John had reached the front of the line and I was able to board the plane with him and tell him all about my tarmac adventure. 

After that the flight was uneventful, we landed in Lima and grabbed a cab to the Sheraton.  Traffic in Lima was awful so when we finally checked in we decided to grab a late lunch/early dinner at the hotel restaurant and lounge by the pool for awhile. 

In the evening, we were bored and went on TripAdvisor to find something to do.  According to their website, the number one thing to do in Lima was the Magic Water Circuit, a park of water fountains only a few blocks from our hotel. We both thought it sounded kind of lame but it was better than hanging out at the hotel so off we went.  It was so much better than we expected.   There were all different kinds of water fountains including one that was a tunnel that you could walk through and one that had a series of circles of water jets.  You stood inside the circles and tried to make sure you didn't get soaked!  There was a group of about 12 nuns in traditional grey habits who were having a great time riding the train and going into all the fountains.  We had as much fun watching them as we did watching the fountains. Near the end of the park was a really long fountain where they had a laser show that lasted for about half an hour.  It was so much more fun that we had anticipated. 

Everyone scrambles to quickly find a spot in one of the circles of this fountain


Then the water slowly starts to rise and jets cut across some of the circles - watch out or you'll get wet!


Once the water gets really high, you have no choice but to wait for it to go down again. You're part of the fountain now!


At another set of fountains, a laser show takes place every hour with the lasers and the fountains set to music. Notice the little twisting tornadoes of water on each side. 

Back to the hotel for the night.  One last day in Lima, then a midnight flight home tomorrow.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Machu Picchu

Our plan on the morning of our trip to Machu Picchu was to get up early and catch on of the first buses up the mountain so that we could spend as much time as possible there before returning for the 4:30 train back to Cusco. We would leave my backpack at the hotel and take his backpack with our jackets, his camera and my can of oxygen. As we packed to leave, John realized he couldn't find the tickets for Machu Picchu anywhere.  We had purchased them the day before as they only sell a limited number each day and we didn't want to come all this way and not be able to get inside!  I had kept a black folder with all of our hotel confirmation numbers, flights, train tickets and so on but the only thing I didn't have was the tickets for Machu Picchu.  I was sure he had put them in his camera bag but the only thing he could find in it was the train tickets.  Frantically we searched everywhere with no luck.  We did find his receipt but not the tickets.

We had a quick breakfast in our hotel lobby.  It was mostly breads and some yogurt and John's coffee was a thick dark liquid coffee concentrate that he poured into his coffee mug and then had to add hot water to in order to drink.  We talked to the front desk clerk and he said we should be able to get in to Machu Picchu with just our receipt so we boarded the bus (still had our bus tickets!) and started the long climb up to the top through a series of switchbacks on a narrow gravel road. 

When we arrived at the turnstiles at the front gates, we showed the attendant our receipt and he went inside to check if we could use that to get in.  As other people handed in their tickets we noticed that the tickets looked very similar to our train tickets. John pulled them out of the camera bag - oops!  They weren't our train tickets, they were the Machu Picchu tickets.

And then, we were climbing the steps up to the guardian hut and overlooking the amazing lost city. Words can't begin to describe how big it is - truly breathtaking to be looking over the temples, the agricultural terraces, and the homes of Incas from hundreds of years ago.  We were up so high that the clouds were below us and the village of Aguas Caliente was a mere speck in the distance. 

One of the most unexpected surprises during our trip was the weather.  We were travelling during the rainy season and every weather forecast I had checked had called for cool wet weather with a high of 17C each day.  Instead we had beautiful warm weather each day.  Poor John had to carry the backpack with our jackets and sweaters and I found myself wishing I had worn shorts! 

While we had a fantastic time spending the day exploring the site, I do wish we had hired one of the many many tour guides who were waiting at the bus drop off point. I had a booklet with information about the various buildings and a map but there were very few signs inside and the bits and pieces that we overheard from the guides working with other families sounded really interesting.   If I had one piece of advise to give to other people planning a trip to Machu Picchu, it would be to hire a guide!  Hindsight .......

It was hard to choose just a few pictures to post of our day at Machu Picchu.  No matter how many pictures I post, they just don't capture the spirit and the amazing energy of this sacred place.  If you are thinking about going to Machu Picchu, if it's on your 'bucket list,' go!!!!!  It is worth every penny, every inconvenience, every minute!!!!

The clouds are below us - crazy!!!!!  My new screensaver :)


When we first entered Machu Picchu, we climbed to the Guardian Hut and then made our way past one set of agricultural terraces to the entrance for the Inca Bridge, which is about a twenty minute hike. Before you can hike on the trail down to the Inca Bridge they make you sign a guestbook, and then you sign back out again at when you return. That we they know if someone went down the trail and didn't come back.  Now you are only allowed to hike to a certain point and then you have to stop.  Years ago, you were allowed to hike onto the Inca Bridge but someone fell and died, hence the change in rules. As we were hiking to the Inca Bridge, John was backing up to take a photo and I noticed there was no guard rail, no rope, no nothing behind him, just a very very long drop to the valley floor below.  I wonder how many tourists are injured here each year?

If you look closely the dark line about three feet above the path is a piece of chain that hikers would hold onto as they hiked down to the bridge.

Close up of the 'bridge'

Signing the guest book so they know we made it back safely from the Inca Bridge trail

Temple of the sun

Even though I had to stop at many points throughout the day, we felt like we had been able to take our time and see all the sites we wanted to see.  Colleagues who had visited Machu Picchu last year had done it as a day trip from Cusco and they had advised us to stay overnight.  They had felt rushed and I'm so glad we took their advice.  The train from Cusco arrives around noon, by the time you went and got your bus tickets, got on the bus ride up to Machu Picchu, you would only have an hour or two before it was time to head back down to catch the last train to Cusco at 4:30. 

Sacred plaza with temples and house of the high priest
Sacred Rock which is almost the same shape as Huayna Picchu
Below the Temple of the Sun is the Royal Tomb, which is called that even though there is no evidence that anyone was every buried there.  Many of the buildings are simply known as the Temple of Ten Windows or the Temple of Three Doors as no one is certain what they were used for.  Because there is no written Incan language, what interpretation you hear depends on who your tour guide is.  One tour guide would describe the Temple of the Condor as a prison and then next tour guide would exclaim 'can you believe they used to think this was a prison.  Ridiculous!'


Look at the size of those rocks. And the ever present trapezoidal window.

This rock is a really big deal and the park staff are there to make sure you don't touch it or sit on it.  This is the Intihuatana which loosely translates to 'hitching post of the sun.'  Most of these rocks were found and destroyed by the Spaniards in their attempt to eliminate sun worship.  It is thought to have been used as an astro-agricultural clock for viewing the relationships between the stars and constellations. 

My new buddy :)
We caught the bus around 8:30 and stayed at Machu Picchu til around 1 pm.  Just as we got on the bus to head back downhill, it started to rain.  Great timing!

As we went back downhill, we met several buses coming uphill on the very narrow winding road and actually had to back up a couple of times.  SCARY but we made it.  We decided to have lunch at Trip Advisor's number 2 restaurant in Aguas Caliente - El Indio Feliz Restaurant.    Luckily this was one meal that didn't involve a long search - it was right across the street from the restaurant we had lunch at the day before. How sad to think that while we were suffering through that awful lunch, a fantastic restaurant was right in view.

Our booth, the kissing booth, at Indio Feliz. Awesome food!

Our lunches were amazing, the service relaxed as always.  By the time we finished a leisurely lunch the rain had stopped so we did a little last minute souvenir shopping and then made our way to the train station to begin the journey back to Cusco.  It was like the peak of Machu Picchu had been the peak of our trip and now we were starting the descent - train and bus to Cuscu, flight to Lima, flight to Detroit.  Time to start the whole process in reverse.

By the time we arrived back in Cusco, we were pooped.  We checked back into our hotel and were assigned a different room. Same price but this one was on the second floor and had a little living room area.  We grabbed some snacks at the convenience store a block away to eat in our room and then 'hit the hay.'  What an amazing day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The tip of Huayna Picchu as seen through John's telephoto lens.  You have to get a separate free ticket for access and they only have 200 tickets at 8 am and 10 am each day. Temple of the Moon is on this peak.  We didn't have the time or energy for this hike. Maybe next time????

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Traveling to Aguas Caliente

At 5:30 the alarm went off and I dragged myself into the shower, and then laid down on the bed.  I hadn't been physically ill for a few hours so we decided to go for it.  We were heading from Cusco to Aguas Caliente and then on to Machu Picchu. John hustled about the room trying to pack both his and my suitcases.  I sat on the bed and indicated which things I wanted to put in my backpack for the trip to Aguas Caliente and which things were going in the suitcase; he passed things to me and I packed my backpack, which took all the energy I could muster.  John took both of our suitcases down to the front desk to check them overnight, while I sucked on my electrolyte drink (YUCK!) and rested.  Then the moment of truth - the cab had arrived.  Poor John carried both backpacks and his camera bag down the stairs to the street while I managed to carry my small travel purse, walk down the stairs and collapse into the back seat of the cab.  I brought a plastic bag with me, just in case, and vowed to avoid all food until we were safely in Aguas Caliente.

We left the hotel, both of us curious where this mysterious bus depot was located.  We wound through narrow cobblestone streets and drove up to a big green wall right only a few doors down from the hotel where we had stopped for directions the previous day. But now the big green wall was open; it was a gate which lead to the bus depot.  No sign, no indication that it was a bus depot.  One day it's a big green wall, the next day it's a bus depot. 

There were lots of attendants working at the bus depot, and as people arrived we boarded the buses and once the bus was full, it departed.  John and I quickly grabbed seats as close to the front as we could, in order to reduce the amount of motion I would have to deal with (no bathroom on the bus) and we were off on the next leg of our journey.  The bus wound its way along dirt roads and pavement, through little towns and villages and finally arrived at the train station which was pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  We disembarked and had different tickets for boarding the train.  We had to wait about 20 minutes to board the train but it was nice to stretch our legs, walk around in the fresh air and take a few pictures.  You could feel the excitement in the air as tourists from around the world waited together, all  bound for the same destination.  We were almost there. 

Waiting to board the train!

I had booked the train tickets online from PeruRail quite a long time in advance and hadn't noticed that we weren't sitting together but were sitting across the aisle from each other.  Many other people had the same experience.  I think they sold the window seats first, and then filled in the aisle seats, assuming you'd rather sit by a window than sit by your travelling companion.  John and I sat together and enjoyed watching the scenery roll by.  It was hard to take photographs as the windows were a bit steamy and we were moving pretty quickly.  At one point we went past a rope suspended over the river with a seat attached to it.  If people wanted to cross the river, they simply hauled themselves across on the wooden seat, hand over hand.  Much faster than travelling miles and miles out of their way to the nearest bridge.

There are three different classes of tickets on the PeruRail train to Machu Picchu and different tickets are available on different routes and at different times, so you might want to check and see what is available when you are travelling.  We chose the midprice Expedition and it was great.  The seats were large and comfortable, there were snacks and souvenirs available for purchase, and the bathrooms were spotless. 

When we finally arrived in Aguas Caliente, we were all so excited to disembark and we all streamed into the modern train station.  When we left the train station we had to wind our way through the Mercado Artisanal, which is a very long maze of stalls covered with galvanized metal roofs, to cross the bridge in to town.  Our hotel, Mi Pequena Casita, was only about a block from the bridge and the buses to Machu Picchu stopped right outside our hotel's front door.

John standing outside of the Mercado Artisanal; train station sign in the background

The train pulling through Aguas Caliente (note the steep mountains in the background)

We checked in and dropped off our bags.  The hotel was clean but super basic and the decorations were a throwback to the 70s with lots of orange and brown upholstery, bedding, and paint. But as long as the bathroom is clean and the bed is comfortable, that's all we need! 

Our room - flashback to the 70s

The view from our room - the bridge to the Mercado and the train statin

We wandered around town, looking for a spot to stop for lunch.  Normally we check TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet for recommendations, but today we took a chance at Apu Qoyllor Rit'i which had a nice outdoor patio and was offering 4 for 1 pisco sours.   What a mistake!  It is ranked 41 of 46 restaurants in Agua Caliente on Trip Advisor and no wonder.  The food was awful, the service wasn't great and they added a huge service charge to our bill and charged us a tax which they aren't allowed to charge to tourists.  When we pointed that out to them, they removed it but if we hadn't know that in advance we would have had to pay.  I wonder how many other tourists have paid, not knowing that it is illegal for restaurants to charge additional VAT. 

Relaxing on the patio for lunch and watching the world go by

After lunch, I went back to the hotel and napped for most of the afternoon while John had a glass of wine and used the free wifi at the restaurant patio next door. Once again, no pushy wait staff urging you to order another drink or vacate. They are quite content if you order one glass of wine or one pot of tea and then linger all afternoon. 

A three hour nap did me a world of good; I felt energized and ready to explore the city.  We went for a long walk through the winding streets with no particular location in mind and then decided that after such a horrible lunch we were going to go to the number one Trip Advisor restaurant in Aguas Caliente - The Tree House.  We showered and changed and then went off to find the restaurant.  As usual, we ended up wandering all over town for about 45 minutes often doubling back over ground we had already covered.  In a small plaza we noticed a tourism information office and went in to ask directions.  The girl in the office gave us very good directions which involved a lot of landmarks rather than street names.  The restaurant was just around the corner from the plaza and we had walked by the stairs a few times in our search but there was no sign that indicated that The Tree House was up those particular stairs. 

As we were wandering the streets looking for The Tree House we passed this restaurant built on and around a huge boulder.  The red bricks, most likely laid without the use of a level, are ubiquitous in Aguas Caliente.
It was worth the scavenger hunt and the climb up yet another set of stairs.  The dinner we had at The Tree House is probably one of the best meals I've ever eaten in my life!!!!  We were the only ones in the restaurant so needless to say the service was impeccable.  The waiter told us lots of interesting information about our entrees and how they were prepared.  I had a quinoa risotto made with three different kinds of risotto that was AMAZING!!!  We ordered a lucuma mousse for dessert. Neither John nor I had heard of lucuma before and the waiter brought out a big book and showed us pictures of the lucuma fruit and explained how and where it grew.    They offer cooking classes and if we had been staying in AC longer, I would have loved to have gone back for a class.  It is obvious that the staff at The Tree House love food and love to share their passion with others. 

After dinner we waddled back down the stairs and headed home to bed.  I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve - Machu Picchu tomorrow!!!

Monday, 25 August 2014


On Tuesday we decided to skip the all day bus tour and after breakfast we took a hike to find the bus depot for tomorrow.  In the past when travelling from Cusco to Machu Picchu, travelers would simply board the train for the four hour ride. During the rainy season from November to May there were often problems with mudslides, landslides and rockslides so now travelers during the rainy season take a two hour bus ride to a station just beyond Ollantaytambo and then a two hour train ride the rest of the way to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. 

After a quick breakfast we headed down the hill, past Q'orikancha, looking for the bus depot.  We wandered around and around several blocks, stopped in to hotel lobbies to ask for directions, and ended up at a local market.  I had seen these vendors in Lima as well:  there is a bunch of hard-boiled eggs in what looks like an aquarium - a small glass container.  On the side of the glass container is a bowl for holding the egg shells and below is a group of quail who are laying the eggs for the vendor to cook and sell.  Customers purchase the eggs and the vendor peels them, puts the egg shells in a bowl and then puts the peeled eggs in a plastic bag, sprinkles them with salt and gives the bag to the customer.  The other street food that was very popular was a boiled/steamed cob of Inca corn which is much larger than our sweet corn at home.  These are also sold in a plastic bag which customers use to hold the corn as they eat it.  I did not try either of these local treats.

Quail egg vendor

As we waited out a quick rain shower at the local market, John used the data on his phone to once again search for the bus station.  We saw lots of other interesting things in the city, but no bus station.  By now I was feeling tired and dizzy.  I suggested to John that it was time to go back to the hotel, and that we needed to grab a cab rather than walk.

Some of the sites from our strolls around Cusco:

I like the juxtaposition of the traditional dress and modern dress.  We saw women everywhere in Peru, including the airport, wearing the flat-brimmed beige hat, braids, brown pleated skirt and flat shoes, and carrying colourful bags slung over their shoulders carrying all sorts of things including their children! 

Just down the street from our hotel

Turns out this fountain is very close to the bus depot.
We walked around this plaza countless times; we knew we were close!

When we got back to the hotel, I laid down and was sure I would feel better once I had a quick rest.  WRONG! By 2 pm I was sick.  Really, really sick.  I won't go into graphic detail but I was vomiting and had diarrhea nonstop all afternoon and into the evening.  John relaxed just outside the hotel door on the patio, reading his book and playing games on his computer, and came in periodically to make sure I was still alive.  As the day progressed and my condition showed no signs of improving he somehow managed to find a pharmacist who spoke English and got me antibiotics, a Spanish version of Gatorade to restore my electrolytes and a canister of oxygen just like the Japanese tourist had at Sacsaywaman.

As  afternoon faded into evening I was still spending most of my time in the bathroom and I began to have serious doubts about my ability to embark on a two hour bus ride followed by a two hour train ride in the morning.  Our bus left at 7 am and we had strict instructions to be at the bus depot no later than 6:30 am.  We had made arrangements ahead of time to check out in the morning, leave our suitcases at the hotel and then check back in on Thursday evening.  We just planning to use our backpacks as overnight bags for the trip to Aguas Caliente.  The staff at the front desk assured us that the taxi driver would take us to the mysterious bus depot in the morning.  But I couldn't imagine leaving the bed, except to go to the bathroom, let alone leaving the room.

I was sure that I was going to miss out on our trip to Machu Picchu, which was the whole point of this trip and I suggested John go ahead without me, but he argued that he would rather stay with me and  not leave me behind.  I figured at least one of us would get to see it; he figured it would still be there and we could see it together another time.  I was too weak to argue, which is unusual for me!  I woke at 3 am, still sick and even more convinced that we were going to be spending another day in Cusco.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Cusco and the Sacred Valley

There was a free breakfast buffet at our hotel in a tiny dining alcove just off the front reception area so we had a quick breakfast and then headed out for our first full day in Cusco.  Every book, article and webpage that I had read said that the must-see site in Cusco was Qorikancha, so we went there first.  Tickets were only 10 Soles ($4 Canadian) and we hired a guide from the group of locals who were gathered outside the front door. 

Q'orikancha was a beautiful Inca temple with consisting of four small sanctuaries and a larger temple set around a courtyard.  Everything in the temple was covered with sheets of gold or silver and encrusted with precious jewels.  The Spaniards tore down much of the temple and built a church on the site in the seventeenth century and they carted off all of gold, silver and gems.  The locals note that Spanish portion of the building has been damaged by earthquakes but the Inca portion of the building, made of tightly interlocking blocks, stand firm.   Having the local guide was a great addition, as there were very few signs and no real pamphlet to use as a guide book.  He showed us how the Inca sections were built and explained how it was used as a celestial observatory.  We took lots of photos of the interior as well as the beautiful gardens, which are visible from the street. 

The Spanish Church built upon the Inca Foundation

The courtyard - two views

beautiful painted wooden ceiling in the courtyard
Inca StoryBoard
When you looked through the window in one small room, you could see through the a row of windows in all the other small rooms so that you were looking from one end of the building to the other. Amazing!

Looking through the windows

Inca building blocks

By the time we were done our tour, it was time for lunch.  We chose a restaurant from our guide book but as we followed the directions, we realized that the restaurant was at the top of this flight of stairs:

Time for plan B!  We found another restaurant, Los Perros, and settled in for a relaxing lunch.  The food was good, the service was good, and the restaurant was nice and clean.  Not a rave review, but it was OK.

After lunch we were wandering downtown and we signed up for a package tour of some of the sites in the Sacred Valley.   The tour would take place over two days.  We would go this afternoon to Sacsaywaman, Q'enqo and Tambomachay and then tomorrow we would tour Pisac, Ollantaytambo and other sites.

Sacsaywaman is located high above Cusco and is mostly a series of huge stone walls that zigzag across the plain.  Once again we heard the familiar refrain about 'when the Spanish came...' as to why so much of it was destroyed.  Our tour guide was very informative and we spent about half an hour hiking around the site and taking photos.  The Lonely Planet guide had directions on how to hike up to Sacsaywaman but I'm so glad we took a bus.  It's about 2 km straight uphill from Cusco and would have taken quite a long time.  Perhaps if I was twenty years younger and was in Cusco for a very long time I might hike to Sacsaywaman, but it doesn't seem like a good use of time and energy when tours are so inexpensive.

While we were there I noticed a Japanese tourist who was carrying what looked like a big can of hairspray with a fancy plastic lid on it.  Every once and awhile she would hold the lid over her mouth and take a hit from the can.  It was canned oxygen!  I have asthma and altitude is always a trigger for me.  I've had a few bad trips when I've brought the wrong puffer and struggled to catch my breath. My allergist had prescribed special puffers for me leading up to this trip, but the altitude was still causing some shortness of breath.  I was intrigued but too shy to ask her where she got it.

Cusco from Sacsaywaman; Plaza de Armas in the foreground

After Sacsaywaman it was on to Tambomachay, also known as 'the bath of the Incas.'  These ruins consist of three tired platforms and water springs feed the platforms and create a waterfall/shower.  The best thing at Tambomachay was that there was a group of women and children in traditional clothing with llamas and you could give them a donation and get your photo taken with them and the llamas.  I was so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

We travelled on to Q'enqo which is a great stone, formerly carved in the shape of a puma but destroyed by the Spanish who wanted to force the Incas to convert to Christianity.  Like many of the Inca sites we visited, it depends on which guidebook or which reference you read as different scholars have different ideas about exactly how this site was used.  It was interesting to see the amazing rock work sculpted so many years ago.  There are platforms and niches on the outside and then a huge chamber with a raised platform inside that was most likely used in some sort of ceremonial ritual. 
Puma statue (destroyed by Spaniards)

We rode the bus back to town and since we were at the Plaza de Armas we decided to have dinner and then head back to the hotel.  We found a restaurant upstairs (and if John or I remember the name of it, I'll add it here later.  I wasn't intending to blog this trip so I didn't keep accurate notes.)  We ordered a pisco sour and some appetizers - alpaca kabob and some other things - and then went to the washroom to freshen up.  I had been holding a llama, after all.  In the ladies room, there was a bucket of water with a spigot in it next to the sink.  Apparently the sink wasn't working.  When John returned from the men's room, he informed me that the sink wasn't working and there wasn't even a bucket of water. He hadn't been able to wash his hands.  Luckily I had some hand sanitizer in my purse so he just used that instead.  But if there was no way to wash your hands in the men's room, what about the staff?  How clean could the kitchen be?  We decided to just have our drinks and then head out and get dinner somewhere else.  When the food came, we changed our minds.  It was so delicious; we ate it and ordered more!
Then it was time to call it a night! 
Cusco at Twilight from Sacsaywaman