Day 63: Cusco, At A Leisurely Pace

Mon. 15th October 2012

Irish BarWe did manage to be up in time for breakfast in hotel this morning and do intend to make sure we do not miss out on the main sights of Cusco. We have a couple of days here, whilst 4 of our group have a couple of days in the Amazon jungle.

We did, however, take the time to catch up on computing  whilst waiting for the 10am meeting with Shiry. There was no room (or point) to take the laptop on the Inca Trail and so Dave took his little notebook and made pages of notes in that. They all need to be written up – perhaps we should have a holiday!

We left the hotel en mass with a long shopping list for everyone – pharmacy, post office, photo developing (for our underwater Galapagos pictures) and hunt for the T shirt we have seen that says “I survived Dead Woman’s Pass”.

On the must see list in Cusco is the Inca Museum so we soon leave everyone to their shopping and head for our culture fix. The museum was interesting with the display descriptions in Spanish and English. A number of the artefacts were similar to those we had seen in other places, but it was interesting to tie together various facts we have been told over the last week or so.

It had to be Paddy’s Bar for lunch as it is the highest 100% owned Irish Bar in the world. Dave was not tempted by the Guinness (as it was in cans). The food was very good, I can recommend the chicken, bacon, pineapple and mango wrap with fries.Before the downpour

As Dave went back to blog writing after lunch, I headed off to wander around the streets window shopping. Very tempting to buy lots of souvenirs but there is no space to carry them.

The sky begins to turn grey and look very menacing so I head back to the hotel arriving just before the heavens open and the noise of rain and hail (yes, hail for goodness sake!) on the plastic roof of the hotel foyer is deafening. It was necessary to avoid the leaks in the roof as the floor begins to get wet.

Pouring silver into mouldAt 3:30pm Shiry has organised a trip to a Silver factory. The men stay behind but ten excited ladies pile into the minibus and we head of to what is more like a private house converted into a workshop and showroom. We are told the factory with 30 workers is elsewhere. A quick demonstration shows the silver being melted and shaped into pendants as well as all the different stones that are used, to be inlayed into the silver moulds.

The showroom is full of rings, pendants, necklaces and earrings of all different shapes and sizes. We are each given a small weaved basket for us to fill with the trinkets we wish to buy. The price is based on weight and the bargaining begins. The temptation is too much and we all buy at least one item – well the men did let us out to play!

Supper was the slowest service yet – with 16 in our group the service is never quick (except on the Inca Trail) and we seemed to get caught behind another large group. On the plus side, the Alpaca steaks we ordered were very tasty – something like cross between beef and rabbit. It is supposed to be very low in cholesterol so we convince ourselves we are eating healthily!

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