Day 64: Cheapskates

Tues. 16th October 2012

Yet more stepsOf the remaining tourist spots in town I wanted to see inside the Cathedral. It was 25 Sol (£6 each) to go inside and no photos allowed, but we had heard that if you get there early before morning mass the entrance was free. A deal was struck that we would arrive there just before 8am and then go on to Jack’s cafe for breakfast.

This worked and we were able to wander around inside the Cathedral for 10 to 15 mins before being asked to leave if we were not staying for the service. This was just long enough to admire the ornate altars and ceilings as well as the enormous pictures – especially the that of the Last Supper which included a roasted guinea pig on the plate in the centre of the picture.

Breakfast at Jacks was good as usual – we must stop being predictable. However, as the cost of the breakfast was 50 Sol, we thought this was a good use of the savings from getting into the cathedral for free. Another optional trip was visiting local ruins by horseback, but after yesterdays disappointing trip this was dismissed. Instead three of us walked up yet more stone steps to visit Saqsaywaman, an Inca fort on a nearby hill.

Christ statue CuscoOn the way we detoured to see the Christ Statue on the hill, which we could walk around for free. The views back to Cusco in the valley and also across to the ruins were quite spectacular. Feeling good about our walk we felt smug when the open top bus and the trolley bus appeared there – at least we had made it on our own two feet.

We then decided it was time to explore the ruins, however at a price of 70 Sol each (£17.50 each) we thought perhaps we had seen enough Inca ruins and so did not both. We recommend anyone who wants to visit a number of the tourist sites should buy the 10 day ticket costing 130 Sol which covers entry to them all, rather than paying for each site separately. Entrance fees in Cusco are not cheap, compared with the cost of food etc. (If any of our friends from the Galapagos trip reading this, then yes you did tell us about this – we had forgotten until we got to Saqsaywaman).

Cusco from hilltopWe returned down the hill and had our favourite – vanilla cappuccino in Starbucks. We must begin supporting the local economy again, but at least we have not visited KFC or McDonalds which are also in Cusco!

Almost up to date with the blog writing, but we did have a break to return to Paddy’s Bar for lunch and to catch up on the football scores. It was also good to catch up with our families on Skype this afternoon and hear their voices.

Back at the hotel it seems to have been a constant stream of G Adventures groups coming and going all week. It is amusing to see the fresh faces full of anticipation of the Inca trail, knowing what they have ahead of them.

Cusco Trolley car - for tourists only of course!The last task of the afternoon was to find the DHL office to post a few memory cards of photos and our fridge magnet collection home. It was only a small light bag but they wanted 440 Sol (£110) to deliver it, so that did not happen! Others in the group wanted to send souvenirs home and their quote from DHL was 800Sol, but they tried the Post Office and the bill there was a mere 130 Sol.

It is our last night in Cusco and it is good to catch up with those from our group who have returned from the Jungle where they had a fun time and interesting stay in an Eco lodge with candles in their rooms for light.

We all agree that although we enjoyed Cusco we are ready to move on and continue with our adventure.

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