Nearing Cusco as I write this (bumpily on the bus), travelling along a beautiful valley soaking up the last of the days rays. Perhaps not as many trees to be “perfect”, but dotted with farm houses, checkerboard of fields meandering along a narrow river. Drying crops on a football field, train line running beside us, reminds me a little of Europe.
I see horses being lead around a circular enclosure, crushing some kind of crop I think, beneath their feet. And three women sitting on the ground in the sunshine, in front of a small field, working on something as they laugh together.
I’m not sure exactly how far from Cusco we are, but I’m already feeling the beauty of this place.
Another half hour down the road, dusk is gently falling now. Air is still carrying a hint of the day’s warmth as it blows against my face through the open window while I watch the beauty rolling by. I suddenly recognise a familiar site: Australian gum trees! I’m guessing they’re here for much the same reason as in parts of Africa, quick growing and using little water, they help to reforest areas that have experienced extensive deforestation over many years. Their smell does bring on a momentary dash of homesickness…
First day in Cusco, warmth of the sun on my back as I sit on old stone steps overlooking the main plaza, Plaza de Armas… and it’s party time in Cusco! Inti Raymi Festival, celebrated by the Incas as the Festival of the Sun in honour of the God of the Sun: Wiracocha. The Inti Raymi symbolizes the eternal consecration of marriage between the Sun and human beings. There are thousands gathered watching different groups in traditional costumes walk, march and dance by. I wish my Spanish was more up to scratch, it would be nice to know exactly what the numerous announcements over the loudspeaker were about. I’m planning three months in Cusco, if I don’t knock this learning Spanish caper on the head by then I don’t know what I’ll do.
Though that three months will hopefully also see me top up my bank account with a heap of work, plus complete three or four treks in the surrounding mountains, including Machu Pichu obviously.
Loving Cusco… beautiful old buildings, mountains all around, blue skies every day, as many bars and restaurants you could ever hope for, tourist and local, and even the tourist places are extremely affordable. The only drawback? Nights are friggin’ freezing!! Which I guess you should expect at 3,700 metres.
The days are gorgeous, shorts and t-shirt weather most days. But as the sun sets the temperature plumments… so to round out the perfect place to spend a few months I just need to sort out a new place to live that is a little warmer at night.
Right now I’m sitting in the smallest pizza restaurant I’ve seen, pizza oven with open fire, two tables with a capacity of around 10. And now two Peruvian street musicians have walked in to serenade us with some local music, squeezed into the corner by the door. This is Cusco and I like it! Now if only the nights were warmer…