Monday 07/05 (2/2)
We arrive at the Cuzco bus terminal around 2:45pm. The owner of our Airbnb sent a taxi driver that he knows to pick us up; it’s easier to find his apartment.
The apartment is nice, quite small but rather modern, with 3 rooms and 2 bathrooms (and 3 toilets!). The 2 double beds are unfortunately rather small. The fridge is rather small also and there’s no washing machine. But we’re happy to be somewhere where we stay 8 nights. The neighbourhood is nice, inhabited by locals; it’s not touristic at all.
Jules is happy to have Netflix and starts immediately using it, by watching ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’. Isabelle and I sort out our things and then we go to do some grocery shopping to a nearby shopping mall (the only one in Cusco in fact). Miguel, the owner of our Airbnb indeed told us that there was a nice supermarket there.
The supermarket is indeed quite nice and we buy stuff for the week. We stay 8 nights here, before leaving next Tuesday for our Lares Trek, to Machu Picchu.
A good news for me: when we arrived in Cusco, I realized that the temperature was much higher than the one I expected, which was based on the ‘Weather’ app of the iPhone. In fact, I put the wrong ‘Cuzco’ (instead of ‘Cusco’, but both in Peru as per the app) and I can now see that the weather forecasts for the next 10 days are quite good while the ones of Cuzco were not good. I was already worrying about our outdoor activities (biking and trekking) in the region. What a relief! It indeed changes everything: biking and walking under the rain or under the sun is indeed quite different…
We come back home around 6:30pm. We prepare a nice dinner: bread with charcuterie and cheese. It had been so long we haven’t eaten good bread with good ham, salami and cheese. It’s very good (and it’s quickly ready, which is good because we’re all tired after this exhausting day). We all enjoy this dinner (with also some avocados, tomatoes and tapenade).
Kids play ‘Uno’ while I cut the chicken that we bought (for our lunch salads).
Kids are in bed by 8:30pm. I check if the problem with my laptop was only temporary but it is unfortunately not… At least there’s a cable and I can thus connect to the internet and post on the blog today (for the first time since Huancayo I think). I’m so much behind… (nearly 3 weeks: still in Chile…). We go to bed by 10pm.
It’s great to be “home” for a week, after 10 days on the road. I’m happy to have traveled off-the-beaten-tracks from Lima to here. This 10-day trip was not so difficult, contrary to what the Lonely Planet (although recent) claims. It was very local and helps us to experience the real life of the people in the Andes.
Note: we can feel the fervour of the people for their national football team that qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 36 years… We can see so many people wearing the national jersey. Today, in the supermarket, all the cashiers even wore it. It’s sad that we’ll be in a country (US) that is not qualified for the World Cup during this event. But we will for sure watch all the matches of the Red Devils live (the time difference will help us to watch them at reasonable time for the kids).
Wake up without alarm clock today. What a luxury…
Florence was a bit sick during the night.
We take a breakfast of cereals and fruits and then the kids do 2 homeschooling sessions while I work on different things, mainly the schools for the kids next year and the rental of our apartment in Brussels.
I also go and bring our laundry to the ‘lavanderia’ close by. We have a few kilos of clothes since we haven’t done any laundry since Lima, 10 days ago.
I go to the nearby market to buy some vegetables for our salad for lunch. It’s a typical local “neighbourhood” market. You can find everything. I like it very much.
After lunch, Isabelle and I go and have a first look at the ‘Centro Historico’ of Cusco; kids are happy to stay and rest in the apartment. It’s only 20’ on foot. It’s very nice. The Plaza de Armas is lovely. It’s great to see such an architectural harmony after having seen so many awful villages and towns (except Ayacucho). Of course there are many tourists. We are not used to seeing them anymore after our adventure trip to reach Cuzco but there are also positive things that come with touristic places such as nice shops (with very nice clothes made from alpaca, e.g.) and nice restaurants. But there are also the negative things such as local ladies posing with their baby alpacas in the streets for money or countless of girls in the street who propose massages…
We walk in the cobblestone streets, full of shops for tourists and tour operators (and cafes and restaurants of course).
We come back home around 6pm. Kids start watching ‘Sharks Tale’ on Netflix, on the nice tv, while Isabelle and I work on our laptop.
I go and collect the laundry. After the girls finished sorting out the clothes, I realize that I didn’t get back any of my underpants. I go back and get the remaining of our stuff. I also notice that there are not many stuff from Jules; I wonder whether he changed clothes often…
Isabelle prepares dinner (meat with rice and beans).
We play ‘Uno’ until 9:30pm (we wanted to play until Florence wins but it never happens…).
I work until 1:30am. Jules sleeps on the sofa of the living room so I could sleep in the single bed this night (our bed is definitely too small).
Vlog by Jules: see below.
We wake up around 8am (even a bit earlier for Jules, Isabelle and I).
After breakfast, kids do 2 sessions of homeschooling with Isabelle while I spend most of the time trying to solve my IT problems. I spend 45’ on the phone with Besix ICT team to solve the problem of the wi-fi connection. It works. Thanks Dirk and Bernard! I’ll call again on Friday to reset the anti-virus (and the updates) as well. It’s great to be able to count on such IT support when you’re far away.
I prepare a salad for lunch.
Kids like this routine when we are in an Airbnb.
Around 2:30pm we go to the city centre, the ‘Centro Historico’, by taxi. We start by walking in the bohemian San Blas district. The weather is great; it was raining a little bit when we left the apartment so we are wearing much too many layers… From the top of San Blas, we have a nice view of Cusco. We go down to Plaza de Armas, taking our time and wandering in the very narrow cobblestone streets (on extremely narrow sidewalks). We discover many vegan small cafés; nice atmosphere + it’s not too crowded with tourists (or at least much less than I expected).
Like the small markets, all the tourist shops sell nearly the same things.
We take a taxi to go back home, around 5:30pm. I buy avocados and cucumber in the nearby market. At 6pm we have a guide from Amazonas Explorer to brief us about the bike trips of tomorrow and Saturday. He finally only arrives at 7pm. Nothing really worth noting but it’s a nice thing to have this kind of briefing, “at home”.
Amazonas Explorer is the company (based in Cuzco) that organized all our activities in Cuzco: 2 bike trips (½ day and 1 day), the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu (5 days), the trip to the jungle (4 days) and the pilgrimage of Señor de Q’oyoriti (2 days). In total, we stay 25 days in Cuzco, with 2 different hotels and 2 different Airbnb apartments in between the different activities that I organized with Amazonas Explorer.
For dinner, we eat nice breads (baguette and whole wheat bread, which we bought in town this afternoon, in a nice bakery) with charcuterie, cheese and avocados; we indeed enjoyed so much 2 days ago that we do it again.
Afterwards, we play ‘Uno’ until 9pm.
Isabelle and I work on our laptops until 12:30am (I had a call that was cancelled at the last moment). I need to finalize the last post (our usual summary) about Chile before eventually starting the posts on Peru. And I’m afraid that in view of the programme of the next 3 weeks, I’ll rather increase my delay than catch up…