Our first free day of the trip and we took advantage of it by sleeping in and then heading out to the main square, Plaza des Armas. We wanted to find the 12- sided stone located along a very narrow cobblestone street off the Plaza. We easily found this masterpiece of Inca craftsmanship and then slowly slogged up the steep street to the San Blas area of Cuzco. San Blas is an area full of artisan shops that delighted Jeanne and RA, but held less interest for Gray and I. They shopped and we wandered the narrow back streets before joining up in the Plazoleta de San Blas in front of the small church.
I must take some time here to compare the street vendors in India to those of Peru. In India, “no” meant nothing and the vendor might follow you for blocks trying to make a sale. Here in Peru if you are on the move answering with “no gracias” two or three times would end the confrontation. If you were sitting on a park bench or church steps they had more of a captive audience and would continue showing you hand-woven belt after hand-woven belt until they realized that you were not going to buy a hand-woven belt. Then came out the small, but nicely decorated gourds and the whole process would start over again. The vendors were usually women often accompanied by a llama or lamb or goat in order to earn a few extra soles the photo session would generate.
We had a very nice lunch at the Inka Grill--an upscale but friendly place. Our waiter, Roosevelt, knew his trade and was rewarded for it. My meal concluded with an excellent coca de crème brule. After lunch, the ladies went shopping, Gray did some banking, and I headed back to the hotel for some sleep. I was fighting a nasty cold and needed to get some rest.
When dinner time rolled around I passed, but the other passengers hiked up to a funky restaurant, The Fallen Angel/Fire and Ice. The table was an old bathtub filled with water and all the trimmings for a fish tank minus the fish. RA sat on a stool, while Jeanne and Gray sat on a brass bed with lots of pillows. They said the lighting, music, and ambience were “different”, but they enjoyed their meal. Meanwhile, back at the hotel I was consuming cup after cup of mate de coca to try to kill my cold!
Tomorrow comes the raison d’etre for this trip: Machu Picchu. An 0445 pick-up at the hotel will begin our big day.