We awoke at the crack of dawn – or at least it was light, as the typical grey clouds were covering the skies of Lima. A beautiful singing bird was outside our window, a wonderful sign of summer.
Upon checkout we were given a pack lunch as it was too early for breakfast – what a lovely gesture from the Runcu Hotel Miraflores! Our taxi driven again by Luis Carlos arrived promptly at 6:00am and we were at the airport in no time.
We thought we were early birds, however the airport was a beehive of activity. As we had checked in online and had only carry on all we needed to do was print our boarding passes and head for the gate. We arrived at our gate with plenty of time only to find the flight was 1/2 hour late. No worries our only destination today is Cusco.
The flight on Avianca was enjoyable and we landed shortly after 10am. There was confusion over our transfer service as the flight had been changed from an afternoon flight to the morning and the Hostal Amaru hadn’t received the email. Thankfully I had signed up for a cell travel plan was able to call the hotel and within 15 minutes Manolo arrived to take us to our home for the night, Hostal Amaru II.
The city has grown so much since I was here a mere 30 years ago! It is now a city of 1 million people and is a hustling, bustling tourist area with lots of shops, restaurants and, of course, taxis!
We are given a room steps away from the reception with a bit if a view of the valley. A lovely room with wood floors and fixtures and very comfy cozy beds. I took advantage of the comfy bed for most of the day as I came down with a nasty fever and sore throat yesterday. This combined with the altitude ascent to 3400m and torrential rains outside made for a perfect chance to sleep. And sleep we did!
Finally around 2:30pm the sun peeked out for a wee bit and we ventured to the main square, the Plaza de Armas. Now this is what I remember of Cusco – narrow cobblestone streets from Inca times and skinny, skinny sidewalks to avoid being hit by passing cars.
The receptionist at our hotel gave us a couple of suggestions for lunch as we were famished by this time and we chose the Nuna Raymi and what a fabulous choice it was! Fero had the special which was quinoa soup, followed by alpaca (yes you read correctly) and bananas for dessert. I had chicken soup with quinoa with a large breast of chicken in it (didn’t expect that) and what the waiter claimed was the best dish – an incredible tasting stir fry of sorts with chunks of beef, veggies, onions, mushrooms sautéed with Pisco, beer, coriander and other spices. Honestly it was one of the best meals I have every tasted – it was SO favourable! Half way through the meal I realized I hadn’t taken a photo – apologies!
We met both the young woman who owns the restaurant and her father (her mentor and inspiration) and both were very attentive making sure we enjoyed our meal. She moved to Cusco from Lima 5 years ago and looks like she is doing well. The decor was basic and very few tourists so a great choice.
It started to rain again once we left the restaurant so we took a taxi the short 4 or 5 blocks back the the hotel – not a drizzle, but another downpour! The balance of the evening I was happy to sleep and rest as I hope to get rid of annoying throat and fever as soon as possible.