Sunday, June 29, 2014

Inca Trail Marathon Adventure Day 9 - "Home" to Cusco

Still feeling wretched this morning... made myself eat bread and cheese and drink a lot of water at breakfast. (Which was perfectly nice, honest.)

our non-matrimonial room in Aguas Calientes

the Hotel Presidente

Had one last poke around town, including a trip to the plaza where we noticed that the church bell was being rung by hand. Sweet!

the plaza in Aguas Calientes

bell-ringer, ringing the bell by hand

a peek inside the church


We walked to the train station, the entrance / exit to which is only accessible through a large market. We were a little surprised that almost none of the vendors were open that early, but I guess it was a Sunday morning…



We took a very handsome Inca Rail train to Olllantaytambo. The carriages were nice and featured a free snack and drink service -- pretty posh. We sped past the Km 83 checkpoint -- funny to think we'd walked from there four days prior.

scenes from the train -- lovely big windows






you can just barely see the far side of the bridge (it's green, near the center of the picture) and the path where it all started four days before!


Then transfer to a bus to Cusco, where I just tried to stay warm. We had a brief stop to stretch our legs (and, of course, shop…), and who doesn't love a Peruvian baby?




Or this awesome Peruvian door in Cusco?


Got to the hotel and went straight up to the room, shivering. Wil ran out to get hot food -- delicious cheese empanadas from the "cheap cafe" (not the posh bakery) -- and I ate them along with cups and cups of steaming hot coca tea while standing in the sun and watching some men play basketball on the court outside. I was white with cold, so I took a very hot bath and then climbed in bed for a nap.

hoops from the window … times like this I wish I were really good at basketball!

When I'm sick, I want to eat cheetos. Don't judge.

Most practical thing we did all afternoon was unpack our trekking bags and wash our knickers -- the product from Ex Officio we LIKED.



Tried to buck up a little so we went for a walk. The plaza was super quiet, and a little odd. We also walked up to San Blas, past the 12-sided stone again -- and the streets were really empty.

very quiet in the plaza this Sunday



one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve

We decided to have a late "lunch" (it was nearly 4pm) so we stopped in to Greens Organic. We had tried to go there one of our first nights in Cusco but it was closed for a private event, and we hadn't made it back. We had a delicious fried cheese appetizer, plus a side of tabbouleh and a side of rice. All very fresh, very nice. They also offered "detox juices", which I figured couldn't hurt… even if our choice felt a bit "re-toxy" since it was a blend of strawberry, lemon, apple… and coca leaves.

late lunch at Greens Organic in Cusco -- delicious!

We also had a team briefing / team farewell that evening… with special guest Victor, who came straight from the hospital. His baby was doing better, thank heavens, though it sounds as if she's not out of the woods yet. But it was great to have a chance to thank him in person and to say goodbye.

guest appearance by Victor!

The rest of the briefing was simple -- those flying to Lima needed to be downstairs by 5:15 to leave for the airport at 5:30. (OMG that's early!) They were told they could collect their bags in Lima and check them at left luggage for the day so that they could go into town, given that they would have 12+ hours to kill in town since most international departures are late in the evening.

They were dismissed -- after arranging to meet up at Paddy's Pub at 7:30ish that night.

Our group stayed after to for our instructions. Our bus would leave for the airport at 8:30 -- MUCH more reasonable! Lots of details about luggage -- mainly a plea to limit the amount of stuff we were taking to the Refugio -- "it's only 3 mights, folks", since the luggage would be transported by boat. And then we were done.

Wil and I went up and sorted out our luggage for the rain forest -- a few nights' worth of stuff in our Alaska Marathon Cruise duffels, easily extracted when we got to the office in Puerto Maldonado.

We picked up Andy and Annie for a "double date" to Paddy's, where we met up with the rest of the gang who trickled in over time. Nice to get a chance to see a few folks for the last time.


some of the crew at Paddy's

As an added "health bonus", Wil and I started taking our anti-malarial drugs, which made me super sick -- any potential side effect, such as fever, dizziness, chills, diarrhea, headache, nausea? Check, check, check, check, check, check, and check. Thankyouverymuch.

At the pub I felt worse and worse … so much so that we had to leave early… AND ANNIE HAD TO HELP ME FINISH MY CIDER. Yeah, that's how bad it was! I hugged someone goodbye, and she said, "Oh, god, you're burning up!" Yep.

Home to the hotel, Wil fretting about me being ill, then bed, where I slept like a hot, sweaty log.

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