Tuesday, 18 October 2005

Cuzco, 3400m

I arrived in this morning. The night bus was ok although I didn't sleep much, my iPod decided to pack up (more on that later) and the films they were showing were the most awful I've had so far on a Peruvian bus, which on average rank as abysmal to start with.

Cuzco is a nice place though. The town's arquitecture is mostly Spanish colonial, although you can still see some Inca fortifications and temple ruins. The people are as colourful as in any TV documentary on the Andes and are very friendly.

The one aspect that takes patience to adapt to is the altitude. I had never been above 2500 metres above sea level before so the immediate effect of being at 3400 metres is that I feel quite tired. Luckily, the staff from with whom I booked the Inca Trail strongly suggested I arrive in Cuzco 3 days before to acclimatise. They were absolutely right and anyway there is a lot to see here so three days will be well spent. Interestingly, , the Inca citadel which is the reason most tourists come to Cuzco and which is at the end of the Inca Trail, is at an altitude of (only) 2400 metres.

On a different note, as you would expect in a place where there is any remote possibility to sell alcohol, there is an Irish pub next to the internet cafe where I am writing this from. Is it the highest Irish pub in the world? Probably not: I trust the Irish to have found a way to establish a pub higher than that.

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