Today was a more relaxed day of travel. I had the intention of going to Pisac, the neighboring town (33 km away from Cuzco) that is known for its textile market and ruins. That didn’t happen.
I had breakfast at the hostel. The tables are set up community style, so it’s helpful for making friends. I talked with three other travelers: one woman from England, one woman from Ireland, and one man from New Zeland. Each of us has entirely different traveling styles: I’m staying for two weeks; the others are staying for 1 year, 3 months and 5 weeks, respectively. We are all traveling alone. We do share something in common: everyone at home thinks we are nuts, and we’ve each met many, many other travelers with far more outrageous adventures than our own. I love that travel brings so many cultures together and makes the world seem so much smaller and possible to explore.
I wasn’t sure where the bus stop to Pisac was, so I wanted to walk around the Plaza de Armas again before asking around. I walked down one street I hadn’t visited, and to my surprise and awe, in a courtyard off of the street were 2 llamas and three alpacas grazing the lawn and eating corn husks!!!! Shriek!!!!!! I was so excited! My first real Peruvian alpaca sighting!
After many pictures, I kept walking, still wondering how to find the right bus. I heard music coming from a block over so I followed the sound. It was a parade! Happy day! There were flutes and drums and men and women marching and dancing in traditional garb. I asked an onlooker what it was all for. Apparently, it’s to celebrate Labor Day. I guess I wasn’t meant to go to Pisac today.
When the parade was over, I decided to instead visit the ruins of Sacsaywaman, in Cuzco but up a steep mountain. I got lost. I found myself in the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas. Here, there were many sma shops filled with knits and people sold their goods on the street. I walked to the market to look around, and I again had chicken soup from a small lunch counter (2.5 Soles–that’s 80 cents!). I tried talking to the three others eating, but I think they mostly spoke Quecha, or they thought I spoke gibberish. I also bought a pomegranate for 1 Sole (35 cents).
I climbed back down, found the correct mountain and climbed halfway up, then decided to abort the mission. My feet were hurting and I just wanted to sit down. I found a park (Peru seems full of parks) and saw more Quecha women with alpacas.
I found a restaurant, but either I ordered the wrong thing or they misundersrood, because I ended up getting salty chicken tenders and fries. Sadly, this has been most most expensive meal!