It was a case of love at first sight between ol´Cusco, Peru and I. The moment we got off the plane I looked around the little valley we are now in and just felt the magic of this place, or maybe it was just the altitude. Cusco, the historic capital of the Incan Empire, is now a city in Southeastern Peru near the Sacred Valley, where we plan to visit tomorrow. It is nestled in the Northern Andes at approximately 11,000 feet (3,300 meters). So it has taken our breath away literally and figuratively. The altitude has taken its immediate effects on us as I haven´t been at this altitude since last year hiking the hills of Colorado. We´ve consumed large amounts of agua and coca leaf tea to combat the altitude sickness. It´s also a custom here to suck or chew on the coca leaves, which I´ve partaken in as if I was a local. Besides the altitude, this city is downright fascinating, as it has still preserved much of the Incan culture. It´s a large tourist attraction but once you´re here you see exactly why people come from all corners of the globe to witness this incredibly spiritual atmosphere.
The one bit of bad news that I have in this post is that I haven´t found a way to upload the mass amount of photos I´ve taken onto these internet cafe computers. It appears I will have to wait until I get back to Buenos Aires to install the CD rom onto my laptop to then down/upload these pics for your viewing. For all I can do now is to tap into every adjective to describe this atmosphere.
Our plan for the week is an all-day trip to Sacred Valley tomorrow where we will take a look at some other Incan ruins, supposedly the next best thing besides Machu Picchu. Then Tuesday we will use to explore the whole of Cusco. Wednesday we begin our journey to Machu Picchu and will stay Wednesday night in Aguas Calientes and most definitely enjoy the hot springs before our early morning ascent to Machu Picchu on Thursday. To put it bluntly, I´m fortunate and overwhelmingly excited to be here right now. Maybe its being back in altitude and the mountains that gives me that comfortable home-like feeling. As my brother said today, high altitude is good for the soul if you notice most spirtual gatherings in the world are located well above sea level, it makes sense to me. Cusco is by far much more impressive than Lima and even the Lima faithful will admit it so it is great to know we only planned two days in on the coast and four days here in the mountains. I do apologize for not having photos on these blog posts but please come back to these posts in the next week and I will have some shots on here just to give you a glimpse of how lucky we are to be here.
Well, its time to spit out the coco leaves and go enjoy a beer or two with my bro, at this altitude it may only take one sip to feel the buzz... I love the high altitude attitude.
Stay tuned for more on the Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu near the end of this week, until then... Salud!