It was a long 2 days getting to Cusco. It’s a little bit of a blur, but we had some fun along the way.
We were up at 3:15am on Friday, with a 6am flight from National. We had an 8 hour layover in Atlanta, so we decided to make the most of it. We rented a car and went to a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives place I had visited once before, the Silver Skillet. It is exactly what a Southern diner should be.
Ellen had seen that there was a Chihuly exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It was warm, but well worth the visit.
Ellen had discovered a Delta miracle when she was booking the flights: they were offering first/business class for fewer miles than coach. We of course jumped on that, so were able to use the lounge in Atlanta and fly in sleeper seats. I watched 2 movies on the flight, Eddie the Eagle and Creed. Enjoyed them both.
We arrived in Lima just before midnight local time (Peru is currently one hour behind ET). Ellen’s suitcase came out quick, but mine was almost at the end. A car was supposed to have met us from our hotel, but didn’t, so we’re navigating the chaos of the airport around 1am to get a taxi. We did, we made it to our just-off-the-airport hotel, and tried to get some rest, ahead of a 6:30 alarm and a 9:20am flight.
Flight to Cusco was quick and easy. We got a taxi to our hotel and felt the vacation had finally started. We’re staying at the Casa Cartegena, a luxurious hotel. After being taken to our room, there seemed to be a constant succession of knocks. First, coca tea and juice. Then hotel forms to sign. Finally, a plate of chocolates. We felt welcome!
We grabbed our guide books and then headed out the door. We are not far from the Plaza de Armas, the core of Cusco. But we were just passing through, our mission was to get SIM cards (of course). Despite the employees of Movistar speaking no English, we managed through the multi-step process. I did understand that when they asked if our phones were “libre,” they meant unlocked. After working on SOPs at AAAS for months, I wanted to document the process of: 1. Buying a SIM card 2. Putting money on the card 3. Signing up for the desired data plan. Step 3 can be the hardest because of language, but the woman helping us did it for us, so we left the store with .5GB of data for $11 each.
We found a Japanese restaurant, Bojosan, and had udon soup (Ellen had chicken, I had duck). It was a great meal for weary travels also adjusting to altitude.
Cusco is at 11,152 feet, which I think the technical term is, really high! We both are taking acetazolamide to ease the adjustment. The coca tea is supposed to help too.
Having been fed, we then started sightseeing. We went to the Templo de la Compañía and then Qurikancha. The Incas sure knew their masonry!
We took it easy in the evening, part of the acclimation process. So much more to come!