Nov 19 & 20 – Zero Day in Cusco + Daytrip: Pisac and Ruins

Alli’s journal:

Kyu’s ponderings:

Tetsu’s jibber jabber:

This day was pretty close to being a “chill” day.

Our first order of business was to get to the airport and lock down a flight home.

I went early to airport to get into the queue. It was quite the madhouse.

Short story:  stood in line for a few hours but finally got a confirmed ticket for Friday flight out, day after thanksgiving.

Longer story:  I decided to go to airport to get in line, leaving ahead of time by a few minutes, and tried grabbing an uber but it took too long so cancelled and then the granddaughter of the corner market owner offered to help me get a cab.  Chatted a bit but communication was difficult.  In the taxi, hit rush hour so took a while to get to airport.

Upon arrival, i could see that the Latam agency was empty, and the many people milling around outside the airport made me worried that the lines would be a pain, so I immediately focused on getting any news from folks milling around outside.  Got some good backup info for how to get out of Peru, which ended up being unnecessary.  But it was good to learn that in a pinch, you could bus it to the Chile border, cross over and get a cab to the border airport on the Chile side, hop a domestic flight to Santiago and fly out from there.

Then i headed to the Latam doors which were closed.  Those of us waiting outside could see a lot of folks standing in line inside so were confused that they weren’t letting anyone in.  Many people were outside trying to get info.

After much arguing, the agent opened the doors for some of us to get in.  

But then, once inside, there were more blocking lines setup to prevent people from getting to the queue for the various airlines.

Finally a few of us were able to argue our way through, but most folks were still stuck behind the line.

A little while later, Kyu and Alli showed up, and with me already in the queue, the agent waved them through.

We met some nice people in the queue, including Gretta Medina, also trying to get home to the US.

After a long wait, luckily, we were able to lock in a flight and get a confirmation number. The flight was for Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, so of course, we were going to pay out of pocket for our own flight back, but would keep this flight as a backup.

With this first critical task out of the way, the guys found another Airbnb to stay at for the night. This one was a nice apartment style. We could only get it for one night, but it was a much needed respite.

This was in a completely different part of Cusco, along a wide, multi-lane main street with skywalks to cross the street in several parts.

We were definitely in chill mode this day, with Alli getting Kyu and I into watching a show called Love is Blind. It was pretty funny to learn that the show is done in different countries and the atmosphere of each show and getting watch the differences through a reality tv show lens. We watched the Japan version.

We locked down flights for the 22nd, which would get us home on Wednesday afternoon, the day before Thanksgiving.

Since we had a couple of extra days in Cusco, we also decided to hit up Pisac, a town that I had originally wanted to go to but had knocked out in favor of Starlodge.

With plans for the next day finally set, we ended the day.

Nov 20 Sunday – Daytrip: Pisac and Ruins

After a nice relaxing night, we all woke up earlier than usual, and we planned out the next two days in the area.

Alli and I headed out to get her a sim card, though most places seemed closed.

Walking around the main street, we found some open shops, and a bakery that drew me in with fresh baked breads wafting out the store.

We met Well (“Well” is his name, that’s not a typo). in a pastry shop called Basilica

Kyu also ordered some food, so we headed back and chilled for a bit.

Once we got organized, we headed to Pisac where Kyu and I did the ruins, and Alli reconn’d the shops, talked to the merchants, and found the best stores.

Pisac is about 40 minute or so drive from Cusco. And while it’s quick work to get out of the city limits, we did spot some beautiful graffiti on the way out.

Things turned rural pretty fast once we left the city limits

We did pass a few tiny towns on the way, where typically, the “highway” was also the town’s main street.

After some time, we hit Sacred Valley, and could see part of the town of Pisac

Pisac is a decent sized town, almost a small city. And butts up against the valley wall on one side where the Inti Watana Calca ruins are. As you can see on the map below, the path to the ruins start at the edge of the town

The town itself is quite beautiful and a joy to walk around in, with narrow streets, and small tables outside of tiny coffee shops.

The Pisac ruins are at one end of town, with a cobblestone uphill road leading to the main checkin where you pay and log in.

Kyu and I climbed up until we saw the large opening with the now familiar steppes. The first part of the ruins look almost like an amphitheatre as it curves around what feels like a central platform at the base.

The climb up was steep, and sort of split into two or three key areas. The first was at the initial storage ruins. The second was a much higher peak, and the third was along the peak’s ridgeline to a slightly higher peak.

From the second peak looking down there was an amazing view of the lower ruins and the town of Pisac to the right.

There were a few locals selling wares along the ruins trail.

On the way to the second peak area, there was one part of the trail that was crazy steep. Surprisingly, this was a lot scarier than the Skylodge/Starlodge experience.

During ruins climb, we also met two parents and a baby girl enjoying a dayhike

On the way back, Kyu ended up purchasing a stone, or rather two halves of a stone that came together, with some engravings that we didn’t really understand until the next day, when we visited the Inca Museum.

Once back to town, we found a nice restobar with a large rear courtyard. Amongst the narrow streets, it was nice to find this wide open space.

After taking a short break, we headed over to the market area that Alli found while Kyu and I were up in the ruins.

Here, Alli introduced us to Bertha, who was quite knowledgeable.

I Facetime’d my wife back in California, and together we bought up a storm. We bought so much, in fact, that it required buying even more luggage so we could bring everything back.

After that, we grabbed a cab back to Cusco. Driving up and out of Sacred Valley, passing tiny towns along the way.

Back at our final Airbnb apartment (where we would spend this night and the next), we chilled for a bit, enjoying trying on just some of the things we’d bought. Silliness.

Kyu had found a takeout app a couple of days prior and had been ordering food from it for us when we were at each of the Airbnbs. He found this fast food place as well, and ordered some amazing dishes

With only one last full day ahead of us, we each made slightly different choices on what we planned to do the following day.

And with our plans done, we hung out on the sofa to continue watching Alli’s pick, Love is Blind, Japan edition. Don’t ask me why, I still don’t know how that happened, lol.

The only thing missing was that wonderful Austral Calafate ale. We never did drink it while we were in Peru.

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