Day 3 - Fly to Cuzco, Urubamba, & Ollantaytambo - March 29, 2003

The wake-up call came and the alarm went off at 3 AM. We had our showers and were ready for breakfast at 3:30. The luggage was out the door then and we went down for rolls, eggs, fruit, juice, and coffee.

After breakfast we got in the van (4 AM) and made the drive to the airport. David checked us all in, took our luggage so all we had to do was walk in and go through “security”. We walked to the gate, waited 45 minutes got in the TANS Peru 757 aircraft and were in the air. The aircraft was 1/3 full. EASY!!!

We made the one-hour flight to Cuzco (10,909 feet), the center of the Incan world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They got our luggage so we just walked to the much larger van. The women began to buy trinkets and apparels.

We then drove to the center of Cuzco and stopped at the Hotel José Antonio and had coca tea. It was good but a serious diuretic. We got back on the bus, drove out of the city on the way to Urubamba and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We stopped just outside of Cuzco to see the view, elevation of 11,550 feet and then drove on.

Our guide David decided to take a dirt road for us to see the small villages and the countryside. Life is very primitive here in the Andes. We spoke to people and had a chance to take pictures. We then got back on the main road and arrived at Urubamba. Again, another overlook to see the city in the valley. The mountains on all sides are over 16,000 feet high and have snow at the top.

We went to the Hotel Incaland, got situated and had two hours to acclimate to the altitude. Gennie and I decided to walk through town and it was very interesting - colorfully dressed women, tiny babies, and the men. We took a lot of pictures - asking first and then got back to the Hotel.

Our hotel is at a lower elevation than Cuzco (some 2,000 feet lower), and staying here helps ease our altitude acclimation. We had lunch at the Tanupa Restaurant - same names as last night. Desserts were fantastic.

In the afternoon, we explored the city and then splendid Ollantaytambo ruins. This is one of the few places where the Spanish, with Hernan Pizzaro lost a battle to the Manco Inca the leader of the Inca nation. We walked amid the remains of this ancient fortress, made of gray and rose-colored granite, and complete with temples and baths.

We drove back, had a delayed shower - no water for a bit - and then went to dinner at the hotel restaurant. Good meal! As we sat down a group (4) of Inca musicians began to play Andean music and it was very good. We bought a CD of their music. We went back to the room to finish this log and try to send it off on one of the town’s two internets.

Hotel: Incaland Hotel Meals: B, L, D

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