The moment we had settled in to the colectivo I let out a giant @#$%!
I had forgotten my tights. My most favourite lulu lemon tights. The tights I was suppose to wear on our upcoming ascent of Machu Pichu the next day. I could picture them basking in the sunny courtyard of our hostel where I left them to dry as I smugly gave myself a pat on the back for being so resourceful and thrifty. I’m an idiot.
Jill gave me a look that fully endorsed this sentiment. I continued to panic, frantically trying to remember how to string words together in Spanish and ask our driver if I had enough time to run the few blocks back to the hostel.
We calculated that I had a 30 min window. Being the good sister that she is, Jill agreed to join me on my rescue mission as my navigator (had I of gone it alone I would probably still be there, wandering the winding streets of Cusco, looking for my tights).
‘Running’ at an altitude of 3400 m quickly turns into a ‘yogging’, or better still a brisk stumble.
Jill and I ran moved somewhat quickly through the Plaza de Armas, the focal point of the city. As the springboard of trekking Machu Picchu, Cusco itself is a beautiful, bustling hub of activity. We had spent the past 48 hours searching its winding alleyways for souvenirs while our bodies acclimatized to the elevation.
We stayed in Cusco’s Pariwana hostel a few blocks south from the centre of town. Set in an old colonial building, we had enjoyed relaxing in it’s sunny courtyard sipping coca tea, a herbal tea made with raw leaves from the coca plant. Ten excruciating minutes later, we arrived back at that same courtyard to find my tights right where I had left them.
Have you ever left something valuable behind during your travels? Tell me your horror story to make me feel better about myself…
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR THE WANDERING SOUL
Cusco’s Pariwana hostel (Av Menson de la Estrella 136) boasts reasonably priced rooms, free wifi, breakfast and a fun restaurant/bar to boot. Also consider staying at Hostal Los Ninos (Meloc 442), a clean and bright hostel with all proceeds going to the Ninos Unidos Peruanos Foundation to support street children in Cusco.
The temperature drops significantly at night, especially at high altitude places such as Cusco (3400 m) and La Paz (4000m). Be sure to pack a warm base layer, and a good pair of warm socks (a nice pair of merino wool socks is a splurge you will never regret).
Given the ambitious pace of our itinerary, we had all decided to bring and take altitude pills in hopes of lessening the effects of the elevation. One strange side effect was an intense tingling sensation I experiences in my hands, feet and even my nose at one point. The slower you can travel, the better; taking buses when possible, and staying multiple at one elevation (Cusco) before moving onto the next (Aguas Callientes). Also, drink LOTS of water to avoid dehydration.
Do be clever and save your sols by hand washing laundry. Just don’t forget them drying in the sun when you’re done…
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