Train and coach to Cuzco
05.04.2015 - 05.04.2015 16 °C
Had a very relaxed morning as our train wasn't leaving until 1.37 pm, so after breakfast we did a recce to the station so we'd know where to go later. We wandered around the town centre taking photos and went into the local church and found a statue of a black Jesus.
We did some shopping in the local markets and raced back to the hotel to check out by 11.00 am. We then had a couple of hours to kill until the train departed, so we walked through the markets again. It is now raining quite heavily. Thank goodness the markets are covered. We had a juice at a small cafe and watched the passing parade. Fascinating!
Of course, everything with Scenic is First Class, so instead of waiting on the platform for our train, we had our own private waiting room. As Amparo was handing out our seat allocations, she was advised that we had a carriage all to ourselves and we had free seating, so we all sat facing the way we were going! The train left precisely at 1.37 pm! In a country where you wait a while for service etc, the planes and trains leave precisely when they are supposed to. Quite amazing!
Train travel is so relaxing and we just love it. We were given a small sandwich and a drink and then the fun started! This guy came dancing down the aisle and started dancing with the women and posing for photos. Then the Peru Rail staff conducted a fashion parade of all the beautiful Alpaca clothes they sell. They looked really nice on the model but I don't think anyone bought anything.
Before long we were disembarking at Ollentaytambo and the group was divided into three and we boarded mini buses for the two hour ride to Cusco. It wasn't too bad driving along, chatting and looking at the scenery. We stopped after about an hour just to stretch our legs but it was also a photo opportunity. Where isn't in this country!
Before too long we were driving through the streets of Cusco and eventually arrived at our hotel, the Belmond Hotel Monasterio. We entered through this huge wooden door and were confronted by this scene. My goodness! Then we were served a refreshing drink by this guy. They closed the big wooden door and as it was Easter Sunday, I thought we wouldn't be let out until we had been converted! Only joking!
Actually, if we didn't know it was Easter, you certainly wouldn't know it here. There is no Easter bunny or Easter eggs. They do celebrate a holiday and go to church on Sunday to celebrate the resurrection and then spend time with their families.
We received the keys to our rooms and as we headed off in the direction of our room the Guest Services Manager jumped up and carried our bags and escorted us to our room. That's a bit odd I thought, but then I realised why - we have the best room in the entire hotel. We have our own private courtyard with a fountain, a lounge room, a huge bedroom and a huge bathroom with a bath and blinds that reveal a private garden out the back! I think I have died and gone to heaven! And the best part is we are here for three days.
As we are at a higher altitude now, a small amount of oxygen is pumped into the rooms. We haven't been affected at all by altitude sickness, but a lot of the others have, in varying degrees.
After settling in, we went down to the bar for a snack and as Amparo had warned us, the helpings were huge. We ordered one club sandwich for two and it was more than enough food. We had dinner with Bryon and Annie and John and Sharon. Their rooms are quite small and no one else seems to have a bath. Lucky me.
This is some of the art work in our room.
Into bed and floated away on the magnificent goose down pillows.