Checkout completed, we walked the 20 minutes down to Ollantaytambo train station to catch a collectivo back to Cusco. The train station is your best chance to get to Cusco as the collectivos leaving from the market usually just go as far as Urubamba. Once the collectivo was full up, we drove off to Cusco and got there just two hours later. Drivers give you the option to get of at Plaza San Francisco or at Av Grau. San Francisco is a two minute walk away from Plaza de Armas and closer to most of the hostals in the Centro Historico.
A whole lot of stairs and hilly streets later, we arrived at Hostal Qolqampata and got a room right next to the entrance and reception. We should really have asked to be moved to a room upstairs which would have been a lot quieter during the night and the wee morning hours. The room is tiny, and the bathroom not even big enough for a twirl, but the pressure and temperature of the shower are great.
Not really being able to spend a lot of time in Cusco, we just followed the Lonely Planet’s walking tour around town. The cathedral and churches around Plaza de Armas all charge an entrance fee, so we just gave them a miss considering we’d seen plenty already on our trip that were free. Lunch consisted of some less than mediocre empanadas from a bakery.
The highlight of our tour was definitely Qorikancha which isn’t actually part of the layed out walking tour. The entrance fee is 15 soles and includes the Monasterio de Santa Catalina. A number of guides will offer you their services outside the entrance. However, the descriptions and introductory writings in the first hall are sufficient for information making a guide an unnecessary expense. We visited Monasterio de Santa Katalina straight after and finished our walking tour on Plaza de Armas.
In need for a drink we headed back up the hill to a place called “Limbus”. It’s a restobar with international food and amazing views. Their local craft beer “Zenithe”, a porter, is only ten soles per large glass. We didn’t try the food as we had already decided to go to “Pachapapa” on Plaza San Blas for dinner in the evening.
Plaza San Blas is an idyllic, romantic little square – a lot less touristy than Armas. Pachapapa is a cute, charming restaurant with a courtyard on the southside of the square. We both chose dishes prepared in their clay oven. The roast pork I had was delicious. The best and juiciest pork I’ve ate in a long time. Brian’s oxtail stew, a first for both of us, came beautifully presented and tasted just as great.
Tomorrow we’re getting on a flight to Lima which marks the last destination of our holiday.