Losing my way slightly I found myself on the longest staircase that I ever climbed. This went up through a fairly impoverished section of the city and groups of dogs eyed me curiously. Alighting at the top a very cheerful man chatted with me and told me to be careful because often the downhill cyclists used the stairs for a super thrill. Eventually I found myself at the site and along the way made friends with Tom a young Australian Biologist taking time of from doctorate studies and making his way through South America.
We really enjoyed the site which is constructed of huge tightly fitting stones forming a fortress comprising of the remains of ramparts that follow the contours of the hills, 300 ton stone and a king's throne.
Climbing the hill and various parts of the site made me realise that I was at least another week away from really strenuous exercise but I have now found a bike shop willing to hire out reasonably equipped Scotts and Giants for about £7.50 a day. I am told there is a group that goes out on Sundays so I will try and make contact and fix up a ride for next week. For now I plan a run in the park or around the Plaza, Saturday before breakfast and then have a day visiting museums and churches.
Returning from the visit Tom and I had expensive (well, 5 soles, less than £1) but very nice coffee in a swish café but we were bothered quite a bit by people trying to sell stuff – even though one politely declines they aways come back with, “well maybe tomorrow sir” – such is the nature of the Cusquenans.
We went our separate ways and shortly I saw a huge group of children in procession around the city centre with lanterns and followed by a cavalcade of cars festooned with balloons - I was told that this was an annual event – it seems that there is some kind of public activity every day. After this I enjoyed watching part of a fast and skillful basket ball game between two university teams in a small stadium off Avenida del Sol, and finally some traditional dance being practiced in the local Plaza near where I live.
I really enjoyed this afternoon. Cuzco is so rich in activities, really friendly and vibrant and so far, seemingly quite safe.