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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Peruvian Adventure 2016 - First Day in Cusco

Our plane landed at 8am in Cusco. After landing, we quickly felt more and more like outsiders. We could not read any signs and could not speak the language. Plus, we did not have confirmed transport from the airport to our hotel. Yikes!

As we wandered through the airport, we were hounded by people trying to "help" us find our way. We, as politely as we could, said no gracias, and continued walking. We found baggage claim and a bathroom, trying to take care of necessities while waiting for our bags.

Once we had our bags, we walked to the taxi sign and asked for a ride to our hotel. Thankfully, the lady at the counter spoke English, and we were off. Our driver spoke a little English and tried to point out the sites on our 25 minute drive into Cusco, after giving some random Peruvian a ride downtown with us. We always find it interesting to see new places from a car or on foot, really helps us feel like we are exploring it.

At the hotel, the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, we tried to check-in. Since we were super early (~8:30am), our planned room was not ready yet. When I asked if there was somewhere we could stow our bags, they decided to upgrade us to a room with a terrace overlooking the courtyard. Gotta love platinum status with Marriott! Needless to say, the room was outstanding! We had an awesome bed, rainfall shower, a separate soaker tub, and an awesome little terrace!

We got settled and took a shower. It felt so great getting clean following almost a day of travel.

After our shower, we met Christian, our guide for the Inca Trail, for a short briefing on what to expect. It was nice to be able to ask someone questions about what we were about to experience who has done it many times.

Following our briefing, we walked back to the hotel to take a nap. The jet lag and lack of sleep was really affecting me. I know that if I had my hope of enjoying our time in Peru, I needed to get some rest.

The nap was awesome! For better or worse, we were awoken part way through for a "platinum thank you" snack. We got to try some Inka Cola, which tastes a lot like cream soda, and four small treats.

After our rest, we wandered around Cusco, seeing some of the sights and taking some pictures. The architecture is absolutely beautiful. Additionally, I am always amazed how people know what to do driving on the small narrow streets.

Back at the hotel, we joined the tour of the hotel. The JW Marriott is only three and a half years old and is built on top of an old Inca palace and Spanish convent. The details and what was preserved are breathtaking. With it being a historic site, no heavy machinery was used in the construction of the hotel. Also, in the basement, the Marriott left some of the old architecture in tact, creating a mini-museum on pre-Inca, Inca, and Spanish architecture. It was a really cool history lesson.

Following the tour, we had dinner at the restaurant within the Marriott. I had lomo saltado and Kari had sweet potato ravioli with prawns. Super delicious! Plus our waiter, Raul, was pretty fantastic!

We closed the evening relaxing and preparing for our tour of the Sacred Valley!

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