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Back to Cusco & Rainbow Mountain

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Last day in Cusco with Alli... Talk about bittersweet! We had a nice day to take it easy, walk around a bit, and of course get in some of our favourite.. Tourist shopping.
We enjoyed one last morning with our great hostel view.


Another walk through Cusco's Plaza de Armas..


Then walked to San Pedro Market and bought any last things we wanted to have. Which I am pleased to say all fit in Alli's backpack. What a great friend taking my things home for me! :)
Cusco is a really beautiful city. This is a viewpoint that we found on our pre-trek day in Cusco...


We spent the rest of our outing eating ice cream, then chocolate (and chocolate liqueur!) at the Museo Cacao, and coffee at Museo Café.


After our last supper of pizza and wine together, we continued to drink wine on the patio and then inside at our hostel. A few last wonderful hours with wine and good company, what more do you need!?
Alli left at about 2:30am which in hindsight was a good thing... For me. Disoriented, sleepy Ellie is not a weepy Ellie. I was sad to wake-up later and know she was gone but happy to look back at our amazing two weeks.

I had a lazy morning before deciding I had better do something with my day. So another girl from the hostel, Shaza of Singapore, and I decided to check out the salt mines. Best decision. They are so cool. From far away they look like white honeycombs in the middle of the mountain valley.


Getting closer we can see local people harvesting the salt.


And walk along the edge to see all the different coloured pools.


We were able to taste some different flavoured salts, some salted chocolate, and do a little shopping before the ride back to the hostel.
I had a little down time, well used to catch up on blogging! And then had dinner with Shaza.
The quieter pace of the two days in Cusco was a great idea for me as I either have residual effects from altitude or have caught another cold. I also had another early morning looming. As in a 2:15am pick-up! Off to Rainbow Mountain I went.
I was able to sleep most of the three hour ride to the start of the days hike. The group (which included an American couple, two American guys, a Brazilian girl and two guides) had breakfast in a local families house at the start before setting off. I was a bit nervous for this one due to sickness as well as the altitude; a planned climb to over 5000m. But it went ok. Slow and steady wins the race man! I was successful on my first solo hike! It took about 2 & 1/2 hours to make the typical 3 hr climb. And I even finished the last leg with fellow Canadians (from Vancouver) that I visited with along the way! It didn't take long before I had zero regrets about the super early pick-up. We were one of the first groups up there and we actually only had about 15 minutes to look at Rainbow Mountain (Properly called Vinicunca by the locals) before fog rolled in. I would have been so disappointed to have been even a little bit slower in the climb! Would have missed this...


We climbed to the highest point, ~5050m is now my new personal record, and waited a bit to see what the fog would do. It only got worse, not better. But the top had a good view of mountains on the opposite side..


When it got colder and windy we headed off on the descent. Where we were also lucky. The mountains along the walk up that had been foggy were now clear! We got to enjoy these colourful, unique landscapes as well!


Then back to the same house for a delicious local lunch. Which we enjoyed in perfect timing in shelter from the rain that just started as we finished. All in all it wasn't the best weather day for Rainbow Mountain, but we had the best tour that was possible on this day and I was left feeling incredibly grateful for that.
After the ride back to Cusco I got dropped off a the bus station for my first solo night bus. Off to the Amazon!

Posted by elliehirch 12:19 Archived in Peru

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