Thursday was to prove to be a bit of a gruelling day's travelling!
Firstly a quick aside about the changes to this journey we had been informed beforehand. This was listed as a 6 hour bus journey in a tourist bus with stops for lunch and to see some sights. A month before we left we were told that it was now up to around 8 or 9 hours but what the heck - it was an adventure. A few days before we left Joanna at Audley called me to say that the bus was now taking around 10 hours so they were looking at options. To cut a not so long story shorter she called me later to say that we would now have a private transfer at no extra cost to us and it would stop at the sites as we wished - all sounded great. Anyway......
We were met at the hotel at 6.30 (our favourite time of day on holiday!) by Carmen and a big 18 seat minibus. We all climbed in and I made a throwaway comment about it being a big bus just for us and carmen replied "well it's just to the bus station....". I pointed out the error of her ways and I could see she honestly didn't know about the change. She was very apologetic about it all but she was actually great. There was a problem and she fixed it - within 25 minutes we had a private vehicle to take us to Cusco! I don't know where they found Raul at that time of the morning but he was great and we set off.
This had never been a 6 hour drive! Google maps said 6.15 with no traffic and no stops and it took us an hour to get out of Puno alone. It took about 8.15 hours to do the journey but we did see an incredible inca temple and a Catholic Church that they call their own Sisteen Chapel that was completely over the top. The stunning Andean scenery we were getting accustomed as we'd been spoiled with even more stunning views previously. Raul, our driver, was great and looked after us really well.
Our Tierra Viva hotel in Cusco was nicer than the others being built into an old colonial house with some inner courtyards and situated only 2 blocks from the main square. After being greeted by the Audley rep and having our rafting briefing we ventured out for dinner. We were recommended to an excellent restaurant called Modena that was only let down by the service. The setting and decor was lovely, my main course of pork belly on a bed of quinoa and rice risotto was probably the best of the holiday for me and our Pisco Sours were made from a trolley by our table. Unfortunately we had to ask more than once for someone to take our order and we would have had desert but gave up by then.