I suppose it was somewhat ironic that, after days of trekking up the steep slopes and precipitous peaks of the Andes on the Inca Trail, Danielle tripped over minutes after getting off the return bus to Cusco. To add to the irony, it was on a disabled ramp on the pavement. She went flying, and it might have been quite funny had she not emitted a genuinely pained squawk as she hit the ground. She'd hurt her foot, and the next morning it was in real pain.
We spent some time Googling foot injuries, but to Danielle's seeming disappointment it was neither broken or sprained, just very sore. As we've got travel insurance, we considered visiting a doctor, but Danielle thought she'd wait and see how it was the next day before opting for this.
The upshot of all this is that we spent another three days in Cusco after returning from the Inca Trail. My Machu Picchu review will be up soon, but immediately after finishing the trail we spent a couple of days in the neighbouring tourist town of Aguas Calientes. This is essentially a tourist satellite orbitting the massive star of Machu Picchu, and it doesn't hide its purpose, being absolutely packed full of restaurants, cafes, souvenir stands, and people urging you to visit these. But I found it oddly charming too. During the Inca Trail, our guide Flavio had mentioned that UNESCO would like to get rid of Aguas Calientes, as it was out of keeping with the ancient Inca settlements that otherwise filled the area. Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but I think it would be rather a shame. It was apparent that Aguas Calientes has already developed something of a community feel, with its own church, school, and stadium. And while it might not win awards for architectural excellence, the main part was based around a cute square with a slightly preposterous statue of the Inca king Pachacuti in the middle. And regardless of how tacky you might have thought the town, there is no doubt that the scenery was astonishing. Sheer peaks rose from all sides - Aguas Calenties is in a beautiful part of the world.
Back in Cusco, and with Danielle's foot in pain, we just took things easy. On our first night back, we met with two of the guys from the Inca Trail, Richard and Thomas (English and Swiss respectively) for some drinks (and got drunk far too easily - I blame the altitude), and with Richard again the following lunchtime. Otherwise, we slowly walked around, drank coffee, ate food, and took it easy. We opted to become uber-tourists with the open-top red bus for some easy-going sightseeing.
And happily, although still sore, Danielle's foot is on the mend. So much so that we now find ourselves in Nazca, after a 15 hour overnight journey. After the mixed weather of Cusco, it's safe to say that Nazca is HOT. It is a desert after all. We are here, of course, for the Nazca Lines, my next Wonder, and we have booked a 6-seater plane to give us a fly-by view tomorrow morning.