Between an overnight bus ride from Lake Titicaca and the 4 day Inca Trail hike, we spent a few days relaxing in Cuzco. Unfortunately for us, the bus ride wasn't completely "overnight," arriving at about 4am (well before our hotel was open). This left us homeless for a few hours, so what else to do but get bundled up and play Settlers of Catan under the street lamps in an historic square? Alex's victory was that much sweeter with the sun rising over the Andes and the hotel's doors-- finally-- opening up for us.
With over 400,000 people, this is a real mountain city in addition to being the highly touristy jumping off point for Machu Picchu. We (unexpectedly) had some great Indian food, but also learned from an old local how to properly chew Coca leaves for the right effect. Hint: find lipta. We bought a big enough sack to attract DEA attention for about 50 cents at the local farmer's market. It works.
We did take a steep walk up the valley's wall to a point overlooking the city just as a rainstorm was coming in. The altitude combined with the brisk climb left Carla with some real altitude sickness but the view was stunning.