|A nice surprise to find a guide and driver waiting for us in Cusco, ready to drive us to Pisac. Apparently it was included with our flight and hotel bookings but we didn't know about it! Also nice that jet lag won't be a problem for us as there is only an hour difference from home. The altitude is another story. Lima is at sea level and Cusco is at 11,200'. Pisac, at 9800', seemed like a good place to get used to the altitude and begin our exploration of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The drive from Cusco only took about an hour and we checked into our hotel, the Royal Inka, about 2km from town. A great hotel with comfortable rooms, beautiful gardens and even an Olympic size swimming pool. We spent our first afternoon exploring the town and it's market which takes up the entire main square. That night, the rest of us caught up with Dale and tried our first Pisco Sours, mmmmmmmm - Kevin decided he'd be having one every day while in Peru! Next day was our first hike and our first real exposure to the altitude. You can take a taxi right to the archaeological site but we chose to hike up the steps and terraces, about 1000'. We took it slowly (very slowly) as we could all feel the effects of the altitude. It was a spectacular hike with views of the town and surrounding valleys getting better as we got higher. The ruins are spread over a large area and while apparently not as impressive as other sites in the Sacred Valley, the location is incredible, on top of a mountain with 360 degree views. Going down was much easier and we celebrated our first day of hiking with the local Cusquena beer and a great meal at the Pisac Inn. Next stop is Ollantaytambo.