Upon arrival, a reception and tour of the Larco Herrera Museum was a wonderful testament to Lima as well as pre-Columbian art and artifacts. The visit to the gold/silver, textile and erotic gallery was a unique opportunity to view such a historical collection. The reception included some delicious local appetizers as well as pisco sours. According to our tour experts there is an ongoing competition with Peru and Chile as to the best pisco sours. This will have to be personally researched.
We checked into the Miraflores Hotel and had the most luxurious suite with a private hot rock sauna. Dinner at the Observatory Restaurant had a fabulous views of the ocean from the eleventh floor. Breakfast at the hotel was buffet style with many choices. Personally, I find the scrambled eggs in this area tend to be too loose.
The next morning we boarded a domestic flight to Cusco. We were met by our guides for this part of the voyage. All the guides are well versed in the history of Peru as well as a very solid grasp of the English language.
We arrive into Cusco and make a visit to the Central Plaza and Cathedral. The fountain in the center of the square was a popular photo op. The cathedral was full of rich religious catholic artifacts with a mixture of Inca symbolism. Up a very narrow inca built road was where we checked into a previous jesuit monastery turned resort named Hotel Monasterio. Coca tea was served which is holistic and is touted to help the body adjust to the altitude. Although the rooms were small Wifi was available without charge and the food was amazing.
A short tour to Sacsayhuaman, pronounced as “sexy woman” was a wonderful treat. The tour guide Luis was very knowledgeable and explained the history and ancient building techniques as well as the history of the towns we passed on way to the ruins.
A quick shopping tour was just what was needed as Peru is known for their textiles especially their use of alpaca. The street vendors were many and if you know how to bargain you can get some unique local art, crafts and alpaca goods.
We are now on the way to Matchu Picchu by way of Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is located in the sacred valley of the Incas and has been built on the original Inca foundations. Our guide lead us through the town and explained local/ancient customs which are preserved in this quaint town. This town is a great example of ancient city planning!
Next stop Matchu Picchu via Hiram Bingham luxury train. There was amazing vistas of the countryside wherein llamas, various canines and the foot hikers taking the Inca trail were abundant. Dinning on this luxury train was absolutely delicious and the staff was incredibly accommodating. About a twenty-minute bus ride to Matchu Picchu was awfully intimidating with narrow winding roads which tended to hug the cliffs all the way to our destination. As a side note, throughout the entire country I did not notice one speed limit sign nor traffic lights.
Matchu Picchu was breathtaking. Not much can describe the magnificence. Tours were spilt into a fast and slow group as to accommodate all the guests. We chose the fast tour which allotted time to climb to the top the highest terraces. The history, the environment, the structure, the wildlife was incredible. We learned quit a lot about the ancient civilization through the walking tour. A humorous moment came about as a honoree llama came running through the narrow ancient path towards Karin who had not seen the galloping stranger approaching. Needless to say, she was quite surprised as she was close enough to a furry collision.
After a long day we headed back to the busses which in turn took us back to the train. The secret of this train is that the last train holds a lovely lounge area where a hugely talented band played for us. Let me tell you it did not take much to get us all dancing and playing along with the band. I tried my skill at the tambourine, which was not so bad…after a couple glasses of champagne.
Next stop is Easter Island.