Read on as I travel from the city of Lima to The Sacred Valley.
It’s been a while since the last post but I’ve got some wonderful stories to share during our visit to Peru!
After an optional city tour of Lima, guided by one of our tour managers Anna Sophia, we officially started the 9-day Contiki global media fam trip at a kick-off meeting with our Tour Manager, Brent (the same guy you’ve probably seen in our Contiki South America brochure.) He’s responsible for all the operations in South America, so we are definitely in capable hands.
Brent walked through our itinerary and the hotel served us with Peru’s national drink, the Pisco Sour – an interesting combination of Pisco (a Peru-only type of brandy), lime juice, sugar, and egg whites. That’s right – egg whites! It comes out frothy on top, undoubtedly because of the egg whites, and I likened the taste to a frothy margarita because of the lime juice.
The next morning, bright and early, our group headed towards the Lima airport to make our way to Cusco, a city that sits 12,000 feet above sea level – so there was a little bit of worry about altitude sickness. The best advice they gave us was to drink lots of water and to make sure that we were doing deep breathing exercises and eating light.
The plane ride from Lima to Cusco was merely an hour and we immediately made our way off the plane, on to our coach, where we met our Cusco and Machu Picchu guide, Gaby. We drove down to a wonderful restaurant (Sal Y Pimienta), where we had a three course lunch. Did I keep track of lunch? Of course I did! I had a wonderful soup, the bistec, and Jell-O dessert that reminded me of Inka Cola, a Peruvian soft drink the color of electric yellow. It was absolutely delicious!
After lunch we descended from Cusco down to Pisac, a region known for two important aspects of Incan culture: terracing – a farming technique created by the Incas, and their religion. But first, we went to an alpaca farm where they keep alpacas and llamas for their wool. We got up close and personal with the animals and even fed them! A few of our media people even got to ride a llama. We checked out all of the alpaca wool and the different alpaca wool products before heading out.
Afterwards, we were given two options: to either visit some Incan Ruins and then hike down the mountain and end up in Pisac Market, or just visit the ruins, then take the bus down to the market. I naturally chose the former and we decided to make the hour-long trek overlooking the valley. The sights were absolutely incredible! As the mountains captured the sunlight reflecting off the greenery, the whole entire area seemed to come to life.
The hike was not too strenuous but I was nervous at times when we walked down the very steep stone rocks. We met up with the group that had opted out of the hike, and we headed straight to our hotel, a beautiful colonial home built in 1810 in the quaint village of Yucay. We observed the “Pachamanka,” a traditional cooking technique where meat and vegetables are cooked in the earth. The process seemed to go by fairly quickly and after all was said and done, it only took 35 minutes cook time to get some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted!
The day was full and jam-packed full of amazing scenery. I finished the evening in preparations for more exploration of the Sacred Valley (on horseback!)
Stay tuned for the next installment!