Early morning – luggage outside room at 6am, board the bus at 7am for a ride to the Jorge Chavez airport to catch a flight to Cusco. 35 people were on our tour – mostly families with kids ranging from 11 to 21. There was one other group of just adults – 4 women from California. The flight was just an hour and because Derek and I have different last names, apparently the airline ticketing agent just couldn’t figure out to sit us next to each other. No worries – this gave us both an opportunity to meet some of our fellow travelers. I had a window seat and the views of the mountains were stunning:
We arrived in Cusco and there was a man frantically taking pictures of individuals in our group as we headed to the bus (not with AbD). We would see him later in the trip. We got onboard two mini-buses and headed to our first destination – a weaving cooperative center in Chinchero (around 11,000ft).
Lunch was delicious – we had guacamole, ceviche, chicken in quinoa, alpaca, and Chicha Morada (a local sweet drink made from corn). Alpaca apparently is a staple for Peruvians – it tasted differently depending on preparation, but was probably closest to beef or lamb.
Then they gave their weaving instruction – apparently the lead woman was featured on National Geographic. They use drop spinning to create the yarn from alpaca and sheep wool:
They also showed us the colors they can create (which they create from natural elements including beetles – although using natural dyes is fairly recent for them), set up the warp threads, and use a back loom to create their scarves and other woven goods.
They also had the traditional bulls on their roofs – one is a prosperity bull. I think the other may be a fertility bull. These little fellows were on just about every roof top.
Then we piled back in our mini-buses and headed to Urubamba. On the way, we stopped for some great pics of the mountains and glaciers around:
and took some pics of Urubamba on the way down:
We drove through Urubamba to arrive at our resort for the next 4 nights – Sol y Luna. This was literally like a little slice of heaven – nestled in the mountains, beautiful flowers, quaint casitas.
We got showered and dressed for the evening’s festivities – a welcome drink and a Pachamanca (Peruvian feast celebration). Sunset was beautiful:
The evening began with Pisco Sours which were delicious. I had tasted one before and not particularly liked it – but these were made just perfect. And they were served with two amazing appetizers – more ceviche and some alpaca on potatos.
For the Pachamanca – they prepare the food in a pit – throw the food on heated rocks, toss some herbs and broth on top. And they have an honorary couple that bless the food – putting a cross of flowers at the top of the pit and then spraying beer all over the food. We were the lucky couple chosen 🙂
While our meal cooked, we were treated to a performance of the Sol Y Luna Theatre – it was something about the gods, but it was all in Spanish – so I have to say, it was more impressionistic to me. Sadly, the food itself was a bit disappointing to me (only one of two meals that felt that way to me the whole trip). There were some enormous corn kernels – that got me super excited – but they ended up being dry and bland. Unfortunately, the pieces of meat that I chose were mostly gristle or tough. Derek’s were better.
We returned to our casita to find that they had put hot water bottles in our beds to help provide warmth. These were like magic water bottles – as they kept their heat for a long time. Here are the chippies paying homage to the magic water bottle:
We turned in, and got ready for the next day.