Thursday, June 30, 2011

Peru Part I: Being Lazy in Urubamba, or, Toilet Telephones

After I did the recaps from the Galapagos trip (you can find them all here), I was South America trip recap burned out. It's hard to really talk about a trip without sounding trite and cliche, but this trip was incredible. I loved the Galapagos, but Peru, and specifically Machu Picchu, really charmed me. From the history to the natural beauty it was simply stunning. After a quick night in the hotel in Lima, we were up bright and early to hop a short one hour flight to Cusco. The incredible thing about flying into Cusco is that it is at such a high elevation, with towering mountains on top of that. You can actually see snow covered mountain tops popping up out of the clouds while you're at cruising altitude.

What's up, mountain?

 As usual, we were given a big ol' box of goodies to eat and a drink, even on a 57 minute flight. Get it together, every American airline. South America has nicer planes, friendlier staff, and food all over the place. Come on now.

Upon landing in Cusco, we hung out in the lounge while our guide, Joaquin, told us what we'd be doing over the next few days. In the interest of staving off altitude sickness (especially since we just came from sea level) I had the second of what would be four cups of coca tea that day. They made it with fresh leaves, compared to the tea bag I had at the hotel in Lima that morning.
Totally delicious, and scientifically proven to work. Also, illegal in America.
We left the airport and headed out on a two hour drive to our hotel for the night. The drive was beautiful, and after a week of sun and water activity, plus a day of airplane travel, it was nice to just sit back and look at some beautiful scenery.

 Halfway to our hotel, we broke up the drive by stopping at an open air market. Bobby and I are not kitschy souvenir buyers, so we just wandered around checking things out, looking for a vendor selling food.
 We found a woman selling huge cobs of white corn with fresh white cheese. Bingo!
 This was crazy delicious. I'm not even the biggest fan of corn and I was singing its praises for a few days.

We hopped back in the car and continued on our merry way to our hotel for the night, the Tambo del Inka
in the little town of Urubamba. It was gorgeous, but strangely empty. We got there around 3 p.m., and the entire evening was devoted to chilling out and catching our breath a bit. I was thankful for the scheduled down time. We had an early dinner/late lunch that was incredible.
Yay food!

This mushroom risotto haunts my dreams, taunting me with the knowledge that I can never eat it again
I had my 3rd and 4th cups of coca tea at dinner- this is when I started to realize that it will make you speedy. After dinner we all kind of went our separate ways. Bobby's parents and his sister and brother-in-law went off for naps, and we headed out to explore the place. My pupils were dilated like saucers and my heart was racing from all the coca tea, so a nap was out of the question for me, anyway. But yay no altitude sickness!
Lobby action

More lobby (this was taken before dinner while we were filling out passport paperwork and such)

I loved these columns. And the fireplace was incredible
 We knew we wanted to check out the pool and hot tub, but we also knew that after doing so we would crash into bed for the night. We made ourselves walk around the grounds first, and I'm glad we did. The hotel is right on the Urubamba river, and it was the rainy season, so everything was green and happy.

Bobby's parents in the window :)

We headed back inside as the sun started to set so we could visit the pool. The following pictures are a bit blurry because the flash washed everything out, so I turned it off. We spent about an hour in the pool/spa area, jumping from pool to pool like kids. I'm glad we didn't let our exhaustion get the better of us or else we would have missed out. Bonus- we wore our stinky, funky Galapagos swimsuits in the chlorinated, very hot water. Ta-da! Totally clean.
 Half of this pool was inside, the other half was outside. You could swim under that window to the right and be out on the deck. It was a bit too cool for that, though, so we headed downstairs to check out the hot tubs.
 Between all the different pools, the wooden platform, and the random cold bath I felt like I was back in one of my favorite places on earth- the Japanese onsen. Not quite as awesome, but almost.
 The hot tubs, aka "our washing machines". What can I say, we have no shame.
 We decided that the water had rejuvenated us enough for some night time socializing, so we headed back to the room to change clothes. The dining room, still empty, was all ready for dinner time.
 This was one of the bars, and to the right there was a wall of windows overlooking a porch, that was hanging out over the river. This clinched our decision to change and come back. Plus, we were a bit hungry and who doesn't want another opportunity to eat on vacation?
 All in all it was a nice afternoon and evening of down time, and we found ourselves back in our room exhausted by the very early hour of 10 p.m. Although I'm still wondering- why was there a phone in the bathroom?? Mysteries.


  1. Awesome! Love the photos. Can't wait to go to Peru. My husband has been, twice (in fact he lived there for two years once), but I've yet to go. It's on the itinerary though for sure!

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