We were met by a taxi that had been sent by Hotel Espana. We drove through a deserted part of Lima to the hotel. Apparently, the hotel was able to take a reservation, but not keep a reservation, having no double or single room for us. However, they did find rooms, but not before offering us a triple room, one with three beds! As we walked across the patio and breakfast area, we saw something moving in a distance. It might have been a cat, but it was a tortoise.
The next morning we ate breakfast outdoors and saw the tortoises—there were several—again. After breakfast we went to the city square and walked around for awhile. Then Bruce and Marcia took what was listed at a three-hour tour of the city. Dick was left on his own for the day. The tour actually lasted five hours, but included many interesting sights, even to Miraflores, a lovely suburb of Lima. We had dinner at a small café down the street from the hotel.
On the second day, we all went to the Gold Museum and the Museum of the Inquisition.
On the third day, we flew to Cusco, leaving very early in the morning for the airport. However our flight was cancelled because of poor weather in Cusco. We eventually left at around 10 a.m. We found a taxi at the airport to take us to Hotel Eureka where we had reservations. It is a lovely hotel. We were offered coca tea on arrival to help alleviate our altitude sickness. We took the rest of the day off, sleeping and watching TV. The next morning, we had breakfast of scrambled eggs and ham, with fresh rolls and good fruit and coffee that was made by adding hot water to a coffee concentrate. The coffee was not good, or at least not what we liked, so a search for a coffee place downtown was in order. After breakfast, we went downtown Cusco, down the hill, to look for coffee and an ATM machine. We found both on the square. We found a travel agent and booked a tour of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. We explored downtown Cusco, returned to the hotel for a “lie down” and then returned to the main square for dinner.
Next day we took a tour of the Sacred Valley, which included the Sunday at Pisac and the Ollantaytambo.
On the next day we took the early morning train to Agua Calientes, which is the jumping off place for Machu Picchu. We had made reservations for Hotel Adela and we were met at the train station by a woman holding a Hotel Adela placard. She showed us to a hotel that was not the Adela, but we took it anyway. The next morning we were shown to breakfast at Hotel Adela, which was a much better hotel. We asked, and were given rooms there for the next night. During the rest of the day we explored Agua Calientes and booked bus transportation for the next day to Macchu Picchu. We had dinner the first night at a charming café overlooking the rapidly flowing river. Both Bruce and Dick tried alpaca, which they said was very good.
Machu Picchu was breathtaking. We joined an English speaking tour (booked in advance) and were well rewarded with a complete explanation. Seeing this place and being there was the main reason for going on the trip, but the rest of the sightseeing and experiences were so rewarding and exciting, as well. The customs, dress, and history were so interesting to us. Much of our time was spent sitting at cafes, over coffee (or beer for the men), watching the people go by. A very relaxing trip.
On the third day, we left Agua Calientes on the afternoon train to go back to Cusco. There was a style show of Peruvian clothes during the trip. Also, the scenery of the Andes was beautiful. When we arrived back in Cusco, we went to Hotel Eureka again, where we stayed three more days in Cusco. All of us used the Internet Cafes to get our email. Marcia called home several times, using her cell phone, and found out later how much it really costs to do this.
When back in Cusco, we explored even further, including churches and museums, as well as a local market, just up the hill from the hotel. The vendors were surprised to see us. We had dinner on the second story of the buildings on the square—good food and very inexpensive. Several times we ate at the Witches’ Garden, a restaurant just up the narrow little street from our hotel.
We left one day for further exploration of Lima, arriving two nights before Bruce and Marcia had to leave for home. Again, we stayed at Hotel Espana. During the day we went to a photo exhibition of Hiram Bingham’s explorations of Machu Picchu in the early 1900s. On the last evening we had a lovely dinner at L’eau Vie, a French restaurant run by an order of nuns who minister to the poor in Lima. At 9 p.m. two of the nuns sang Ave Maria – beautiful voices! Later that evening, Bruce and Marcia left for the airport. The flight left at 1 a.m.
Before Bruce and Marcia went home we were wandering around the Plasa de Armas in Lima.
A police officer was patrolling with his Doberman. I asked if I could take their picture and he said yes so I took a picture. I showed the officer the picture in the back of the camera and then thanked him and shook hand. He then said something to the dog and the dog offered a paw to shake with me!! There was nobody around to take a picture of me shaking hands with the dog. DAMN!
We then wandered into the Aero Club De Peru where I took a lot of pictures of an early airplane. Later I saw one like it on a pedestal at the naval air museum.
After Bruce and Marcia left for home leaving me to wander as I saw fit, a lady taxi driver named Vanessa drove me around for a day. First we went to a fort on the coast and toured it. There were many cases of swords. It looked as though every officer that was ever in the navy had donated his sword.
We then went to a naval museum with a lot of interesting models. Photography did not work out inside though.
Next was the naval aircraft museum. There were lots of interesting old planes and early experiments that failed. Most interesting. Not to be missed if planes interest you.
Next was the museum that interested me the most. The NICOLINI Automotive museum at Av. La Molina Cdra. 9. The restoration work is just beautiful!
The next day I had a ticket on the once-a-month train from Lima to Huancayo but somehow I managed to confuse myself and missed the train. Plan B, take a bus. When I arrived at the bus station in Huancayo I was met by Lucho and taken to his hotel, Casa de Abuela. I had a good dinner across the street at La Cabana then went back to the hotel and went to bed.
The next morning Lucho took a lady from Canada, a lady from France and myself on a tour of Huancayo and the surrounding area.
On our way to the town that was having a market we saw a street dance. We stopped to watch and the French lady was invited into the dance.
Then we were on to the animal market. By the time we got there most of the days business had been done, and pickups were loaded with animals. Butchering was done on the spot.
Next we went up the hill to the town. We watched a lunch being cooked in a stone fireplace using hot rocks. We later returned to enjoy this meal.
A walk through the market showed us all kinds of food and services. I really enjoyed watching the blacksmith at work.
Then I was on to a town where they carve and decorate gourds. A family there was preparing a meal like the one at the market only they used a pit rather than a fireplace. Then we went back to Huancayo.
Lucho arranged a swap of my Lima to Huancayo train ticket for a Huancayo to Lima ticket. A lady named Leslie met Lucho and I at the station and swapped the tickets for me and then showed me to my seat, a bulkhead seat with lots of legroom by a window. On the trip she and the other two ladies and the two men on the crew went out of their way to make sure that I was comfortable and did not want anything. I think Lucho had some influence there.
After I returned to Lima I took a bus to Huaraz where I stayed at the Hotel Schatzi with the interesting courtyard.
I took a tour that went up the valley to the glacier fed Lake Chinancocha at over 12,000 ft. elevation.
The next day the travel agent took me on a tour of some of the things around Huaraz.
Last but not least, back to Lima for a couple days then a LONG flight
back to Minneapolis.