Travel Diary: Peru Day 1 + 2

After a crazy busy bridal market, it was time to relax, unwind and become inspired by the beauty of Peru.  Come along with me for the ride! 

Day one: Pascal and I arrived in Cusco, the ancient Incan capital, bright and early Sunday morning. After a 2 hour drive through the mountains, we arrived at our first stop, the breathtaking town of Urabamba in the Sacred Valley.

Our hotel room has glorious views of the mountains and the gardens are filled with magnificent varieties of fuchsia .

After a quick breakfast, our guide, local man Albero who spoke fluent English, and our driver Juan took us to visit the sanctuary of Ollantaytambo. It's one of the finest Archaeological complexes in Peru.

On the way we drove by those crazy pods that Pascal wanted us to stay in. They are attached high up on a rock cliff face accessed by some serious rock climbing and exited by zip lining down! “No Way! “

Exploring the ruins was fascinating and Albero had us riveted with the stories and history of the site and the life of his people. It was an exhausting afternoon climbing up through the ruins, which merited soaking the Hotel Spa’s pool and Jacuzzi and an afternoon nap on the pool deck listening to the the Urabamba river rushing by. 

Hundreds of white butterflies filled the air that night with a sumptuous leisurely dinner of local delicacies by an open fire, serenaded by 2 musicians playing the soothing traditional pan pipes.



Day two: This morning Pascal and I boarded the Sacred Valley train (by Belmond Orient Express) from Urabamba up through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu Pueblo.



The 4-hour journey, in the elegantly appointed train with its mahogany, walnut and brass interiors and beautifully upholstered armchairs, has curved glass windows in the ceiling. This fully benefits from the mesmerizing views, as it meanders up along the Urabamba river. 

Traditional Peruvian pisco sour cocktails were served in the bar car. We mingled with other guests before taking our seats in the sumptuous dining car for a wonderful leisurely 3 course lunch. 

Teas and chocolates were served later in the bar car where the maître D and the chef surprised us, and another couple from Lima, with a small cake to congratulate both couples on our 25th anniversaries. 

The views were spellbinding and no camera could possibly capture the sheer magnitude of the deep valleys and the soaring mountains. We passed through several little villages and farms. The Peruvian women dressed in their traditional vibrantly colored shawls and blankets, topped with tall stiff brimmed hats.

The train rolled into the town Aguas Caliente, Machu Picchu Pueble, which is perched on the edge of the river and butted up against the steep mountain base. It is the base town for the buses that take up to 5000 tourists everyday to the Citadel. 

We were met at the station by the hotel concierge and headed on foot to the Inkaterra Hotel. The hotel is just six minutes through the bustling market that sits just outside the station. It filled hundreds of vibrantly colored souvenir stalls and then along some narrow streets (there are no cars here), the hotel sits in the middle of lush tropical jungle, and is a nature reserve. 

A guided tour of the property revealed insights into healing and medicinal plants, herbs used in the organic kitchens, exotic wild orchids and hundreds of humming birds. A trip to the market was followed by a divine dinner where we made friends with a lovely couple from New York. We then retired to our room to plunge in our hot spring pool and relax in front of a blazing fire!! Woohoo! Tomorrow, we climb Machu Picchu!

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