Sunday, November 14, 2010

Last Few Days in Peru

We got up early Wednesday (4:30am) for our second visit to Machu Picchu.  We were really fortunate with the weather, beautiful clear skies and quite warm.  We spent another five hours taking photos and exploring and then took the bus back to town for lunch.  The ruins are amazingly well preserved and it is easy to imagine people living in the city.  They must have been very fit and nimble because it is a bit hazardous climbing the stone stairways!

Wednesday afternoon we took the train back to Ollataytamba and then a taxi to Pisac, a lovely little quaint town in the Sacred Valley. We stayed at Pisac Inn, which is right on tthe town square, excellent accomodation, and exceptional food. When we got up Thursday the entire town square had been converted into a huge market. We spent the rest of the morning perusing the market buying alpaca clothing, tapestries and some gorgeous silver jewelry. Everything was hand made by local Andean craft people in the surrounding mountains.

Thursday afternoon we took a taxi back to Cusco, a pretty big city at 3,400 meters (11,160 feet). Fortunately we had already been at 7-9,000 feet in the Sacred valley and Machu Picchu so the altitude was a little easier to handle. We had been given a tip from one of the girls at Pisac Inn to go to a restaurant called Chi Cha. It was started by the number one rated chef in Peru. We did find it and the food was superb. John selected a dish that was spicier and hotter than he normally eats, and is still paying the price! After dinner we wandered around the city square and dodged the many vendors trying to sell hats, sweaters and engraved gourds. (We had plenty of these already.) There were also many offers for massages which we also managed to avoid!

Friday we flew to Lima and after a quick rest decided to venture out. Sara likes Ceviche, and we had received a tip from a guest in Pisac for a restaurant. Sometimes these tips are the best; in this case we should have stayed in the hotel! Traffic in Lima is a disaster and after a death defying hour of dodging collisions, and being poisoned by car fumes we arrived at Punta Azul - Closed! A waiter there gave us a tip for another restaurant which was just fine, but probably not worth the assault on our nerves to get there! It took us about an hour and a half to get back, and John sitting in the front seat said it was far worse up close! Have to say Lima is not our favorite city, however we loved Peru!

We are currently in Buenos Aires, having spent a lovely day with a KPMG colleague of Sara´s. Pilar was kind enough to spend all afternoon showing us around the city, and helping us translate the food menus. We had a fabulous steak, which we would never have ordered correctly without help!

Click here for Photos!

Tomorrow we fly to El Calafante, and then drive to El Chaltan for the start of our two weeks in Patagonia. We will be hiking and camping for almost a week, and are really looking forward to being in the mountains.

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