We arrived in Lima late at night, and immediately went to the home of our friends Blake and Sarah Goodfellow. Blake and Sarah moved here a little over a year ago to start up the Peru branch of Krochet Kids. It was so nice to see them again. Our kids picked up right where they left of, and were so thrilled to get to hang out. After a good night’s rest, Mark and the kids went with the Goodfellows to watch their daughter compete in a surf competition, which I stayed back to repack our belongings into smaller bags for our trek to Macchu Picchu the next day. They picked me up around noon, and we headed to the art district to eat lunch and walk around for a bit.
Lima is a really beautiful city. It has a classic European buildings juxtiposed with mid-century architecture, along with remnants of Incan culture. Ancient and modern in one bustling city. We had some of the best food I’ve ever eaten followed by coffee so good it makes you want to slap your local Starubucks barrista.
Lima is a coastal town, which makes it all the more beautiful. The weather was perfect the day we were there.
The kids got a bit whiny mid-walk but it was nothing a little ice cream couldn’t cure.
That evening we ordered some traditional Papa John’s pizza (heh) and went to bed early. On Sunday we woke up bright and early to catch a flight to Cusco – the nearest airport to Macchu Picchu.
We ate breakfast in the aiport. Jafta had steak, friend banana, and potatoes. Because of course he did.
This was Mark giving the kids a pep talk about how we needed to keep positive attitudes during this day of travel. As you can see, not everyone listened:
We met another family traveling with smaller children. Their daughter and Karis and had meltdown at the same time. It was a bonding experience.
A bonding experience for everyone else on the plane, I should say. There is no great bond than a common enemy, you know.
Jafta also had a moment as we were waiting on the tarmack. But I managed to get them all looking at least relatively happy for a photo op as we boarded the small plane.
Happy photos of traveling families = lies. Lies, I tell you.
We hired a driver in advance, which I was really grateful for once we landed. It made it much smoother, and plus the kids loved seeing our name on a “sign”. Who doesn’t?
I hear Cusco is a lovely city but we booked it out of there fast, because I was paranoid about the stories I’d heard of altitude sickness. It was still a possibility even if we were in the valley (at 9k ft) but Cusco sits at a dizzying 11k feet and I wanted no part of that. Our driver took us on a picturesque drive so that we could stop at the Pisac Market and then head to our hostel in the Sacred Valley city of Ollantaytambo.
The drive was beautiful, but we were not immune to the effects of the altitude and all six of us immediately fell asleep in the hired van. I remember waking up at one point and opening my eyes to a view of startling beauty: Inkan homes, ruins ruining up the hillside, and women in traditional garb carrying crops in brightly colored baskets. I thought to myself, “I have GOT to stay awake. This journey is epic. I need to take in all the beauty and zzzzzzzzzzzz.” And the next thing I knew we were in Pisac.
Pisac has a traditional market that is very bustling on Sundays.
There were many little girls walking around in traditional garb, holding goats for a photo opp (and a small fee.)
There were all manner of goods from local artisans, and the boys were curious about all of the various implements. I had to shoo them away from a few tables. HELLO!
We stopped into a restaurant that had two things on the menu: empanadas and guinea pig. We opted for the empanadas, much to Jafta’s devastation.
The chef heard his whining and offered for Jafta to pick out his own guinea pig to have roasted over an open fire. We told Jafta we didn’t have time, but really it was because we couldn’t stomach watching them cook one of the animals the girls were lovingly petting.
We did order some traditional coca tea, which is supposed to help with altitude sickness. I later googled coca leaves to discover that they are the main raw ingredient in cocaine. Parenting win!
The corn. YOU GUYS, THE CORN. As it turns out, natural, non-genetically modified mass produced corn is delicious. Like candy.
Just like in Haiti, I gave my kids a lesson in haggling and they promptly paid for their purchases based on the first offer. All of them bought pan flutes that I would like to throw from the train window for the annoying sounds they produce in the hands of my children.
After our afternoon at the market, we drove another hour to the town of Ollantaytambo, where we stayed for a night. We checked into our hostel and decided to wander around the town.
The kids were full of energy – probably on account of the caffeine and
cocaine coca leaves I had been feeding them.
We stomped around the bottom of the ruins. They were begging to climb to the top but I refused, because I was still paranoid about altitude sickness and heard it was best to take things easy while acclimating.
After seeing the ruins we walked around the town a bit more. The town is built up on ruins, and aside from the myriad of backpackers, is very traditional.
We had dinner at a darling café in the town square that had a small balcony overlooking the scenic town.
We turned in early for the night, with the intention of returning to the ruins in the morning to climb to the top. I’m happy to report that none of us got any altitude sickness. We had a great night’s sleep at a cute hostel called KB Tambo, that had a triple room perfect for our family. It had a fun backpacker’s vibe and we got to meet several other travelers. It reminded me of our days when we backpacked Europe, and the easy way we made friends with travelers.
More adventures tomorrow!