The sole reason we wrangled an extra day in Lima was to visit the Larco Museum: it had figured prominently in our pre-trip learning, and my friend R. visited it last year and reinforced the recommendation. Was it worth the emotional drain of being in Lima?
Confirmed: El Mercado offers the best breakfast of the tour. We ate with appreciation.
The plan: 8:30 train to Ollantaytambo where we’d get picked up, taken to pick up our luggage, then driven back to Cusco where we’d have lunch and an afternoon tour of Sacsayhuamán.
No luggage on the train to Machu Picchu; only small carryons. We packed what we needed, left our bags at K’uychi Rumi, and boarded a van (just one, a big one) back to Ollantaytambo for a more leisurely but still rushed tour.
7am departure in the van. Just one van: there were only eight of us doing today’s hike, nine with our guide, so we all fit in one van. We drove the hour to the tiny village of Quiswarani where (no surprise) several vendors spread their blankets of wares. We stretched our legs, peed, stuffed our cheeks with a giant wad of coca, and started off.
Departed Lamay for Huacahuasi, in the Lares valley.Dr. Eusebio Corazao Quintanilla has no Wikipedia entry, alas, but he is remembered in his hometown and now in Los Alamos. How many small Andean towns have a mathematician for a hero? How many towns anywhere? This was a delightful and memorable surprise.
Uneventful day at the lovely Lamay Lodge. Although today’s excursion was an easy hike with the promise of a phenomenal lunch, we chose to forego it, remaining instead in the vicinity of the lodge’s beautiful gardens, friendly tame llamas, and flush toilets. Did I mention something earlier about eating hole-in-the-wall street food in Cusco?
Day 0 entry); many Andean cheeses; gorp and yogurt; a silken smooth local coffee; and quite possibly the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had for breakfast. The coffee and chocolate were both from Quillabamba, a nearby area. I vowed to search for them when we returned to Cusco; I was unsuccessful.
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