Sacred Adventures…

Sacred Valley
Sacred Valley

It’s Friday…I am not sure where I am after the overnight flight from Peru. I watched 3 movies and slept 20 minutes.

Returning to my beloved NYC provided a bit of a shock after having my bedroom turned into a community swimming pool, yet again.

I shall post about the Sacred Valley, the fertile and picturesque valley of the Incas to provide idyllic images to ruminate over during the weekend.

Pisac
Pisac

The astonishingly picturesque valley nestled between the towns of Pisac and Ollantayambo were at the spiritual and commercial heart of the Inca Empire.

Ollanytombo
Ollanytombo

The winding and fertile section is guarded throughout by ancient Incan citadels set high in the sides of the mountains and in particular the sites we saw in Pisac and Ollantayambo….where’s Waldo…can you pick out the “angry man” face etched into the mountain? A free Dairy Queen at the just opened DQ in Chelsea is yours IF you can unearth the Peruvian mad man.

No need for spinning classes or clocking miles in Central Park as we hiked the Inca steps and roads to the very top of every Incan ruin in the Sacred Valley. My Nikes are now holy sacraments.

The sites are engineering and architectural miracles. The Incas terraced the hills so that they could grow crops to feed the population.

Moray
Moray

The circles at Moray are stunning.

weaving

We visited a commune in Chinchero. The men farm and the women stay home, weaving gorgeous items. We were shown the entire process by a cheeky Incan who spoke excellent English. We saw how the baby alpaca (the softest and best wool along with Vicuna which is  even more expensive).

The soap they use is biodegradable. I want to market it to the world. The natural dyes from a variety of seeds and plants are vibrant. One wonders why we have to use chemicals.

The woman, in traditional dress…love the hat…used the natural dyes as make up…MAC should be freakin’. It really lasts and apparently is kiss proof for up to 12 hours.

Salt Pans
Salt Pans

The Maras salt pans, a fascinating system of platforms used since the Incan times to extract salt from a natural mountain spring, were visually extraordinary.

Believe it or not, the shopping opportunities at the salt pans were the best and most reasonable. I picked out a fab baby alpaca sweater for my mom and terrific seasoned salts for when I resume domestic activities.

Retail therapy even has its upside in the Sacred Valley. Last summer I was perusing the architecturally stunning Proenza Schouler store on Madison Avenue and I made the acquaintance of a lovely employee. It turns out that she had just purchased a charming bed and breakfast in the Sacred Valley. Coincidence or divine intervention?!

I was in the process of planning our sojourn to Peru and Kelly was very helpful. Last week, we rendezvoused at a delightful restaurant, Haucatay, in the town of Urubamba. It is a little house tucked down a narrow side street.

Kelly introduced me to Marilu, a charming woman who is the wife of a famous Peruvian artisan.  Their home, studio and store are in a rambling hacienda on the most picturesque street in Urubamba. The Pablo Seminario Ceramic Studio, is a wonderful pottery workshop where a group of artisans  create homemade ceramics.

The Green House, Huaran, Peru
The Green House, Huaran, Peru

We then headed to Huaran, the site of Kelly’s B&B, The Green House (thegreenhouseperu.com). It is set in a stunning valley surrounded by the impressive Andes mountain range. If anyone is travelling through the Sacred Valley, Kelly offers a glimpse into the sublime Sacred Valley lifestyle…a peaceful, tranquil refuge, deep in the heart of the Sacred Valley at very reasonable prices along with caring and informed service with a personal touch.

Sol y Luna
Sol y Luna

Unfortunately, she was booked during the planning stages so we stayed at Sol y Luna which consisted of individual houses and an incredible spa…my massage in the Valley was a religious experience.

Presidential Palace, Changing of the Guard
Presidential Palace, Changing of the Guard

After our throwback deluxe train trip from Cusco to Puno and our unreal journey to the floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca, we flew back to Lima.

BTW, the Uros are a pre-Incan people who live on forty-two self-fashioned floating islands in Lake Titicaca. They are the happiest people I have ever encountered. Perhaps, we should set up a floating island on Manhattan. We could use some happy people in the good ‘ole US of A. No prescription drugs needed.

We experienced another amazing dining experience in Lima after touring the center and the famous Plaza de Armas, Church of San Francisco, Catacombs and observing the 30 minute changing of the guard at the Presidential Palace, complete with large marching band.

Plaza de Armas, Lima
Plaza de Armas, Lima

We headed back to New York on what appeared to be a medivac flight…27 wheelchair passengers all who appeared weathered, but entirely mobile. After Machu Picchu I guess no has the stamina to walk onto the plane.

Enjoy the weekend and I shall adhere to my usual programming until the next adventure.

toby uros

toby cake

And…a special shout out to Juan and Face Peru (faceperu.com)for being the best guides ever…no wish goes unfulfilled, no demand too great. They are the Fairy Godmothers of Latin America.

Thank you for the sumptuous birthday cake (the Uros children were ecstatic when I left the cake for their total consumption)and roses presented on the amazing  floating island of Uros, the lovely painting and to Nila for rockin’ Lima for us. Thank you Jessica, who insisted on washing our rancid Amazon clothing.

How many people can say that they joyously celebrated their birthday on Lake Titicaca…what a day!

To our culinary guide, David for his expert Peruvian foodie insights and the unbelievably thoughtful and interesting book…you are a doll, David.

Hasta luego, my dear new friends. You and Peru will always hold a special place in mi corazon.

One Comment

  1. Paula Lopez says:

    What a wonderful, delightful celebration of your trip! I cannot believe you have the stamina, will and good spirit in place, after coming home to the NY disaster! VIva La Toby!

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