If you have been following along on my exploits in Peru, you are aware of a potentially devastating development. After all, while the country has so many unique attributes – the people, the food, the landscapes, the history, etc etc my main personal goal was hiking up and through the many Inca ruins to see it all firsthand. One of the key attractions, of course was the climb at Machu Picchu, which was still two days away. Fortunately I did not have to immediately contemplate my next move (or not) as the next part of our visit to Pisac and the Urubamba Valley contained no major stone steps to provide additional woe to my bruised ankle, although there were enough semi-inclined paths to add some intermittent pain tattoos.
Thankfully right after our visit to the ruins we got on the van and traveled – what else, upward through a mountain pass surrounded by tall trees onto to a series of smaller and smaller dirt roads, arriving at a most lovely destination, the Hacienda Huayoccari, a 300 year old estate that once belonged to the Lambarra Oehuela family. Now this once private home is open to only a few privileged (ahem) visitors not only for a fine meal but also to enjoy the rather eclectic collection of Peruvian pottery and opulent artifacts as well as breathtaking gardens. The entrance was inviting and we made our way in past gorgeous potted orchids and other colorful plants:
Although the furniture and artifacts inside were priceless, there was still a very homey (high-end) feel to the inside of the hacienda, due in small part to the richly hued wood and tiles of the floors, walls and rafters. The arrangement of all was so ingeniously set that at any moment I expected the patron to descend the steps to greet us:
The table settings kept the Peruvian theme with artfully crafted condor napkins:
After our Pisco Sour cocktails we enjoyed a delicious lunch and were then set free to enjoy the surrounding gardens. I especially liked the way the twisted tree limbs contrasted with the vivid flowers:
Our next stop was a small mountain village called Chinchero which is also known as “town of the rainbow.” Chinchero was originally built as a resting place for Inca royalty back in the 1400’s and as is typical so all of our jaunts – we had to climb up a winding semi-steep road to get to a special center for weaving. As we arrived a musical commotion started outside and all of our crew ran back out to see what was going on. All except me – there was no running in my bag of goods at the moment – but as I sat on a bench waiting – the commotion – or should I say celebration parade came to me:
After all were settled, our host started to talk to us about the special dyeing and weaving techniques of the village. I should mention that Chinchero had the highest altitude of all the places we visited – over 14,000 feet and since it was later in the day it was getting downright chilly. No worries, for our hosts had that wonderful hot coca tea at the ready.
The weavers were amazing – they pretty much do their craft 24-7 – with babies cocooned on their backs, while the older children helped or watched:
Only natural plants, seeds, etc were used to make the dyes that brightly colored their incredibly soft alpaca wool:
The finished goods were incredibly beautiful and many of them have now made their way back to the USA.
Time to head back to the Hotel Rio Sagrado, but eye candy continued as we enjoyed a spectacular view of the surrounding glaciers heading into the last golden rays of the day:
The day wasn’t over yet. Once at the hotel we couldn’t resist changing into shorts (it was much warmer at the hotel since it was ONLY 12,000 feet above sea level) and went to relax in the garden overlooking the Rio Sagrado. The llamas however, had a different idea:
It was all good fun and we even got a chance to feed the older llamas dinner while their youngster had his:
I should also mention another little WTDGAP moment. Remember those hammocks I had dibs on? Best laid plans…it seems that these lay so close to the ground that anyone attempting to “lounge” pretty much ended up on their butts. Our tripmate Virginia actually did well on these hammocks:
However, Virginia did have a couple of her own WTDGAP kerfluffles upon arrival at the hotel the day before. First, there was a tiny fly convention going on at the upper corners of her room, but the hotel was able to dispatch them without too much ado. More ado, however was needed when Virginia went out on her balcony for a bit to enjoy the view – and got locked out of her room. With no cell phone on hand, our exiled fellow traveler had to rely on the kindness of strangers walking along the grounds to get help.
All’s well that ends well and we were off to cleanup for dinner while the alpacas enjoyed a bit of greens desert and the last rays of the sun created this bucolic scene:
Ah but I couldn’t close this post without giving you a peek at our room’s most divine shower:
Suffice it to say after this and a few Moji/Piscos, my ankle was silenced for the rest of the evening.