Back To Peru... Again
by, 02-07-2014 at 10:33 PM (1902 Views)
Uncharacteristic of LAN, our 1:00am departure from Miami International aboard #2511 was delayed and then delayed again.
Of course, the complementary Haagen-Das dulce de leche ice cream in the VIP Lounge was an unexpected treat and helped pacify the situation. However the prospects of making our onward connection in Lima to Cuzco seemed greatly diminished at 3:25am, as the B767 climbed through 30,000 feet toward cruising altitude.
After arriving Lima, we managed to select the immigration line undergoing a shift change just as we were about to be processed (another 15 minute delay).
At last, we claimed our bags and made a quick dash outside the international terminal and right back inside the domestic terminal, at which time we queued up for our connecting flight to Cuzco.
"No, Sr.," advised the smiling young agent, "Your flight to Cuzco has closed the door and unfortunately, the next flight is completely sold out; may I book you on the flight after that one?"
"Por favor," I muttered and forced a smile. We reminded ourselves, travel is adventure and 'bumps' and 'exceptions' should be expected and celebrated!
Before going to the Sumaq Lounge, we stopped by the Peru Tourism booth and asked the lady if she could assist us. She phoned the Orient-Express Palacio Nazarenas in Cuzco and advise them not to dispatch the driver, since we would be taking a later flight. The Butler Team at Palacio Nazarenas had arranged our airport transfers from Cuzco down to Rio Sagrado. We would be spending two nights there before return to the Palacio Nazarenas. No problems, our driver would meet our new flight.
It turned out the Sumaq Lounge offered a pleasant and restful environment after flying five hours in coach (we 'cheaped out' for this flight). After downing couple of strong coffees, nibbling on some fruit and checking our emails, it was time to catch our next flight.
We had decided to start this trip in the Sacred Valley at Hotel Rio Sagrado. This would be our second trip to Urubamba in two years, but unlike our first visit, which was filled with adventure activities (like this) we wanted to simply relax and rejuvenate before picking up the pace during the next segments.
Rio Sagrado would prove to be the perfect choice. Patricia Pinillos, the General Manager and Julia Vizcarra, Guest Experience Manager, were old friends from one of our previous visits to the O-E Miraflores Park in Lima. It was great to see both ladies and share a few "Peruvian moments" reflecting on past shared experiences (it was Patricia who had arranged for us to stay in the penthouse suite at the Miraflores Park…Oh so nice).
We were soon escorted to Garden Junior Suite #19. The simplicity of these suites offer no distractions from the natural and unobstructed views of the rushing Urubamba River and rugged peaks rising in the background. No televisions to interfere with the pleasures afforded by the spacious deck, the flowers, the active morning birds life and the solitude of the surroundings.
The suite was tastefully furnished utilizing modern light wood finishes and bright colors. The huge bathroom included a spacious shower area featuring a glassed enclosed outdoor/indoor feeling. The heated floors were a pleasant addition to our feet every morning.
What a great place to hang our Luxury Link caps and soak up the magic.
Guests often arrive at Rio Sagrado and soon head out to Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Maras (the salt ponds), Moray, the markets at Chinchero and Pisca as well as a variety of other interesting excursions. Having done these previously, we elected to remain at the property and soak up the seclusion. A good decision for us. We did take morning walks outside the gates, but mostly we enjoyed:
- Sleeping late,
- Relaxing breakfasts
- Participating in a delightful and private cooking demonstration - Quinoa salad and a vegetarian cerviche, using Mote and mushrooms (we can make this back at home).
- A private Pisco tasting and mixology experience at El Bar Del Huerto -[n.b. the perfect Pisco Sour should be vigorously shaken about ten times (Ian Fleming would have approved), not stirred nor mixed in a blender]. We sampled eight types of the distilled spirit, accompanied by selection of appetizers and listened to a narrative history on the origins of Pisco and the ongoing argument between Peru and Chile as to it's true origins.***
- Morning formula bottle feedings to the baby alpacas.
- Soaking in the Jacuzzi at the Mayu Wilka spa and indulging in several couples massages.
- Lunch at El Jardin (the terrace) overlooking the river
- Late dinners at Huerto Restaurant, graciously paced to ensure the evenings were long-to-be-remembered dining experiences.
A trip to Urubamba would not be complete without lunch at Restaurante El Huacatay. Chef Pio his German wife, Iris and his children always seem to be present at this not-to-be-missed dining experience. It's a good idea to have someone from the hotel to call ahead and make a reservation (we like to remind them we are vegetarians - never a problem), since the demand now seems to far exceed capacity.
Rio Sagrado is a perfect staging area for Sacred Valley explorations and adventures and the rail siding doubles as the terminus (wet season) for those wishing to take the Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu.
However, for us on this visit, Rio Sagrado was the perfect place to decompress and experience the magic of this magnificent valley, while anticipating the next phases of our return to Peru.