We spent the first twenty four hours in Lima. I was reminded of my mom´s saying, "If your standards are low enough you can have fun anywhere." Many people in our group weren´t impressed with Lima, and I´ve been better places, but for the mother of a 10 month old baby, I was honestly thrilled to sleep until 9 a.m., have a cup of coffee in a quiet hotel room, and enjoy the ocean view. Also, I got to take a nap later. That´s a damn good day.
Then today we landed in Cusco. If Lima felt like a generic city, Cusco is what I imagined Peru would be. Bright colorful textiles, old stone plazas, grand churches, baby llamas.
Cusco is literally breathtaking--at 12,000 feet, it is very difficult to breathe. When we landed I felt short of breath and light headed. My heart pounded. Very disconcerting. But I´d been hydrating all day, and I sat down while we waited for our luggage. When we arrived at the hotel, I immediately sat down and was served a cup of coca tea. This is what the locals drink to help with the altitude. It´s miraculous. After two cups I felt almost normal. So what if it´s made from the same plant that´s used to make cocaine? This is vacation after all.
After lunch in an ancient monestary, a bath in the sumptuous jacuzzi, and another nap, we headed to dinner. We are traveling with a super nice group of folks, eating and drinking like royalty, and not paying for any of it. A girl could really get used to this.
Maybe the best part of Cusco is our hotel. I feel like I´m living in a fairy tale. Not only does our bathroom have a jacuzzi and heated floors, it has a crystal chandelier. The hotel is a mansion from the 1600s, with these amazing antiques, paintings, chandeliers. Our room smells like cedar. The bell boy just gave us a lesson in local history and literature. I am loving every second. Just soaking it all in.
Tomorrow we go to Machu Picchu. My heart is already overflowing with joy and gratitude. They say that at Machu Picchu your heart opens, so stay tuned for that.