On a whim I decided to go on an adventure with some of the girls, and it was so much fun!
We flew into Cusco on a Friday after work and a harrowing journey through Lima traffic. At the airport we had a moment of panic when we were told that the flight was overbooked, but luckily they found seats for all of us and we made it to the mountain city. On arrival we noticed two things; the altitude meant getting our of breath from laughing at our silliness, and we were really hungry.
After a bit of negotiation we arranged for the taxi driver to take us into the city and wait while we dined, and take us to our hotel in a nearby town afterwards. For dinner we visited Incanta, a Peruvian Italian restaurant that came highly recommended by a friend as well as one of the girls on the trip. We even found a bottle of South African Syrah, what a lovely companion to the fantastic food.
After dinner we bundled into the car and took on the journey to Ollantaytambo and beyond, as our hotel was situated on a narrow dirt road a few minutes on the other side of the town. A few times I thought this hotel better be worth it, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Del Pilar hotel is situated between the majestic Andes mountains and overflows with style and class,with a little touch of local colour.
In the morning we were greeted by views of farming landscapes and majestic mountains, and even a glacier, just hanging about, breaking rocks and doing what glaciers do. After a fantastic breakfast of just about anything we could dream of, we met with the local alpacas, Al and Paca, and hung about in the hammocks.
A little while later we suited up and met our driver for our next adventure: A horse trail through the Cusco countryside. Gabriel’s ranch is run by two locals and Gabriel himself was our guide for the day. The horses are very well looked after and very well trained. In the comfortable western saddles we could really relax and enjoy the scenery and the lovely ride.
Along the ride we had a few stops, one to visit the Moon Temple and another for a light picnic. All the while Gabriel gave us some insights on the insights and history of the place. It was like the combination of two separate childhood dreams; riding through a beautiful field on a gorgeous horse (this one was named Apachi) and having a look into the Inca world that fascinated me from as long as I could read about it in the household encyclopedia.
Blue skies, green fields and sunshine, combined with the lovely horses made for a perfect Saturday adventure. We followed it up with a drink in Olyantantambo and a dinner at Apu Veronica, on the recommendation of a colleague. An unassuming restaurant at first appearance, but when the meals arrived we were properly wowed. The restaurant assisted in arranging a taxi back to the hotel for a well deserved rest after a fantastic day.