Storyteller, wanderer, overthinker
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.
The food in Peru is pretty mind-blowing (corn! potatoes! ceviche!), so it’s hard to choose just one—especially since the types of meals we ate varied: One day it was a simple trail lunch of locally-caught grilled trout and creamy avocado salad, the next it was an 8-course tasting menu based on high-altitude ecosystems and featuring ingredients we’d never heard of.
But since the latter is an experience many travelers can try, I’ll recommend MIL in the Sacred Valley. It’s the newest restaurant from World’s Best chef Virgilio Martinez who is this mad scientist-like cook who taps into wild, local ingredients and presents them in the most inventive ways.
What’s more, the restaurant itself is small (they only do lunch and seat no more than two dozen each day) and it overlooks the incredible Inca ruins on Moray. From taste to atmosphere to service, it was truly memorable.
Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is this unbelievable lodge-like hotel in the middle of the Sacred Valley with giant glass windows in the lobby that overlook the property’s farm, and stand-alone casitas that require a golf-cart to get to/from. Each one has its own fireplace and small touches like a basket of herbs that act as a “don’t not disturb” sign and a turn-down service that includes a hot water bottle and chocolates left bedside. We only stayed one night, so I woke up in the morning, made a cup of coffee, grabbed one of the gorgeously woven alpaca blankets at the foot of the bed and sat on the casita’s private terrace to reflect and read.
To me, that was the essence of the place: just being in this luxurious man-made property surrounded by the wildness of nature.
My buff! I honestly didn’t even know the purpose of a buff until this trip. As a fan of Survivor (yes, it’s still on, and yes, I still watch it!), I’ve seen contestants wear them, but didn’t necessarily understand their purpose or benefit…until trekking in Peru.
One day it was around my wrist to wipe sweat from my face or dribbles from my nose; the next it was at my hairline to keep my ears warm or protect my head from the sun; another day I had in front of my nose and mouth to avoid breathing in dirt from the trail or mosquitoes flying around. It’s multi-purpose and I love it.
Well, I always buy a magnet and some artwork. But I suppose the more special pieces I bought include a colorful, beaded hat belt and a woven bag from this healer Herman we met along our trek to Lake Humantay.
More than the material items themselves, which are no doubt beautiful and indicative of Peru, I’ll always remember Herman’s hand as he helped me descend the side of a very steep mountain. I’m not sure I could’ve done it without him. His wife made these items and I wanted to support them…as he did me.
I’m dying to explore the Amazon, but that’s like someone saying, “I went to New York, but I’m also really dying to see LA.”
It just wasn’t possible to do something like a 7-day trek to Machu Picchu AND also cruise along the river to the world’s most fierce rainforest. At least, not in the 2-week time frame we had. They’re in different parts of the country, and each require proper time—not to mention different wardrobes!