|Arriving in Lima at 5:30 in the morning, we went through immigration, collected our luggage and re-entered the airport for our flight to Cusco which was supposed to board at 8:35 a.m. But here's where our luck ran out as we discovered that our flight (along with many others) was delayed due to bad weather in Cusco. The domestic terminal in Lima is not very large so there wasn't much to occupy our time as we waited and waited. Finally boarding began around 10 am. (And we almost missed it due to sitting some distance from our boarding area!)
The very small airplane flown by Star Peru was actually more comfortable than our overnight flight had been, and my window seat allowed for some good views of Peru's mountainous terrain when we weren't above the clouds.
Arriving in Cusco about 11:45 the first thing we noticed was how COLD it was, and there was also a light rain. We found our driver without incident and were off towards the Sacred Valley. Our plan had been to stop and visit the Sunday markets of Chinchero on the way, but due to the bad weather (and how tired we were) we opted instead to drive straight to our hotel in Urubamba. We quickly discovered that the way of driving in Peru is much crazier than at home, with our driver making lots of risky moves that had me holding my breath more than once!
We drove through the hilly outskirts of Cusco and up to an even higher elevation as we passed through Chinchero, then back down into the Sacred Valley and the town of Urubamba. My first impressions of Peru are that it is much poorer than I expected, looking much like Mexico. Lots of crumbling structures, muddy streets, trash, and stray dogs everywhere. Definitely not the neat and clean, cobble-stoned "Disneyland" look that we encountered in Europe.
Although the little town where we are staying is not much to look at, Boutique Hotel Lizzy Wazi is an oasis behind a thick wall and gate. Green grass, spring flowers, hammocks and lounges form a center surrounded by the rooms which are in multiple buildings. Our room is lovely, if not a little cold.
After resting for awhile we ventured back outside the gate to walk back to the center of town (about 15-20 minutes). We saw a handful of other tourists there but for the most part it seemed to be just us and the locals. Wandering the streets, we found the the town's market where fruits, vegetables, meats and who knows what else are sold. Also the Plaza de Armas, bustling with activity even late on a Sunday afternoon. There are many small shops as well as people selling everything from shoes to potatoes out on the streets. Quite a few of the women were wearing the traditional Peruvian dress. I tried to photograph some but didn't want to be too blatant about it so mostly caught them from behind or across the street. One lady actually offered to let me take a photo, but not being sure what payment I should offer, I declined.
We ended the day with dinner back at the hotel, where tonight's menu was a yummy pumpkin soup followed by pasta. Neither of the two ladies working spoke any English, so that made things kind of interesting. Doug and I really need to learn a bit more Spanish than the half dozen or so words we are currently getting by with.