After our long day of sightseeing yesterday, we decided to stay local for the day and explore the town of Urubamba where we are staying. Our villa is nestled in a lush green gated complex on the edge of the town, with amazing views of the surrounding mountains. We are so lucky to be staying here! Margarita has been taking care of us and could not be more lovely. She doesn’t speak much English so it’s been up to me to communicate with her on behalf of us all…hard work! She and her husband Raul live next door to the villa with their 4 daughters, aged approximately 12, 10, 8 years old then their 8 month old baby. Her husband takes care of the grounds and maintenance and her older girls attend the local Catholic school where they are taught by nuns.
Unfortunately, Derek has been stricken by some sort of bug along with the altitude sickness, but Margarita has gone out of her way to make special tea remedies and has dispensed dietary advice. Our own Dr. Chris happily deferred to her for expertise and she jokingly called him the “big doctor” and herself, the “little doctor”.
Our first order of business in town was to figure out where to buy duffle bags for transporting all our purchases back home! We figured it out pretty quickly then stopped in at the market, opting to go upstairs so that we had a somewhat birds-eye view. I don’t think I could ever tire of looking at the food markets in this country, a veritable explosion of color, variety and activity. Love it. We should aspire to be more like this in our part of the world….
Our group split up at some point and we all went off on our own little adventures! Some of us opted to wander around the streets. Derek and Chris were thrilled to find a place to drink Chica beer again, this time in what appeared to be someone’s very basic home. They paid just one Soles for a large glass and were thrilled to bits. Meanwhile, elsewhere in town, DJ, Lance and Silvia found a local bar hidden behind a building where they enjoyed beer and Pisco Sours with the locals. They too had a blast! While all this time was going on, I took some pictures while wandering around town…
We had decided to meet up around 2:00 for a big lunch with the idea that we could enjoy a light dinner at the villa for our last night there. We picked Margarita’s recommendation, a place I don’t think she had ever been to, but where guests before us had really enjoyed their meals. Q’anela is evidently popular with tourists such as ourselves, tucked down a side street from the main square. We enjoyed our obligatory Pisco Sours, this time changing things up a bit by getting a different flavor. I picked ginger, Heather tried Passion Fruit. Delicious! We shared tequenos for an appetizer as well as a chopped fresh salad and then I had Pork Chichurron, delicious pork belly with a creole sauce, onion salad and roasted potatoes. Really, really good. Cherry had Trout with shrimp sauce, Cindy had beef, Heather had lasagne and there were various bowls of soup and other delicacies on the table. One of the highlights of the meal was a visit under the table from a little black puppy which Silvia took an immediate liking to, so much so that the little boy who had apparently just acquired it yesterday, started to cry as he thought she was going to take him! She felt awful and we naturally gave her a hard time about it…. she ended up showing him a picture of her dog whom she had recently very sadly put to sleep. She told him that he was sleeping, which the rest of us interpreted as her telling him in a nice way that he was no longer alive, which caused some of US to cry! In actual fact, he was simply sleeping in the photo and Silvia had no intention of upsetting this poor boy anymore!
After lunch, we once again split up, with the guys heading for more chica and local watering holes. Cherry, Cindy, Silvia, Heather and I headed to the Seminario Ceramic Studio on the other side of town, a somewhat posher part on a tree lined street. Heather had read about this studio where in fact the husband and wife artists actually live too. Pablo Seminario and Marilou Behar founded the studio back in 1979. Their work is exhibited globally including museums in Chicago and New York. They have since trained local artisans in the techniques and designs from ancient Peruvian cultures and have thus been able to produce a lot more pieces. It was fascinating to see their beautiful complex and witness the creativity throughout. We happily purchased several items in the shop at the conclusion of our tour.
Our final stop in town was at the local bar where the others were gathered, playing a game of sapo, drinking beer and….wait for it….ugh…..watching Guinean pigs being prepped for dinner time. I didn’t witness them being alive, I arrived at the gutting part. Definitely not a fun spectacle but kind of morbidly fascinating at the same time. I’m debating whether or not to post the pictures and have decided not to for now… We opted to take moto taxis back to the villa, which are essentially like Asian Tuk tuks. A fun ride through town which brought most of us back in good time, except for DJ and Heather who were taken somewhere completely different much to their amusement!
When everyone had finally made it back, Lucas, having bought a bunch of different vegetables and peppers, proceeded to make a stir fry with quinoa. A delicious but very spicy dish that some could handle, some could not! Time to pack….our magical adventure is coming to a conclusion. Back to Lima tomorrow for one last night.