This post is part 2 of a 5-part series explaining my recent experiences in Cuzco, Juliaca, and Lima!
By the time we made it to the pick-up point for the 4-day Inka Trail (yes, the real deal– not the fake easy hikes, I promise!), my stomach was doing everything possible to persuade me against trekking away from modern health care, voice and WiFi connections, ample clean water, and room for comfortable resting.
I really love nature, hiking, and Peru. I thought it would be an amazing way to experience the beautiful climate here in Peru, because even if we were caught in the rainy season, it had to be better than Minnesota’s -25 degree Fahrenheit weather (with windchill, or the ‘it feels like’ factor, it felt like -40 degrees Fahrenheit). Ultimately, I had wanted to try this adventure since being accepted into a program in Peru, so it was really difficult to settle for anything less than accomplishing what I’d set out to do. I even had new hiking shoes and a fabulous green sleeping bag, alright? This was not easy to let go of! I was torn. A friend told me that while the sickness feels awful now, for her it was all better within hours. I wondered if this would be the case for me (answer- it would not be at all). To be brutally honest, I was sitting there, focusing on not vomiting on all the guides…and that was a bad sign.
Ultimately, the uncertainty surrounding my health has to come first so I made the tough choice to request a ride back to the airport upon the arrival of our trek bus. Luckily, the pick-up point was at the main plaza of Cuzco, so I was able to briefly view the beautiful cathedral and main park during the early morning; photos provided.
Honestly, I was worried that the travel company’s workers would have no time and/or desire to go out of their way to take me back to the airport. I was very, very, very mistaken- and I am so thankful that this was the case.
The main coordinator of the trek programs stuck with the train-wreck of a human that was me trying to deal with traveler’s sickness. After grabbing the last ticket on a plane back to Arequipa, he showed me to a local pharmacy with antibacterial medication and electrolyte drinks strong enough to make a difference in my condition. You’d think that would be enough niceness for one day, but he also offered me a room in his house (also at times a hostel, as it is very lovely and quite large) for the day before my afternoon flight. His amazingly kind wife made me a Peruvian version of chicken noodle soup (gluten-free, as rice is the ‘noodle’ component- hooray!) and it was fabulous. She also gave me tea meant for upset stomachs- it was an herb from their backyard garden that tasted like mint but was actually different, though I’m unsure of the English translation.
After how sweet they had been, I asked what I could pay for all their hospitality, but they did not want any money- they were truly so hospitable, welcoming, and understanding of my condition. I will post more information on their lovely hostel and Inka Trail services soon because I am in love with their company and I was not even able to set foot on the Inka Trail itself- I think that speaks to the quality of their services!
Between Cuzco and Arequipa, there was a layover in Juliaca that was delayed by close to four hours. Arequipa was too cloudy for landing, so we continued onto the flight’s final destination, Lima. By the time we made it to Lima, all flights to Arequipa had been cancelled for the night, so LAN set everyone in our flight up with a hotel for the night, and it was extremely comfortable! The photos posted below show the clash between the beautiful hotel and my Inka-trail-prepared self basking in unexpected comfort and heat due to difference in climate between Cuzco and Lima (though I can’t complain- both are lovely in their own way).
Rating of Hotel Melia l in Lima: 8/10
Beautiful building and amenities
Full spa services available *for additional cost
Impressive bathroom and Jacuzzi tub in room
Quiet rooms; did not hear neighbors
Many extras (pillow menu, for example)
Distance from airport (30 minutes in light traffic)
Cost (if you actually have to pay, unlike us this time,
it will cost you S./500 per night, or $185 plus tax,
which is NOT the best deal you can find for quality hotels in Lima).
In the next post, I’ll discuss day 3 of 4 from my trip! Until then, take care; ciao!