Whistles as sharp as a soprano direct vehicles that dart from treacherously narrow cobblestone roads. There’s screeching of breaks and hammering of horns, but our driver from Sam Travel Peru is undeterred. After all, it’s just another evening in the colonial city for him.
We cut through a beautiful square before the van slows down to a stop and Terry and I clamor out and walk down the aisle and into the JW Marriott El Convento. The building is a restored 16th century convent, where we are staying for the next two nights in a balcony room that overlooks the courtyard.
It’s a beautiful hotel where history goes hand-in-hand with modern convenience. A gold chandelier reaches from the ceiling to the floor behind the main reception desk, and pays homage to the Inca sun God, Inti. Throughout the hotel, décor and artifacts reflect the past.
Terry and I discover that every morning a fluffy-white baby alpaca with a pronounced nose and large ears struts around the main courtyard of the hotel, much to the joy and amusement of the tourists. We are among the cheery crowd that have to snap an image with this adorable animal.
And after settling in the hotel and enjoying all its amenities such as the pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, and back massage at the spa for Terry, we descend a narrow cobbled pavement outside and emerge into a Main Square where you can find countless souvenir shops, cafes, museums, restaurants, and very persistent locals.
“Massage?” a woman rings.
“You want a picture, Picasso?” A man swiftly appears from behind.
“It’s free to look,” he smirks.
And so the symphony begins…
The square is a beautiful area, although the outskirts of this city are crumbling with poverty. Elections are currently taking place and there are parades, soothing music with flutes, and dance, including posters of the different candidates who wish to be recognized in the elections plastered across walls.
There is hope for a better economic future.
Terry and I listen to the most beautiful instrumental of pan flutes. I wish I had my camera to capture the performance, but Terry tells me to just take in the moment and I do, along with a group of others.
Time moves quickly, and by evening we find ourselves back in the hotel sitting on the balcony that overlooks the quiet courtyard. We conclude the day and the adventure with the clink of our glasses and sipping of a well-executed Pisco Sour, a sweet and smooth classic Peruvian cocktail.
It will be a 26-hour flight back to Prince Edward Island, back to work, and normality.
As I write this in my dining room turned office, almost two weeks later, there’s a stream of travel memories and longing. And perhaps that’s how it should be, that travel should always leave us wanting more.
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”
Previous blog posts about our trip listed in chronological order: