sacred valley

This won’t be like my typical entry since this trip was not just for fun, even though it was. We were traveling with PHOP to provide medical services to villages in Peru and tried to explore as much as we could in between work and being sick.

Day 9
Arrived in Pisac!
Took a gorgeous scenic drive from the airport in Cusco and arrived at Hotel Pisac Inn also listed as Pisac Inca Guest House.  This place was quaint, tucked away and superbly run. The owners were ridiculously helpful and made tons of adjustments to help us get out to clinic on time … even though we still had trouble with our punctuality.
We headed out to get some dinner at Ayahuasca Café which had a fun, very trippy vibe and good food. Only issue was the time it took us to get our dinner. After an introductory meeting to regroup, we headed back for some rest.  

Day 10
Woke up early to grab a yummy breakfast and very pretty cappuccino made by the hosts at our hotel. Picked up some bagged lunches at Blue Llama and headed over to the first clinic in Cuyo Chico. Our larger group was split into 2 and we got on our vans to go our separate ways. Surprisingly got to our clinic and the other van was already there. This ended up working out though since we shared supplies and distributed glasses.
Today we had dinner at Pisac Inn which was right at the corner of the central plaza. The setting was gorgeous, we ate under fragrant flowers and had some maracuya sours and taquenos which were absolutely delicious. Then ran off  to another meeting.

Day 11
Today we optimized breakfast a bit thanks again to our wonderful hosts at Hotel Pisac Inca and made it on time to our meetup! Hurrah! We started the drive and each time we thought we arrived, we kept driving higher into the mountains. The views were stunning. Today’s clinic in Palpallacta was by far the most organized and ready for action. We checked our oxygen levels which were mostly in the 80s (no good). Overall, we adjusted well. We took a break and visited a market just down the road from the clinic and picked up some hand woven goodies. We even met the extremely FLUFFY alpaca they came from. Also got to recruit some patients. So good day overall.
We headed back to Cuchara De Palo back at Pisac Inn for some more taquenos. “I want some taquenos!” Exhausted and straight to bed.  

Day 12
We now had our breakfast regimen perfected, packed our lunches of delicious bread and jams and headed out to clinic in the mountains! The clinic in Umachurco was at the highest elevation we had been to topping 13,000 feet above sea level. 
We had gotten used to the altitude for the most part, but everything took a little extra care… including walking and talking. The views were absolutely stunning and it really felt like we were “on top of the world” 😉
We made some little buddies, took tons of photos and then crammed 28 people into a fully loaded van to get back into town. Fully loaded includes everything… even the kitchen sink.
Tonight, we had a yummy group dinner including yucca fries at Beija Flor.

Day 13
Another day at a high altitude clinic in Calca. We made the most of it this time by having fun with the GoPro. The group also found a home for a stray kitten that wandered into the clinic. Our poor stray dogs got ignored for a bit even though they were cooler.
Finally had time to visit the famous Pisac Market to pick up some ceramics, paintings and other goodies. Had dinner at Ulrike’s Café.

Day 14
Our last morning in clinic was a pretty busy one with a long line of school children. We heard a lot of relatable stories that reminded us of our similarities. 
We made another stop at the market with wonderful deals then to lunch at the Blue Llama, a super whimsically decorated stop. We then slowly headed over to Cusco and reunited with some of the group for dinner at Pacha Papa.

Day  15
Today was my day to explore Cusco alone as the gang went to Machu Picchu.
Since I was lucky enough to have already seen Machu Picchu, I thought I would take a trip to the Salt Flats. Just felt so sick and couldn’t arrange a tour in time. That all worked out ok though since I was in Cusco for Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun. Grabbed some caffeine at Cappuccino Cafe and headed out to the Plaza de Armas which was PACKED with people celebrating!
Midday and I was so worn out that I had to stop and get an algarrabina frap recommended by an amazing medical student in Peru. It was the perfect pick me up and went around to browse the streets, people watch and be tempted with more chicha morada,  As usual, I took a whole MESS of photos. I couldn’t choose one favorite so just went with the group below. The people, colors and liveliness in Cusco are beautiful.
Stopped with the cameras for a second to pick up lunch at papachos. I got a chifa burger and mint tea and I have nothing else to say but it was SOOOOOO good. How could it be so good?! It was a great day to be back in Cusco and I slowly headed off to the airport to head back home.

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