Goodbye Peru, it’s Been Grand!

We arrived back at the EcoPackers Hostel and decided to take one more romp around Cusco to find our mate gourd. On the first day we found the perfect gourd in a tiny shop but wanted to wait until we did our larger shopping for everyone. Then, we could not find it!! We looked everywhere and down every alleyway. We wanted to give it one more go and put the effort in before we headed to the airport in the morning. Luckily, we found it!! This gourd was super beautiful and hand carved, still is to this day. We take great care of it. The carving is of Machu Picchu, and three animals representing Cusco and the Inca people. They are the serpent, the condor, and the puma to represent the Inca civilization and the realms of the living and the dead. The words carved on the gourd read “Machu Picchu.”

As we looked at this treasure we reminisced about the Inca Trail, the ruins, llamas, and overall amazing experiences we shared. We went back to the hostel to pack and get ready to leave in the morning. Two people were in the room where we slept talking about Rainbow Mountains and how they bought their own oxygen, rode the horses up, and still had to come back to Cusco without seeing the mountains. They planned to go back the next day. Chris and I just looked at each other and smiled with pure joy that we saw them and a hint of achievement that we always persevere. We both talk about how it is the athlete in us that will power through. One thing we both liked about sports growing up was the discipline and drive it takes to power the body and mind. I am grateful for the discipline and determination because I think it carried over into my art career. Writing these blogs three times a week, painting, and staying up with social media has been challenging at times. Just like the trip up the mountain, persistence weighs out in the end. We both were ecstatic to get under the warm blankets, lay flat, and drift off to slumberland.

Karen Hilliard Art Blog

When we woke up, we slowly got ready, ate breakfast the hostel provided, and got in our taxi to head back to the States. Our taxi drove us for a while, twisting and turning down side streets, and we were quite concerned. Then we saw a hug protest going on. We found out all the teachers were on strike and the cab pulled over to the side of the road. He could not get through and motioned to us to take our bags and walk to the airport terminal. We were going to miss our flight if we did not listen right then and there. Chris grabbed both our large bags and I grabbed both the small backpacks and two carry-on blankets. We hoofed it and made it just in time for our flight. We were super thankful! I was so impressed with Chris, yet again, due to his strength with both bags in his hands, agility through protesters, sanity to not complain, and just got the task done! Overall, this trip was beyond interesting. We flew from Cusco to Lima and had a layover. This is where we ran into Miguel, the artist again. What a crazy ride this trip had been. There is so much more with the flights I would love to share. If you are interested, send me an email. Next week I will be writing about my trip to Alaska to see the Northern Lights, Auroras. This will go with my recent collection of 2023 Christmas Ornaments.

Have a safe and happy weekend and thank you for reading!

-Karen Hilliard