The Inca Trail Begins

Lunch was amazing and each dish had flavors abound just by incorporating different vegetables. We were fascinated that no spices were used, just the natural palette of a garden variety. As we ate our meal, we were told about the hike to the hostel in the mountains for our overnight stay. This hostel was such a lovely experience. We had our own room and a community shower beneath us. We slept high in the mountain range and woke up staring at the most amazing view of the clouds rolling over the mountain. The people at this Eco Hostel were super friendly and had us help make dinner. I got to peel the potatoes while the guinea pigs ran around my feet collecting scraps. Such pleasant sounds were coming out of these tiny creatures while we were making supper. They are also wonderful little garbage disposals. Luckily, there was no guinea pigs on their menu even though it is a delicacy in Peru.

Chris and I were served llama so I scraped mine on to his plate while no one was looking. I made sure to do this in segments so it looked like I was eating it. Did not want to be rude. These people walked all this food up the mountain to their hostel just to feed us. The garden items were grown on site. They also made us fresh coffee in the morning from beans they roasted and ground themselves. It was delicious. While we had our morning coffee, our tour guide wanted to decorate our faces with pollen from a local flower. He said it also would deter any biting bugs. I would have been the first in the chair if I had heard him first. Bugs bite me all the time and I did not want any mosquito bites in South America while hiking through the rainforest. I put pictures of my and Chris’s “face paint” here in the blog. After we both got these drawn on us, we were shown some lovely handmade jewelry.

Karen Hilliard Art Blog

The owners brought out their handmade items on boards and explained they made these to help them be able to afford food for their guests. We bought two friendship bracelets and two necklaces we wore the entire trip. Peru happened in the summer of 2017 and I just wiggled my bracelet off in April of 2023. This bracelet still had not fallen off even when my dog ate one of the connecting strings. I did not bring my wedding ring so this bracelet symbolized my and Chris’s bond for me. I am so glad I let the woman tie the bracelet on because I did not want it to fall off, and it never did! After we purchased these very sentimental items, it was time to depart. We reluctantly left the slice of heaven, high in the sky on the Inca Trail, to walk on to Machu Picchu with the understanding there would be more cities and stops on the way.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

-Karen Hilliard