Sapphire Princess Day 21

Written by Safarigal
March 26, 2024


March 24th, 2024

We had another early start. No chance of trying out the hot tub, wandering through the gardens, or sitting on a bench by the river. By 7:00 we had to place our bags in the corridor so they could be taken to the airport.

I took a few photos around the hotel, but then it was time to leave and climb on the minibus.

Yesterday we had travelled along the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley to the railway station, today we are heading in the other direction in the valley along the river towards Cusco.

It is a very fertile valley with steep mountains on either side.

The mountain sides were dotted with trails, terraces, and aqueducts.


There are still several villages high up in the mountains, and with the schools being in the valley the  pupils have to walk over 5 hours a day to get to and from school, and they are also expected to take care of their family’s livestock after school, as well as do their homework.

It was a very pretty drive through the valley.

I was still struggling with the concept that roasted guineapig was a delicacy when the next village we drove through was populated by bizarre guinea pig statues. Unfortunately our driver seemed to think he was in some sort of race and was driving very fast, so Brian was only able to take one photo of the guineapigs. They were truly strange.

Our first stop was at the camelid sanctuary.

Brian checked our altitude – 12,390 feet!

We were greeted by musicians

And then we got to feed and pet the llamas and alpacas. There were also guanacos and vicunas there, but apparently they aren’t that friendly.

I was in llama heaven!

The sanctuary is also home to a pair of condors. We couldn’t really see them that well, but we could see that they were definitely big birds. They will soon be released and it is hoped that they will breed.

We watched a woman doing traditional weaving.

Then we went to the cooperative store where I managed to help the local economy by purchasing a beautiful alpaca sweater with little llamas on it.

They also had some beautiful wall hangings

And we were very tempted by the masks, but we were able to resist the urge.

Our final stop was at Sacsayhuamán, the Incan citadel situated in the northern outskirts of Cusco.

Although many of the stones have been removed by the Spanish and used in other buildings in Cusco you could get a good idea of what it must have looked like previously. It was amazing. Some of the stones were huge. All too soon Maria was herding us back to the bus. I could have stayed much longer to explore it, but we had to get to the airport to fly back to Lima.

We had a box lunch at the airport. I ate the chicken sandwich, but avoided the quinoa salad.

When we were waiting to board, one of the airport workers suggested that we checked our carry on bag. We were OK with this until he showed us on his phone that the bag would be taken to the warehouse. No, that wouldn’t work at all. However, it was yet another failure of Google Translate, and indeed the bag would be in the hold rather than the warehouse.

I had a good view of Cusco as we headed over the mountains back to the coast. And yes, we had a quinoa snack on the plane.

We took a coach back to the ship. Getting there at 4:30. Unfortunately that was all aboard time and I wasn’t able to visit the interesting looking little stalls along the quayside.

Llu llu the llama greeted us as we returned to our cabin. Our first towel creature on this trip, which is actually a blessing. There is only just room for us in the cabin, and a menagerie of towel creatures simply would not work.

Luckily Llu llu fits nicely next to the window.

We went out on deck to watch the sail away. There was another cruise ship in port – the Oosterdam.

It was quite a distance from us, we were right next to a large container ship.

We were wondering how they were going to deal with the large tires in some of the containers.

The captain announced that the staff captain would be taking us out of the port. I wonder if the captain felt like I used to do when our eldest son was learning to drive and I let him take control of my beat up old Honda. This ship is a whole lot more valuable than my car, although I was very fond of my Prelude and was most distressed when it had to be put down.

The staff captain did a good job with the ship, he steered us away from the dock and avoided all of the fishing vessels moored nearby.

In no time at all, we were out in the open sea. Ecuador here we come!

It was good to be back on board. The overland tour had involved a lot time spent in traveling and waiting, but not for one minute did I regret coming along. It was totally amazing. I loved every minute. Travel is such a glorious thing. We are so very lucky.

We have seen Incas, penguins and llamas. Hopefully we will also see the eclipse. Fingers crossed.

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I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.