Day 5 — Lunch with a View

Tuesday — April 7

Since there are few, if any, restaurants on the road between Chinchero and Moray, Vidal had a picnic lunch planned for today. Our favorite form of dining is al fresco. It really doesn’t matter if the site is a sidewalk café, a restaurant with open-air seating, a picnic blanket in a field somewhere, or a scenic spot where we just stand around. The site of our picnic may not have been of Vidal's choosing, but it worked out beautifully.

On our way out of Chinchero, we stopped to pick up the makings for our noon meal — bread, Andean cheese, avocados, and mini-bananas — the latter for dessert. True to form, Mui and Vidal turned a simple shopping experience into entertainment, laughing and bantering with the vendors as they selected the best produce from the cart. Another quick stop for beverages, and we were on our way.

Mui and Vidal shop for produce.

Once we were on the road, Vidal borrowed Mui’s Swiss army knife and started to slice the cheese and peel the avocados. I didn’t think there was any particular urgency in my voice when I asked if we could stop for a photo-op, but Joaquin hit the brakes so hard that we almost had a disaster with the plate of cheese and avocados that was on Vidal’s lap. Fast reflexes saved the day, and the few pieces of cheese that did fall were quickly retrieved and rinsed with bottled water — the 10 second rule! Seeing as how we were already stopped and the scenery was so beautiful, we decided to have an impromptu picnic at a spot overlooking Lago de Huaypo (Lake Huaypo).

Panorama of Lago de Huaypo.

I would like to have gone down to the lakeshore for a closer look, but we didn’t have much time since we had a full afternoon planned already. Besides, we didn’t want to get abducted by aliens. OK, I jest, but in addition to being known for its scenic location, the lake is also known for a UFO sighting in the 1970s, when several cars reportedly stalled simultaneously as a silver disk floated into the waters and disappeared. (Insert theme music from the Twilight Zone here — wink, wink.) Anyway, with time at a premium, Joaquin parked the van just off the road and we turned our attention to making sandwiches.

Chef Vidal prepares avocado and cheese sandwiches.

The three musketeers — Vidal, Mui, and Joaquin.

As there were ominous clouds overhead and we felt the occasional sprinkle, we did not sit down for an elaborate picnic. Instead, we ate standing up, enjoying the scenery, the fresh air, and the quiet countryside. There was no one else in our immediate vicinity and passing vehicles were few and far between. In fact, the only people we encountered were two young boys herding sheep back to their farm.

Young sheep herders on their way to the farm.

As we’ve come to expect by now, Vidal engaged the boys in conversation, asking them if they go to school and how their studies are progressing. The result of the conversation was predictable — the boys walked away with notebooks and pencils — I imagine they were grinning all the way home.

A pastoral scene complete with a herd of sheep.

As the boys and the herd headed off to their farm on the shores of Lake Huaypo, we pulled back onto the road for an afternoon of Sacred Valley exploration.

Next Up: Day 5 — Greenhouse of the Incas

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