Friday — April 10By the time we approached the gate to exit the sanctuary, the rain was coming down in buckets. After reclaiming the checked tripod, we hastened to find cover. As it was after 12:30p, we decided to kill two birds with one stone and headed to the terrace eatery where we took the last few seats that were still open. The shade umbrella wasn’t really designed to hold off the downpour, but we had enough protection to be able to eat in relative comfort. Though the sandwiches were expensive, eating at the café was still a bargain compared to the $33/person buffet at the nearby Sanctuary Lodge.
Waiting for the rain to end at the café outside the Machu Picchu ruins.
(photo by Vidal)
The view we’d been waiting to see offers a good photo op.
(photo taken by a fellow visitor to Machu Picchu)
The Urubamba River provides perspective for how high up we are from the floor of the valley.
(Huayna Picchu [right] is mostly hidden by clouds, but we have a good view of Uña Picchu [Small Peak])
Modern, well-maintained busses shuttle visitors from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.Twenty minutes later, we were in town and headed to the Machu Picchu Cultural Center just off the main square to purchase our entrance tickets for next day’s visit to the sanctuary. We would have stayed to wander around town a bit, but the on-and-off rain was “on” again. After browsing the stalls in the covered artisan market, we headed back to the Inkaterra to relax before dinner. There was a slight chill in the room that we felt all the more because of the humidity. Turning on the electric heaters (we'd asked for a second one to be put in the room) and lighting a fire quickly solved that problem. Our next problem was to figure out how to dry our rain ponchos — in case we needed to use them the next day. Mui came up with an ingenious solution!
They say necessity is the mother of invention.When we’d checked into the Inkaterra, we’d been told that complimentary pisco sours were served daily in the lobby. We’d been heeding the advice to abstain from liquor while we acclimated to the altitude, but now the time seemed right to try a sip or two of Perú’s “national drink.” (There’s some debate as to whether the drink originated in Perú or Chile. Each nation even has a “National Pisco Sour Day” — in Perú that day is celebrated on the first Saturday of February). The drink is based on a regional brandy — pisco — mixed with lemon or lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup, and regional bitters. And boy does it pack a punch!!! I’m glad the drink was served in a small glass; might not have stayed awake long enough to enjoy dinner otherwise!!!(Note to Deb: tell George that I kept my promise to have at least one pisco sour while in Perú; he was right on the money with the recommendation.)
Cheers!There’s more information about pisco sour here. And if you want a recipe, try this one.We were a bit later going to the dining room where we found a bigger crowd tonight. Regardless, the service was flawless, and we enjoyed our meal at another two-top next to the glass wall overlooking the canyon. I ordered the crema del dia, which was cream of broccoli — very tasty — and followed it with another entrada in lieu of a main course. The purple corn ravioli, which Mui had said was wonderful last night, was indeed delicious and was just the right portion size. Mui ordered the smoked highland Andean trout, which was served with avocado salad and a citrus broad bean medley, and followed that with the beef tenderloin, served with elderberry sauce, glazed onions, and quinoa soufflé — one word to describe it: excellent. We finished dinner with a dessert called “la béte noir,” which turned out to be a flourless chocolate cake, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a mango emulsion. It was absolutely delicious and lived up to its name, which means "The Black Beast."
Purple Corn Ravioli (filled with dried trout and Urubamba cheese)
served in a yellow pepper and almond cream emulsion.
Beef Tenderloin, served with elderberry sauce, glazed onions, and quinoa soufflé.
La Béte Noir — simply scrumptious.It was still raining when we left the dining room. Finding a wifi hotspot in the lobby, we checked our email on my laptop rather than going to the hotel’s internet room located in a building adjacent to the rail tracks. Satisfied that all was well with the world, we adjourned to our room to enjoy the fireplace while we downloaded photographs and prepared for a day of hiking at Machu Picchu.Next Up: Day 9 — Hike with a View