Day 9 — Happy Birthday

Saturday — April 11

We opened the door to our room to find a plate of chocolate goodies — think soft fudge — sitting on the table. Propped up against it was a note from the management wishing me a happy birthday. The gooey sweets didn’t stay in the plate for long (wink). We lit the fireplace and enjoyed its crackling warmth while I downloaded photos from our day at the ruins and Mui organized our luggage.

On our first day at the Inkaterra, we’d been told about the daily show presented at the Café Inkaterra — an intro to Machu Picchu was the way it had been described. We’d been unable to check it out until now, so with chores taken care of, we headed out to see the slide show. As it turns out, we had a private viewing, which allowed us to go at our own pace and stop the presenter to ask questions as we went along. The Powerpoint presentation covered the history of Machu Picchu as well as the fauna and flora. It was quite well done.

Café Inkaterra has an up close and personal view of trains coming in and out of Aguas Calientes.

Afterwards, we headed to the lobby where we enjoyed a round of pisco sours — let the birthday celebration begin! When we went to the dining room, most of the tables were already filled, but there was no problem being seated at the two-top that we've come to think of as “ours.” Service was impeccable as usual and several of the wait staff who had served us on previous nights stopped by to quietly wish me a happy birthday — I appreciated that there was no singing involved!

The food was as good as we’d come to expect. I ordered the crema del dia once again to start — a very, very tasty cream of cauliflower — and had the same pasta dish with oven roasted pomodoro tomatoes simmered in olive oil, garlic and spices that I had ordered on our first night here. I know, not very adventurous of me, but what can I say? I can eat pasta morning, noon, and night and not be tired of it — must be in my genes! Mui tried something new for his entrada: marinated chicken brochettes grilled in exotic jungle sauce and garnished with potato and yucca croquettes — very good. He followed that with Lomo Saltado, the traditional Peruvian dish of sautéed beef tenderloin strips served with rice and potatoes — excellent.

Service up to this point had been flawless, so I wasn’t sure what was causing the delay in getting our dessert menus once the dinner plates had been cleared. I didn’t have to wait too long to find out — a special birthday dessert, complete with sparklers! It turns out, Mui had made arrangements in advance. Sneaky, sneaky … but the surprise was appreciated by the birthday girl. The brownie dessert was delicious and not a crumb was left on the plate.

Birthday treat!

And on that note, we called it a night and returned to our room where we lit the fireplace again and enjoyed a quiet evening, looking through our photos and reliving our trip to date. Despite the fact that I didn’t get my sunrise at Machu Picchu, it turned out to be a terrific “milestone” birthday.

Next Up: Day 10 — Admiral! There Be Bears at Inkaterra!

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