A Leap of Faith: Travelling to Peru with My In-Laws
A Leap of Faith: Travelling to Peru with My In-Laws
Travelling to Peru with my husband and in-laws…could I do it? I had spent little time with them at that point, as my husband and I had only been together a few years. Could I travel with them, and could they travel with me? My in-laws were in the middle of renovating their house when the idea of the trip surfaced, so they didn’t hesitate to let me take the reins when it came to planning the trip. I touched base along the way, but they seemed to have complete faith in my abilities. I didn’t want to let them or myself down.
I decided to use a tour company called Gate 1 Travel. The itinerary included all the areas of Peru that I felt would give us a good overview of this South American country, rich in ancient history, breathtaking scenery and amazing food. During my planning, I suggested optional tours on several of our stops that I thought would give us a better understanding of the area. My in-laws told me that whatever my husband and I would enjoy, they would too. Upon arrival in the capital city of Lima we checked into Hotel Miraflores. That evening we enjoyed a sampling of food and dance that proved to be a good start to helping us understand the sights, sounds and flavors of Peru.
The next day we flew an hour and twenty minutes to Cuzco, once the capital of the Incan Empire. The city sits at an elevation of 3,399 meters, or 10,826 feet. We had been warned about the change in elevation, and that high altitudes can have physical effects on some people. As we were waiting for our luggage, I started to feel a bit shaky and my heart began to race. I had read that drinking coca tea or chewing the leaves could help with the symptoms of altitude sickness. The airport had a small booth selling coca tea, so I bought a cup and a couple of the dry leaves.
By the time we got to the coach that would take us to the Urubamba Sacred Valley, my husband and in-laws were starting to feel the effects. I was pretty sure my in-laws were hearty souls and non-complainers, and they didn’t prove me wrong. I shared my coca tea and leaves with them and they were very grateful.
However, my poor husband could not have either. The leaves of the coca plant contain alkaloids which, when extracted chemically, are the source for cocaine base. The amount would be very small but I had read that there was a possibility of testing positive for cocaine usage if the tea was consumed. My husband is an airline pilot so that just wouldn’t fly.
At a market, we were treated to a Peruvian lunch that included a local delicacy called cuy. Cuy is actually what we know as guinea pig. It has been a staple in Andean communities for over 5000 years. Travelling to Peru.
As we continued our journey through the Andes Mountains, we stopped in a little village called Chinchero. At a market we were treated to a Peruvian lunch that included a local delicacy called cuy. Cuy is actually what we know as guinea pig. It has been a staple in Andean communities for over 5000 years. Westerners are rather averse to eating something we consider a pet, but much to my surprise and delight, my in-laws wanted to do as the locals do, so they tried the cuy!
Our stop that evening was Casa Andina Private Collection Valle Sagrado Urubamba Peru, a stone and timber hotel that provided a breathtaking view of the Andes Mountains. The next day there were several optional tours, but we chose to stay at the hotel. At first my mother-in-law thought my husband and I didn’t go because we felt we should stay with them. Truth was, it was because we needed to slow down a bit! The four of us spent the afternoon reading and napping in the beautiful hammocks the hotel had set up on the property.
That evening, our optional activity was to join a local family for dinner in their home. I don’t think my in-laws stopped smiling once throughout the traditional dinner as our tour director interpreted for us while we ate the wonderful home-cooked meal. That was the moment I really felt the pressure I had put on myself lifting.
My mother-in-law is not fond of heights, but she was determined to get to the top. She accomplished her goal and her smile in the photos says it all! My admiration for her continued to grow.
The following day brought our biggest adventure yet! We took the 1.5-hour trip on the Vistadome Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. After that we took the 25-minute bus ride up the mountain, switchback after switchback, until the gates of Machu Picchu came into sight. My mother-in-law is not fond of heights, but she was determined to get to the top. She accomplished her goal and her smile in the photos says it all! My admiration for her continued to grow. I don’t want to forget my father-in-law in all of this.
He is the strong, silent type who has a ready smile and amiable personality. Throughout the entire trip, the rest of us could barely keep up with him and my mother-in-law. They are both in their early 70’s and were by far the eldest but most energetic on this tour.
Over the remaining days we ate and drank and soaked in the culture. We sat together in the evening and talked about what we had experienced. We each took time as couples, but were always anxious to get back together to talk about what we had done. At the end of this trip, I was in awe at how well we seemed to get along.
I knew the trip had been a success when months later they called to ask us to travel through Asia with them. I still don’t know who took the bigger leap of faith, in agreeing to come on this trip, but I am sure glad we did!
A Leap of Faith: Travelling to Peru with My In-Laws / Travelling to Peru