Knitting – Argentina


Knitting and Culinary Tour in Argentina and Uruguay

August 24 – September 6, 2020  (Fly home Sept. 7)  14 nights hotel.

Including Knitting Retreat with Nancy Marchant, Queen of Brioche!

Highlights

  • Relaxing four-day knitting retreat at a traditional estancia, above, with Nancy Marchant
  • Ferry across to Uruguay and UNESCO site Colonia del Sacramento
  • Street art and graffiti tour in Buenos Aires
  • Malbrigo yarn mill tour in Montevideo
  • Artisan crafts and antiques at the San Telmo weekend market
  • Flamboyant Tango dance performance
Portrait of Nancy Marchant, knitting teacher

Nancy models a pretty brioche scarf.

Nancy Marchant

On this trip, American author and knitwear designer Nancy Marchant, dubbed ‘Queen of Brioche,’ will be joining us from the Netherlands where she lives. In the Argentine countryside, we’ll have a private workshop with Nancy to learn about her brioche stitch specialty. She’ll show us some of the hundreds of different brioche patterns she has created.  And during the workshop, we’ll work on a beautiful brioche project designed by Nancy. Fortunately she will be at your elbow to help with any complexities. This is a technique I have not tried and I’m anxious to start a project with Malabrigo’s stunning merino yarn from Uruguay!

Details of flexible itinerary

We land in Buenos Aires at the EZE airport where you’ll be met by Cynthia and/or Gerardo for the taxi drive into the city. If you arrive after midnight, we will send a taxi driver who will have a sign with your name. Check into our charming hotel in the peaceful and pretty Palermo section of Buenos Aires. Discover typical foods and settle into the Argentine rhythm of life as we explore the city. A van will take us around the city on a tour to see the best of the amazing street art and graffiti. This display of pubic art is encouraged by officials and building owners, so artists can work in the open and set up scaffolding for enormous projects covering the sides of multi-story buildings.

 Knitters/travelers in front of street art, Buenos Aires. 2018

From Buenos Aires we’ll cross the Rio de la Plata on a modern ferry, to arrive in the tiny but mighty country of Uruguay. We’ll land in Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded by the Portuguese in 1680, it’s one of the oldest towns in Uruguay. Lonely Planet calls this town “irresistibly picturesque.” Our van and driver will pick us up at the ferry port and we’ll drive a few minutes into town to have lunch. Then we’ll continue to the capital, Montevideo, and check into our hotel. To thoroughly enjoy this historical city, we’ll stay for three ‘knitting- and yarn-related’ days in this pretty town.

Malabrigo Yarn Mill

One highlight of our time in Uruguay will be a tour of the Malabrigo yarn dyeing facility. We’ll see how they make some of their exquisite hues. At the Malabrigo Sheep ranch, the ranch chef and helpers will make an Asado or traditonal BBQ  lunch for us (no sheep eaten!). My favorite part of lunch is the little cast iron pans filled with Provolone that melts on the grill–yum! We’ll also meet the Merino and Corriedale sheep and learn about the soft fiber used for the famous yarn.

Woman buys woolen roving in a yarn store, Argentina

Marion buys merino roving in Buenos Aires.

Another highlight may be devouring a succulent Chivito! This is a the national dish of Uruguay. Basically it’s a huge sandwich composed of a slice of steak (churrasco), with ham, mozzarella, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and black olives. Some people add bacon, and a fried egg! French fries usually accompany a towering, messy-to-eat Chivito. A cheese/egg/tomato version can be ordered for non-meat-eaters. (Both Argentina and Uruguay are not vegetarian territory, but you’ll always find something to eat.)

Returning to Colonia after our days in Montevideo, we’ll learn about its colorful history on a walking tour over ancient cobblestone streets. Later there is free time to stroll the streets marveling at the colorful old homes and shady plazas. You can take photos, visit the cool shops and art galleries.  Lunch and dinner on your own in Colonia; it will be fun to choose some interesting places near the hotel. After a couple of nights at a charming and welcoming Posada, we take the ferry back to Buenos Aires.

Traditional empanada Cuisine of argentina

Cynthia’s fancy Empanada (Llamapanada) for lunch!

The Knitting Retreat at the Estancia

Next we drive south of Buenos Aires to the most gorgeous traditional Estancia (ranch). We’ll spend four nights here at the peaceful, woodsy ranch. We’ll immerse ourselves in knitting, making a gorgeous Brioche project created by Nancy, using our hand-dyed Malabrigo yarn. There will be plenty of time to share stories, relax, knit, eat and walk over the Estancia’s 250 acres, then drink some wine and relax some more!

In addition to Nancy’s workshop and brioche lesson, Cynthia will present an Update to Andean Knitting Powerpoint showing examples of some of the new innovations and techniques done in nearby Bolivia and Peru. The estancia house has roaring fireplaces in the library and living room so it is very cozy for hanging out in the evenings. As a break to your knitting, you can walk around the ranch and visit the horses, chat with new friends, or read a good book, between breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner.

Food at the Estancia is plentiful and delicious; we will savor the famous Argentine asado or BBQ of meats and sausages; vegetarians will have other options. The estancia cook will make some of Argentina’s most classic dishes and typical desserts. And one day we will make our own lunch of yummy empanadas with your favorite fillings! People from last year’s trip are still craving the rich homemade caramel topping called dulce de leche. Every day we will have tea and cookies in the afternoon, then dinner later, as is the custom.

Back to Buenos Aires

After four delightful days of knitting and sharing with new friends, we’ll head back to BA, as locals call it. Much of the city is reminiscent of Paris back in the day; the architecture and ambiance, down to the huge sycamore trees, are so similar!

Argentina is known for divine gelato and ice cream.

One morning, we’ll take taxis to the fascinating Recoleta Cemetery which contains hundreds of huge and elaborate mausoleums, decorated with marble statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles. Many Argentine presidents are buried here, as well as Eva Peron and other famous people.

On our last Sunday, we’ll enjoy the scene at the lively San Telmo weekend art and antique market and we’ll have lunch with Argentine friends at a popular spot. At some point we’ll wander along the “Yarn Street,” within walking distance of our hotel. We found that the shops sell mostly synthetic yarns, but there are a couple that carry other fibers. And some of the synthetic is quite unusual and appealing, especially for children’s garments.

Street art tour guide explains the images.

The next and final day is at leisure: shop some more, relax and wander around the neighborhood, then pack up your suitcases for the trip home! Lunch on your own this free day. Fabulous Tango Show and Farewell Dinner on last night.

(Arrive August 24, depart for home September 7.)

Plan your plane departure time for September 7, but not too early in the morning, so you can enjoy the TANGO SHOW with Dinner and wine at Angelito’s the night before.

TOUR COST:  $4950.
(Single supplement available for $760.)
Includes 14 nights total: Accommodation in double/twin rooms in comfortable boutique hotels with private bath, and 4 nights at the historic estancia (hacienda) with shared bathroom. Limited number of singles at the estancia.

We all bought lots of Malabrigo yarn!

 

Also includes all meals except a few lunches and dinners on free days when the group is not together, all soft drinks and water during meals (and wine with meals at the estancia), three days of knitting with Nancy Marchant, taxi transportation into city from Buenos Aires airport (EZE) on group arrival date, all interior transportation by private Mercedes Sprinter van with professional driver, city taxis, and modern ferry boats (BuqueBus) round-trip across the river between Argentina and Uruguay; Street Art Tour of Buenos Aires in private van, Tango Show and dinner at Angelito’s, Malabrigo yarn of your choice for Nancy’s workshop project, and a special pattern/project designed by Nancy.

Wine flows quite freely in Argentina and Uruguay! It is included with some meals: at the estancia, at the sheep ranch BBQ, and at the Tango dinner show.

BTSA Latin American assistant Gerardo Guzmán will also accompany you, Nancy and Cynthia on the tour, to help translate menus, run for taxis, make dinner reservations, etc.

Continued below….

Street art Colonia 2016

Columnar street art near the riverside in Colonia.

Not included: International air fare, airport departure transportation, alcoholic beverages except wine as noted, personal items such as luggage porter tips, and between-meal snacks and water or drinks (if you haven’t eaten enough at our bountiful meals!). We will have bottled water in the van for road trips.

We will arrange your airport departure transportation for you, but it is not included because everyone departs at different times/flights.

Please make your plane reservations to arrive at EZE, the main Buenos Aires airport. If you arrive at either Buenos Aires airport on a different date from the group arrival date, you’ll pay the taxi into town, but the hotel will arrange your pickup at the airport.

For more images, see the Argentine and Uruguay trip Photo Gallery.

Argentina & Uruguay

July 24 -August 5,  2018
(Arrive July 24, depart for home August 6.)

Knitting and Culinary Tour in Argentina and Uruguay
Knitting & Dyeing Retreat
with …..

Main house of the Estancia.

Highlights of this summer’s trip include a visit to the Malabrigo yarn dyeing facility in Uruguay, five days in exciting Buenos Aires, a fascinating Street Art/Graffiti Tour, four nights and relaxing days at a traditional ranch (right) with an exclusive retreat/workshop with Joji Locatelli, well-known Argentinian knitwear designer (below), and a dye workshop with expert dyer Alejandra Pont. We will also go to the Malabrigo sheep ranch and meet the Merino and Corriedale sheep that produce the famously soft Malabrigo fiber! Of course we will visit charming Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO Heritage site across the river from Buenos Aires in Uruguay, and peek into the many shops on the “Yarn Street” of beautiful Buenos Aires. There in the capital city, we’ll also have some amazing typical meals and we’ll enjoy a flamboyant Tango Show with our Farewell Dinner.

Joji with Shawls 2016

Joji with beginnings of our lace shawls.

Details of flexible itinerary:
We land in Buenos Aires at the EZE airport where you’ll be met by Cynthia or her assistant for the taxi drive into the city. Check into our charming hotel in the peaceful and pretty Palermo section of Buenos Aires. Spend time settling into the Argentine rhythm of life and discovering typical foods. We’ll take a ferry north across the Rio de la Plata to Montevideo, Uruguay, and there we’ll tour the Malabrigo yarn dyeing mill where we will each dye a skein of the most lovely fiber; photo below.

Dyeing.Malabrigo 2016

Cynthia and Gerardo dye merino at Malabrigo.

 

 

We can’t miss the UNESCO Heritage site of historic Colonia del Sacramento, founded by the Portuguese in 1680, and one of the oldest towns in Uruguay. Lonely Planet calls this town “irresistibly picturesque.” We’ll check out the main sights, then stroll the streets marveling at the colorful old homes and pretty plazas. You can take photos, visit the cool shops and art galleries. We will meet up with some delightful Uruguayan women who have a knitting group, and see what they are working on! Lunch and dinner on your own in Colonia; it will be fun to choose some interesting places near the hotel.

After a couple of nights in this charming and colorful town, we take the ferry back to Buenos Aires to relax and see more of the city. Then we drive south to the most gorgeous traditional Estancia (ranch). During four tranquil days here, we’ll immerse ourselves in knitting, making the pattern created especially for BTSA knitters by Joji, using our own hand-dyed Malabrigo yarn. She has designed a pattern that uses the yardage in the weight of Malabrigo yarn that they will let us dye!

La Sererna sheepThere will be plenty of time to relax, knit, eat and walk over the Estancia’s 250 acres, then drink some wine and relax some more! In addition to Joji’s workshop and Alejandra’s dye lesson, Cynthia will present an Update to Andean Knitting, Powerpoint showing examples of some of the new innovations and techniques done in nearby Bolivia and Peru. The estancia house has roaring fireplaces in the library and living room so it is very cozy for hanging out in the evenings. During the days, we can walk outdoors or knit or read a good book, between cold drinks!

Food at the Estancia is plentiful and delicious; we will savor the famous Argentine BBQ meats and sausages called asado; vegetarians will have other options. At the Estancia, we will enjoy some of Argentina’s most classic dishes and typical desserts. And one day we will make our own lunch of empanadas! People from last year’s trip are still craving the rich homemade caramel topping called dulce de leche! Every day we will have tea and cookies in the afternoon, then dinner later, as is the custom.

La Serena asado

BBQ (asado) and Picnic at the sheep ranch.

After we return to the capital, we’ll enjoy the scene at the lively weekend art and antique market, then we’ll see the fascinating Recoleta Cemetery which contains many elaborate marble mausoleums, decorated with statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles. Many Argentine presidents are buried here, as well as Eva Peron and other famous people. Then you can wander along the “Yarn Street,” within walking distance of our hotel; we found that the shops sold mostly synthetic yarns, but there are a couple that carry other fibers, and some of the synthetic is quite unusual and appealing. Dinner on your own tonight.

The next and final day is at leisure: shop some more, relax and wander around the neighborhood, then pack up your suitcases for the trip home! Lunch on your own this free day. Fabulous Tango Show and Farewell Dinner on last night.

Plan your plane departure time for the next day, August 6, but don’t leave too early in the  morning so you can enjoy the TANGO SHOW and Dinner and wine at Angelito’s the night before.

Street art Colonia 2016TOUR PRICE: $4350.
(Single supplement available for $825.)
Includes 13 nights accommodation in double/twin rooms in comfortable hotels with private bath, and at the historic estancia (hacienda) with some shared bathrooms; all meals except a few lunches and dinners on free days when the group is not together, soft drinks and water during all meals, dye and knitting workshops by >>>>>>, taxi transportation into city from Buenos Aires airports on group arrival date, all interior transportation by private Mercedes Sprinter van and professional driver, city taxis, and modern ferry boats (BuqueBus) across the river between Argentina and Uruguay; Street Art Tour around Buenos Aires, Tango Show and dinner, skein of Malabrigo yarn to dye for workshop project, new unpublished knitting pattern by >>>>>, just for us.

Happy Knitters with Joji in blue, center; Cynthia and Alejandra at far right. 2015

Not included: International air fare, airport departure transportation, alcoholic beverages, personal items such as luggage porter tips, and between-meal snacks and drinks (if you haven’t eaten enough at our bountiful meals!).

We will arrange your airport departure transportation for you, but it is not included because everyone departs at different times/flights.

If you arrive at either Buenos Aires airport on a different date from the group arrival date, you’ll pay the taxi into town, but the hotel will arrange your pickup at the airport.

For more images, see the Argentine and Uruguay trip Photo Gallery.

Textiles and Machu Picchu

Postponed to 2021. 

Knitting, Weaving, Machu Picchu, and Lord of the Earthquakes Procession in Cuzco.

(Arrive on March 28, fly home on April 8) This exciting 11-night textiles and Machu Picchu adventure goes from the superb museums and gourmet restaurants of Lima the capital city, to the Andean highland villages – with the jungles of Inca Machu Picchu, and beautiful colonial Cuzco in between!

Trip Details

Either Cynthia, or the hotel driver if after 10 pm, will meet you at the Lima airport upon arrival, on March 28. Check into the Hotel El Patio, below, for a good night’s sleep in this charming and cozy place that is overflowing with flowers and greenery, in the upscale Miraflores neighborhood.

EL PATIO-LIMA

El Patio Hotel in Miraflores, Lima.

In the morning, after breakfast in the hotel’s downstairs breakfast room, we will have a brief orientation about seeing textiles and Machu Picchu logistics. A friendly money-changer will come to the hotel lobby to change our crispy clean, new dollar bills to soles, the Peruvian currency. Cynthia will hand out currency conversion charts to use until you get used to the money exchange. The van driver will pick us up at the hotel to begin our adventure in Lima, Peru’s bustling and prosperous capital city.

Lima has world-class museums, flowery parks, interesting architecture, a fabulous crafts market, and great restaurants where we will sample typical Peruvian cuisine. We’ll spend a very full day in Lima, first seeing the wonderful ceramic and textile collections of the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum, housed in a beautiful old mansion with flowery gardens. It has just been renovated and the presentations are superb, but we still love the storage section with the floor-to-ceiling glass shelves of mostly Moche ceramics, like a huge library of pots, all carefully arranged and grouped by subject, crab pots, squash-shaped pots, llama pots, etc.

Cynthia at Machu Picchu

After lunch, we’ll go to the recently revamped Amano Museum which has one of the world’s best Andean textile collections! Our Welcome Dinner will be at one of Lima’s many excellent restaurants.

Machu Picchu LOW

Machu Picchu from the back left side.

Next day we fly over the Andes to Cuzco, and from the airport, drive to lower altitude. We’ll spend the night in a pretty hotel in Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley. In the little shops and the handicraft market there, we can look for interesting textile finds or you can climb to the ruins of Ollantaytambo. Early next morning, we’ll take the train to the incredible, mystical site of Machu Picchu. The ‘Sanctuary’ site was overgrown by trees and brush but known by the local people, when American Hiram Bingham re-discovered it in 1911.

An expert local guide will accompany you as you walk around the site, and will explain the Inkas and their culture. Machu Picchu (now a National Park) and Cuzco town itself are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Machu Picchu is lower than Cuzco and the environment is very different. Rock cliff faces bristle with bromeliads; orchids and begonias line the sinuous road to the site. That night we’ll sleep to the roar of the Urubamba River and visit the Inka sanctuary again the next day, if you wish.

LosMarqueses CUZCO-low

Patio of our heritage hotel in Cuzco.

Our return train journey to Cuzco will be in the afternoon on the second day. Upon arriving in town, we’ll check into our historical hotel, a beautiful stone Colonial mansion built in the 17th century, and restored in 2004. The hotel is in the perfect location, on a quiet side street two blocks from the central Plaza de Armas, and close to many other historical sights.

Peru - Bolivia

Weaver picking up warp patterns with llama bone.

Cuzco was the center of the Inka Empire and you’ll see Inka stonework at every turn around the central Plaza de Armas. We’ll take it easy the first day in the altitude, walking nearby to have lunch. Then we’ll visit the good exhibition at the small museum of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cuzco (CTTC), founded and managed by dynamic Peruvian weaver Nilda Callañaupa [English-speaking]. Cuzco is safe and easy to walk around in, mostly flat cobblestone streets, with some hilly areas. From Cuzco, we will drive to several remote Andean communities on day trips (coming back to our wonderful hotel, above, to sleep).

Sacred Valley of the Inkas with terraced hillsides.

In the villages, you’ll meet textile artists and will be welcomed to learn some new weaving or knitting techniques from these masters. One day, we will have a dye workshop in a village with the  women there. You’ll buy white alpaca yarn at the Michell Alpaca store, close to the hotel, and we’ll dye it with natural dyestuff such as cochineal, yellow flowers, green leaves, and more. (You can buy/dye as much yarn or as little as you want.) This day is market day in the village too, so you can check out the little local market, now as full of tourist souvenir textiles as local produce. We will also visit Nilda’s brother’s studio; Angel paints charming watercolors depicting various animals from local myths and legends, such as foxes and mice. These sweet and original souvenirs are for sale at his studio.

Causa, typical yellow potato cold dish with crab, peppers, avocado.

Festival of the Earthquakes!

Monday afternoon is time for the fabulous procession of the black statue of Christ on the cross. We will have good seats in a restaurant above the plaza to look down on the celebration, take photos, and to toss the symbolic red flowers onto the statue as it passes below (for blessings and luck).

Feeding some very hairy creatures!

The procession includes several priests, deacons, and perhaps a cardinal, military marching men in uniform and brass bands, city dignitaries, school children, and college students. By the end of the long celebration, the participants are all sprinkled with red flowers thrown from balconies along the route. We’ll have our Farewell Dinner in Cuzco the last night, then next morning after breakfast (April 8), we fly to Lima. You can either connect onward to home that afternoon/evening, or go to the Hotel El Patio to relax. You may want to shop in the neighborhood until time to go to the airport. We will suggest convenient flights for arrival and departure.

Typical Chinchero hand-knit cap.

 

 

 

Price:  $3650   

Single Supplement: $440 

* To sign up, click this Sign Me Up! link and follow instructions.

Included in the Textiles and Machu Picchu tour:

  • All meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner– except two lunches and one dinner on free days, when group is scattered.
  • 11 nights accommodation (March 28- April 7) in beautiful, small boutique or heritage hotels, all locally-owned, safe, and friendly. Private bath, double or twin occupancy.
  • Two interior flights (Lima to Cuzco round-trip) one hour each.
  • Day Room on April 8 until you depart for the airport which may be in the wee hours of April 9.
  • Explanations by Cynthia, on woven ancient/pre-Hispanic and contemporary knit/woven textiles.
  • Knitting workshop to learn ingenious knitting techniques; yarn provided.
  • Dye workshop with Nilda, and natural vegetal dyes, cochineal, etc. (Fiber not included; you’ll decide how many skeins you want to dye and we’ll go together to Mitchell alpaca store near hotel to buy yarn for dyeing.)
  • Peruvian Master Weaver, Nilda Callanaupa to accompany group for Andean village visit.
  • All interior transportation by private van with professional, known driver.
  • Bottled water on van rides (please bring a refillable bottle for personal use, or re-use one there).
  • Visits to typical, remote Andean highland villages to meet the textile artists; picnic lunch in a village.
  • Entrances to all museums on itinerary of Textiles and Machu Picchu tour.
  • Licensed, professional English-speaking local guide and guide tips for Machu Picchu.
  • Airport arrival and transportation on group arrival date
  • One-day Machu Picchu entrance, and shuttle to the site—(2nd day about $75 optional)
  • Andean textile expert Cynthia LeCount Samaké and a Spanish-English-speaking assistant to lead tour and accompany entire itinerary.

Cynthia and Claudia in a kiwicha field, Chinchero highlands.

Claudia dyes alpaca yarn with rock lichen. Chinchero.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peru: Textiles & Festival

March 10 – 23, 2016 (Arrive March 10; depart for home March 24)

El Senõr de los Temblores LOWThis trip includes the Cuzco Festival of ‘Lord of the Earthquakes,’ Andean highland textile villages, exquisite cuisine, Machu Picchu, and beautiful, colonial Cuzco.

Trip Highlights:
•  See the spectacular ‘Lord of the Earthquakes’ festival in Cuzco.
•  Visit textile villages to meet the knitters and weavers, dyers and spinners.
•  Dine in some of Peru’s most celebrated restaurants.
•  Cooking class and Pisco-tasting in a private home in Miraflores.
•  Thrill to Machu Picchu’s Inca engineering marvels.
•  Savor a traditional village lunch with a local family.
•  Learn about ancient Peru at excellent museums.
•  Remember your fabulous experience with a custom Recipe
and Photo BOOK documenting the trip.

This adventure is organized and led by Cynthia LeCount Samaké (Andean knitting/textile expert with over 30 years travel experience in Peru) and Peruvian, Veronica Samanez from Miraflores, Lima.

Andrea + Little Cynthia-low

Andrea and Little Cynthia!

TRIP DETAILS:
Cynthia (or the hotel driver if after 10 pm.) will meet you at the Lima airport, upon arrival, on March 10. Check into the Hotel El Patio, below, for a good night’s sleep in this charming and cozy place that is overflowing with flowers and greenery, in the upscale Miraflores neighborhood.

In the morning, we’ll all meet at breakfast in the hotel’s downstairs breakfast room. A friendly money-changer will come to the hotel lobby to change our dollar bills to soles, the Peruvian currency. Cynthia will hand out currency conversion charts to use until you get used to the money exchange. The van driver will pick us up at the hotel to begin our adventure in Lima, Peru’s bustling and prosperous capital city.

EL PATIO-LIMALima has world-class museums, flowery parks, and interesting architecture. We’ll spend a very full first day in Lima, seeing the wonderful ceramic and textile collections of the fabulous Rafael Larco Herrera Museum, housed in a beautiful old mansion with flowery gardens. It has been renovated recently, and the presentations are superb, but we still love the old storage section with the floor to ceiling glass shelves of Moche ceramics, like a huge library of pots, all carefully arranged and grouped by subject, crab pots, squash-shaped pots, llama pots, etc. After lunch, we’ll go to the private Amano Museum which has some of the world’s best textile collections–drawers and drawers of amazing pieces. Our Welcome Dinner will be tonight at one of Lima’s many excellent restaurants.

Vero and Cyn

Cynthia and Veronica toast over a plate of causa.

Scallops.Lima.JPG

Next few days in Lima we’ll see the fascinating adobe pre-Inca ruins south of town called Pachacamac, and the huge pyramid right in downtown called Huaca Pucllana. We’ll visit overflowing local produce and food markets where  Limeños shop for everything from purple potatoes and cocoa pods to exotic cheeses and meats.

_DSC3061In Lima, we’ll have a Pisco-tasting and cooking class at a private home in Miraflores. And in our restaurant forays, you will be able to decide what dishes to order. Adventurous meat eaters can try new and surprisingly delicious dishes such as herb-stuffed guinea pig or grilled alpaca, or old favorites like Pollo a la Brasa, grilled chicken.

Peru has a lively restaurant scene with internationally known chefs. In both Lima and Cuzco, we will dine in some of the oldest and most famous, as well as some of the newest and hippest places. Seafood lovers flock to Lima for the tender lime-drenched ceviche, paired with a savory yellow potato causa layered with a mixture of crab or tuna; below. The list is endless! Cuisine differs markedly from Trujillo in the north, to Arequipa in the south, and from dry coastal Lima to the verdant Amazon region– with many fusion elements in between. We’ll sample foods from the jungle to the highlands, and from the desert to the coast.

Best Causa LOW useNext we will fly over the Andes to beautiful Cuzco, 1 hour flight. Then we will drive directly down to the Sacred Valley at lower altitude which will help us to acclimate. Relax at the hotel and the next day we’ll board the train for a ride through beautiful scenery to Machu Picchu National Park (UNESCO Cultural Heritage site). We’ll visit the magical place with a professional English-speaking guide, then have free time in the ruins; overnight in Machu Picchu Village.

Time next morning to visit Machu Picchu site again. The first shuttle bus departs for the site around 5:30 am. People talk of the ‘sunrise’ at MP, but in reality, it is most often clouded over. Maybe you’ll be lucky! Note that you now need a separate ticket to climb Huayna Picchu (the peak in back of MP with a fabulous view of the site) and they are limited. (If you are interested, let me know as soon as possible; so I can get the details to you.)

Hotel Marqueses in Cuzco

Hotel Los Marqueses in Cuzco

The climb to Huayna Picchu is easier than it looks, because there are steps the whole way, and even a firmly attached chain to hang onto, on the steepest part. I have climbed it 3-4 times, and the view is absolutely spectacular from the top! Climbing up to the Gate of the Sun gives a similar breathtaking view. Take the VistaDome train back to Cuzco in the afternoon and check in to our centrally-located and heritage building hotel, right. Eat lunch then stroll around city to acclimate. We’ll stroll downhill to visit Nilda Callanaupa’s excellent Museum at Center for Traditional Textiles of Cuzco, CTTC. Buy white alpaca yarn from the Michell alpaca shop, around the corner from the hotel, for dyeing later in our workshop.

Ocongate-KARIIn the next few days we will drive through beautiful rolling hills of quinua and potato fields, into the highlands to several Andean villages to meet good friends who are amazing knitters and weavers. Picnic lunch in the Pitumarka weaving compound one day, and visit the famous little Andahuaylilas church with its ornate painted ceiling and altar from the 16th C.

In another village high above Cuzco, we will watch other knitters and weavers (every village uses different techniques and motifs for their textiles), then share a traditional lunch of soup and boiled corn with indigenous Quechua speaking friends living there. We will also see traditional Andean foods growing in the fields, such as red amaranth, quinua and quiwicha, native potato varieties, fava and lupine beans, and we’ll try various dishes incorporating them at our village lunch.

We will have a half-day natural dye workshop with the ladies in one village. Color your white alpaca yarn with cochineal, one of their favorite dyes, or another choice from their supply of flowers, leaves and lichen that make their rich colors.

Cuzco cathedralIn Cuzco we’ll peek into the Cathedral to see the famous ‘Last Supper with Guinea Pig’ tableau, continue across the Plaza de Armas, to the street of the 12-angled stone, one fabulous stone in a whole foundation of amazing stonework walls. Walk back down and have American food for lunch at Jack’s, just in case anyone is feeling homesick! Later, walk down Triunfo Street, visiting favorite jewelers, and the suede/textile bootmaker.

Before the festival, there will be time to see Sacsahuayman, the spectacular Inka fortress /ceremonial site above Cuzco. Sacsahuayman is known for amazingly huge stones fitted into zigzag walls, set around a grassy central area. We eat lunch in a restaurant (a friendly place where we go annually) overlooking the main Plaza de Armas, where the statue passes below, and we will have a basket of the traditional red flowers to toss down from the balconies onto the passing statue in the procession–for good luck! You can get some amazing photos by shooting from the restaurant vantage point on the balcony. Once the statue passes below the restaurant, the procession continues to 3 or 4 other churches where the statue’s loincloth is changed in each. The festival is very exciting because of the large numbers of people participating, and the huge and very heavy black Christ statue being carried by over 40 men, who change off every 1/2 block or so to allow another group the honor. The Lord of the Earthquakes is an important religious event for the people of Cuzco.

At the end of the trip, we fly back to Lima and connect with flights for home.  Details on suggested flights to come.

Llama+babyTRIP COST:  $3850
Single Supplement  $450

INCLUDED:
• 14 nights accommodation in boutique or heritage hotels
• All meals, soft drinks and water with meals (except 3 meals on your own in Cuzco/Machu Picchu)
• LIMA – CUZCO round-trip flights
• All transportation within Peru by private van
• All group airport arrival and departure transport on designated arrival day
• All entrance fees to the museums, archaeological sites and group events on the itinerary
• Visits to Andean highland textile villages to meet knitters and weavers
• Natural dye workshop in village (you purchase the white alpaca yarn)
• Spanish- and English-speaking tour leaders/textile expert to accompany the tour
• Private professional, licensed guide at Machu Picchu.
• Pisco-tasting and cooking class in private home in Miraflores.
• Photo and recipe book documenting your cooking class and journey!

NOT INCLUDED:

International airfare, alcoholic beverages, personal items such as laundry and internet costs (most hotels now have free wi-fi), second day entrance and shuttle to Machu Picchu, entrance fee to climb Huayna Picchu.