Laos, Cambodia & Thailand

Textiles, Temples and Festivals

Dates TBA for 2022

Cynthia with a renowned indigo ikat weaver.

Join us on the best SE Asian Textile Tour! You’ll be met on June 19 at the airport in Luang Prabang (Laos). We’ll have a fabulous time for 19 days then July 6 is last included night of hote. On July 7, we’ll all fly to Bangkok  (and then connect to homeward flights).  More flight info later.

HIGHLIGHTS

Go Behind-the-Scenes to see fabulous hand-woven indigo ikat textiles and two amazing and traditional festivals in little-known north-eastern Thailand! You’ll see the fabulous wax candle festival called Khao Phansa, and the Phi Ta Khon festival. These happen in two different towns but this year, they will take place within a similar time period. We’ll witness both events, and learn about the traditions and origins. These festivals showcase some of the best artists in Thailand. We’ll also see the superb UNESCO site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the golden Buddhist temples of Luang Prabang, Laos.

Weaving with a very complex system of pattern-keeping.

This is more than a textile tour, but there will be plenty of textiles! We’ll watch weavers at work, and learn how they create exquisite ikat-patterned fabric in both silk and cotton. We travel in a big loop, seeing the best of all three countries — the most interesting textiles, architecture, archeology and culture — including three UNESCO World Heritage sites.

TRIP DETAILS:

We’ll fly into Luang Prabang to see the ancient royal capital, now designated a UNESCO Heritage site. We will visit important Buddhist temples, and you’ll be able to explore this laid-back and friendly town on your own. Time to soak up the tranquil, tropical ambiance! We will spend the afternoon at the textile center of Ock Pop Tok where we’ll make natural dyes and dye silk scarves. We’ll watch talented silk weavers and eat lunch at the Ock Pop Tok restaurant by the Mekong River. Food is delicious in Laos. At dinners, see if you are brave enough to try the spicy, fermented water buffalo skin condiment! The crispy-fried river moss is delicious.

Phi Ta Khon dancer with wooden phallus.

The local market is interesting, and nearby there is an excellent new textile museum and shop. You can try shopping at the Night Market with all its handicrafts and art. Although it is getting rather commercialized, there are still some interesting things to be found. Along with the magnificently decorated golden temples, a significant part of the old town’s appeal is the many French provincial style houses, the riverside location, and the tropical ambiance. Luang Prabang is a delightful place to relax for our introduction into Lao culture.

Then we fly south to the pleasant riverside capital of Laos, the city of Vientiane. There we’ll visit the enormous textile/fabric market with exquisite examples of silk weaving. Then we’ll go with a Laotian friend to meet the weavers in a nearby weaving village. We’ll also tour the innovative silk weaving studio started by American Carol Cassidy. Vientiane has fabulous wats (Buddhist temple complexes) that we will visit too, such as Wat Si Saket with its 10,000 Buddhas.

BACK TO THAILAND

Example of cotton indigo dyeing in Thailand.Leaving Laos, we’ll drive across the Friendship Bridge, over the Mekong River and get our passports stamped at the Thailand border (no visas required). We’ll continue by private van to the village with the best Phi Ta Khon festivities.

Working within traditional styles, the mask painters and the wax carvers create stunning festival art. Phi Ta Khon costumes relate to celebrations asking for rain and fertility (thus plenty of phalluses as dance batons, above).

We’ll learn about how the participants receive blessings from Buddha and the local abbott. It’s a wild but completely safe event with lots of dancers cavorting to loud music! Dancers are interspersed with groups of elegant women in silk outfits, bearing flowers. Our hotel in the festival town is owned by a friend of Cynthia, and is especially beautiful, with its water buffalo theme – and large infinity pool.

Indigo-dyed cotton ikat weft on the loom.

After the festival, we’ll drive east to the region called Isaan, the local name for the northeast. One article describes Isaan: “Here is part of Thailand with all of the acclaimed Thai hospitality, culture, and food but none of the backpackers! Just south of the border with Laos, lies this entire region that has been little-visited  by outsiders. The area is rural Thailand at its best: farmland meets sleepy villages [and lots of textiles!]. It’s proof that Thailand isn’t completely trodden with tourists.”

INDIGO DYEING IN THAILAND

Udon Thani, with its indigo dyers, is our next destination. There we’ll visit some friends who dye cotton threads with natural indigo.  These Master dyers of cotton ikat, above, will show us their indigo pots and their tying and dyeing methods, as well as the actual weaving process. The weaver above makes her own indigo by fermenting the leaves and later adding overripe star fruits. She has many pots of dye going at once, in different stages of fermentation and readiness. In our mini-workshop, you can make a cotton indigo-patterned scarf with your choice of design!

Blue handwoven cloth with varying weft patterns, in Thailand.The weavers love to show off their skills and these visits are fascinating. The weaver in red displays her stunning fabric that shows her ingenious method of varying the patterns on their yardage. She has bound and dyed the weft threads in changing patterns so that the fabric pattern changes every yard or two. Her continual warp is unbound, plain navy blue threads.

AMAZING ANGKOR!

From Udon Thani, we’ll fly into Cambodia, to Siem Reap, to see the fabulous carved stone temples of Angkor Wat! A UNESCO Heritage site, Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples form a world-class temple complex, with sophisticated wall carvings. We always hear about just Angkor Wat but there are hundreds of temples to visit. Tuk-tuks will take us through the park to see some of the most stunning sites. A professional guide will explain the history of each temple. Just the renovation processes, or the lack thereof, are fascinating. The temple at right has been designated NOT to be touched, and to let the forest continue its encroachment. Other temples are being re-built, using ancient stone blocks when available.

UNESCO site info notes that “Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including the surrounding forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging program to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings.”

SIEM REAP TOWN

Siem Reap is a very pleasant place and we can walk almost everywhere. While visiting Angkor Wat temples and the surrounding sights, we’ll stay 4 nights in this lovely hotel (above) in Siem Reap. It boasts modern rooms, a refreshing pool and a super restaurant. One morning, we’ll learn the subtleties of delicious Cambodian cuisine (similar to Thai) in an optional hands-on cooking class in a popular local restaurant. First we’ll visit the market to learn about some of the more unusual ingredients. Then we each choose a few appealing menu items, and we chop, slice and sauté our way to a delicious lunch! The recipes will be available for us afterwards. And in the market, you can buy some typical spices to make Cambodian dishes at home, or for your foodie friends. We’ll also tour the sobering but important Landmine Museum.

Cambodia also has some of the most intricate silk ikat weaving anywhere in the world. We’ll go into the countryside near Siem Reap to visit the premier silkworm breeding and silk reeling facility. Here we’ll watch the weavers to see how different their ikat techniques are from the Thai and Lao silk ‘mat-mi’ or ikat artisans. We’ll also visit a weaving project near the hotel in town; you’ll see that conditions are very different at the two workshops. Our ‘Farewell to Cambodia’ Dinner will be followed by a performance of Phare, the renowned Cambodian youth circus – no animals – but great acrobatics!

WAX CANDLE FESTIVAL

Next stop is the riverside town of Ubon Ratchathani, known for the fabulous Wax Candle Festival. The Thais call it Khao Phansa, the start of the Buddhist Rains Retreat. We’ll arrive a day early to visit friends who will show us the incredible wax floats they are finishing up for the event. Both monks and lay people spend hours working on the wax float decorations. Each intricate wax motif is rolled out then trimmed, as if you were making cookies…see below. You can even make Buddhist merit by cutting around some of the wax shapes to decorate the floats! The embellished life-sized wax figures arranged on the floats represent stories and legends from the life of Buddha.

Stack of wax decorations ready to adorn float figures for Wax Candle Festival.

We’ll spend a few days in Ubon, seeing festival preparations and watching the parade. Alternating with the wax floats are groups of elegant and beautiful Thai dancers carrying flowers  Each wat around town enters a float (that they have worked on for many months). There is a contest for the best float creation, and there are beauty queens chosen also. As with all festivals, there are food booths with traditional dishes, desserts and soft drinks. Bring a small umbrella or good hat; the sun can be very hot during Khao Phansa. However this fabulous festival only takes place in June or July! We’ll also head out of the center of town to see some of Ubon’s amazing architectural design in the form of innovative wats and temples that the town is famous for.

On the day after the festival, we’ll fly back to Bangkok to connect with homeward flights. It’s possible to spend the night at a hotel near the BKK airport, if necessary. MORE about flights later; don’t buy plane tickets until further notice, when we confirm the flight schedule. We’ll give suggested flights; right now, it looks like the very good Cathay Pacific and Eva have the best deals round-trip to Bangkok (BKK).

TOUR COST: $4695   (18 nights in double/twin accommodations)
Single Supplement: $750
Minimum 6, maximum 12 travelers.

Delicious Pumpkin Curry with Tofu

Cambodian Cooking class in Siem Reap – Fun!

Includes:

  • Tour begins in Luang Prabang on June 19 and ends in Bangkok on July 7 after breakfast and flight.
  • 18 nights in comfortable A/C hotels in double/twin rooms (two hotels with pool)
  • All meals except three lunches and two dinners on days when the group is scattered (we will suggest possible places to eat)
  • All soft drinks and bottled water with meals
  • THREE flights: Luang Prabang to Vientiane, Laos
  • Flight from Udon to Siem Reap
  • Flight from Siem Reap to Bangkok
  • Land travel by private van with professional driver
  • Three days of entrance tickets at Angkor Wat
  • Transportation in the Angkor Wat Park and licensed guide for 2 days.
  • Tips for Luang Prabang and Angkor guides
  • Entrances to temples, archaeological and museum sites on the itinerary,
  • Cambodian cooking class at an excellent restaurant in Siem Reap
  • Phare Circus show and dinner (https://pharecircus.org)
  • An 8″ x 11″ photo book documenting your trip!

 

A generous tip per person for the Luang Prabang and Angkor guides (2 days) has already been added to the trip cost, so you don’t have to worry about tipping.

Fly into Luang Prabang (usually through Bangkok), arriving on June 19, and fly home from Siem Reap (via Bangkok) on July 7. More flight info later.

Not included:

International airfare, driver tip (count on about $30 each person), visas upon arrival [Laos USD $35 and Cambodia USD $40] at the airport or at the border when we enter, airport departure transportation, alcoholic beverages, several meals as indicated on itinerary, personal items such as luggage porter tips and between-meal snacks and drinks.

Thailand doesn’t require a visa, just a stamp in your passport and a filled-out simple form that they hand us at the border when we drive in from Vientiane, Laos.

Anyone who helps transport your bag should be tipped the local equivalent of about $1 per bag.

TURKEY: Textiles & Tulips

 

Night-time view of Istanbul's Blue Mosque.

The exquisite Blue Mosque with its six minarets; Istanbul.

TOUR DATES:  April 15 – 30, 2022.
Fly home May 1, 2022.
Scroll down for price; space limited–only two left!

 

This shows the hundreds of tulips that bloom all over Istanbul every year.

It’s said that city gardeners plant one million tulip bulbs in Istanbul every year!

Highlights of Tulip Season Tour

  • 16-night textile and cuisine tour, begins and ends in Istanbul.
  • Visit UNESCO site of Ephesus
  • See the breathtaking Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
  • Watch artisans knot carpets, make needlework flowers, and print cloth.
  • Shop in bazaars and markets for handmade rugs and textiles.
  • Stamp your traditional block-printed scarf in our workshop.
  • Meet a Turkish family for a cooking class of typical dishes.
  • Sample all the amazing Turkish foods in each region we visit.
  • Learn about the complex and fascinating history of Turkey.
  • Visit famous museums and archeological sites such as Ephesus and Topkapi Palace.
  • Explore the traveler-friendly town of Bursa and the Koza Han Bazaar.
Cynthia block-printing her scarf.

Betsy and Cynthia print scarves with hand-carved wooden blocks.

Trip Details

We’ll fly from home to Istanbul, one of my favorite cities in the world! Hopefully our visit will coincide with tulip blooming season so we can revel in the million blooms planted around the city, one bulb for each Istanbul inhabitant. Our pretty hotel is located in the heart of historical Istanbul, two blocks from world-famous architectural and cultural treasures. We’ll have a local Turkish guide to tell us about treasures such as the exquisite Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern, and Topkapi Palace of the Sultans. We’ll also visit the nearby Hagia Sophia, and learn its complex story as the superb building was changed from church, to mosque to museum and most recently, back to a mosque. The Grand Bazaar is within easy walking distance to the hotel so we’ll familiarize ourselves with the easy route to that shopping mecca of art, rugs, textiles and jewelry. Vendors are no longer pushy like in the past; bazaar edicts encouraged a more laid-back attitude and vendors are now very pleasant.

Block-Printing Center

Next we’ll fly northeast, meet our van and driver and take off into the Turkish countryside. First stop is a small traditional riverside town with historical architecture. Next day, in a town known for woodblock-printing,  we’ll have a private printing workshop. The master printer will show us how to stamp cotton scarves (left), called yazma–using your choice of the hand-carved wood-blocks traditional to the area. We’ll savor the local foods, including a famous and delicious regional pasta dish called manti.

Istanbul cafe with chicken doner, or vertical grill–yum!

Cappadoccia

Continuing south, we head to the Cappadoccia area with its dramatic eroded landscape. There we’ll sleep peacefully near Urgup village, in cozy rooms at our unique and delightful cave hotel. In our cooking class in a village home, we will learn to make delicious traditional dishes, perhaps bouerek or dolma, with fresh local, organic ingredients.

Another wonderful experience in Cappadoccia is the optional hot air balloon ride over sensational, eroded tufa stone landscapes. The balloons float safely and silently over the area, offering the passengers unparalleled views of the “fairy chimney” volcanic formations. Contrary to expectations, the early morning ride is not freezing cold; passengers are kept toasty warm by the balloon heaters. (Anyone not ballooning may sleep in, as the balloon crew leaves at 6am and returns for breakfast around 9am.)

From Cappadoccia, we’ll drive west and visit remains of the fascinating ancient city of Çatalhuyuk, believed to be the oldest city in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage site:  “The taller eastern mound contains eighteen levels of Neolithic occupation between 7400 BC and 6200 BC, including wall paintings, reliefs, sculptures and other symbolic and artistic features. Together they testify to the evolution of social organization and cultural practices as humans adapted to a sedentary life. Çatalhöyük provides important evidence of the transition from settled villages to urban agglomeration, which was maintained in the same location for over 2,000 years. It features a unique street-less settlement of houses clustered back to back with roof access into the buildings.”

Landscape in Cappadocia is even more exciting from the air; Goreme, Turkey.

Cappadocia landscape is fabulous from the ground and amazing from the air. Optional balloon ride is possible for the adventurous!

Textiles of Turkey

Turkey is famous for exquisite carpets and kilims, historical regional dress of infinite variety, and remarkable little flowers that edge the hand block-printed scarves. Everywhere we go, we’ll explore museums, studios and workshops to see examples of these brilliant creations. In the north, we will print scarves, then we’ll see rugs being made in Cappadocia. Another place we’ll visit is Konya, famous for beautiful flat-weave (discontinuous weft, kilim, or tapestry technique) rugs, and as being the home of famous Sufi poet Rumi. From Konya, we will head for Selcuk to see the famous archaeological site of Ephesus. This UNESCO site was an ancient Greek city, built in the 10th century BC. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. Ephesus was famed for the nearby Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Among many other monumental buildings are the Library of Celsus, and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators.

Celsus Library at the ancient Greek/Roman city of Ephesus, Turkey, UNESCO site.

Library at the ancient Greek/Roman city of Ephesus, another UNESCO site.

Later, we’ll drive north to Bursa, where we stay in a cozy hotel in the old town. We’ll visit the country’s best textile museum with its many fully-accessorized mannequins in traditional dress from all over Turkey. We’ll also visit the old silk market called Koza Han. There you’ll meet some antique textile dealers who will show us the incredible embroidery and needle lace in their collections. Prices here range from moderate to expensive, but there are textiles not found elsewhere.

Back to Istanbul

Then we’ll take a modern ferry back to Istanbul to see more of that exciting city. Lunch on the ferry is on your own. Next day, we’ll see the excellent Archeology Museum (near our hotel) and a friend’s upscale textile gallery, with the afternoon free. Then our final day in Istanbul is yours to see something new in the city, or return to a favorite place. Perhaps try a hamam for a sudsy scrubdown, or visit the exquisite Chora Church with its stunning frescoes – called the Byzantine marvel of Istanbul. Or you might return to admire the Blue Mosque or see other stunning architectural wonders of the city – your choice. I’m always happy to return to the Grand Bazaar with whoever wants to shop for final souvenirs and also stop by the place that sells needle-worked flowery scarf trims, above. Lunch on your own this day; there is a fabulous restaurant in the bazaar where we can have lunch; it’s owned by some dear friends! Farewell Dinner with group at our Sultanahmet hotel. Pack up and organize for flights home. (Last included night of hotel is April 30.)

Amazingly tiny and detailed needle-worked flowers trim the scarves.

Tiny and colorful handmade needle-worked flowers called Oya, ready to buy and stitch onto scarves, called Yazma. Istanbul.

Fly HOME: MAY 1.    Be sure you check out the Photo Gallery of TURKEY here.

Tour Price:  $ 5320    12 people maximum.

Single Supplement: $850

Includes the following:

  • 16 nights accommodations, (double occupancy, in charming boutique hotels, or good modern ones when necessary)
  • English-speaking, licensed, professional Turkish native guide
  • All meals –except 2 lunches and 2 dinners.
  • Unless a meal is family-style, you may order your choice of dishes in restaurants.*
  • Non-alcoholic beverages with meals (tea, coffee, ayran yoghurt drink, water, cherry juice, etc.)
  • Interior flight to Samsun
  • All ground transportation by private, high-top Sprinter van with excellent, professional driver
  • Bottled water always available in the van for road trips
  • Transportation to/from airport on set arrival and departure dates
  • Museum visits to see the textiles of Turkey
  • Cooking class and lunch in a private home
  • Entrance to all historical sights on the itinerary such as Çatalhuyuk ancient city, Ephesus, etc.
  • Private Tokat scarf printing workshop with your creations to take home.
  • SPECIAL! Photo book of your adventure once you return.

Not included: Turkish visa fee [$20 for U.S.]; free-day optional activities, airport transportation for early arrivals or late departures; hot-air balloon ride, between-meal snacks and bottled water when not in the van.

A typical room in our cave hotel in Cappadocia!

Artfully arranged salad in Tokat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: Occasionally the guide will order a generous selection of different dishes so you can taste everything, to familiarize yourself with delicious homestyle Turkish cuisine. And sometimes in a family-style home-based restaurant, everyone will be served a delicious set meal. At these events, vegetarians who can be a bit flexible will find enough vegetable dishes, fresh breads and pasta to survive quite comfortably! But many typical Turkish dishes do have a small amount of meat, such as stuffed eggplant or stuffed peppers and zucchini. More on food later.

For more information, E-mail Cynthia: [email protected]
or call 707-939-8874.

 

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.