Jan. 22—Up, Up, and Away: Orlando to Peru

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Hi and happy Friday to all, from umpteen-thousand feet as we fly southwest from Orlando to Lima, Peru. Our travel day began ultra-early, with breakfast at 5:30 am. Those of you who know me well are chuckling I’m sure, as I am not an early riser by any means. Then it was off to the Sanford airport, a smaller one just outside of Orlando. The TSA agents must have been really bored, because they were extra stringent with our screenings. Mr. Fussy did not enjoy his pat down…we have no idea what triggered it.

Once we were on the plane, all annoyances faded away. The charter 757 has about 85 first class seats, instead of the typical 230 or so. Here is Don, settling into his comfy seat.

Happy Don On The Jet.jpg

The plane has a crew of 16, including 8 flight attendants and a chef. If our first meal was any indication of the plane food, we will arrive home 10 pounds heavier. We started with champagne and caviar. The lunch appetizer was poached lobster, followed by a choice of rack of lamb, swordfish, or pumpkin gnocchi. And look at this lamb: perfectly pink! How does Chef Smith do that in a tiny plane galley?

The logistics to pull together this trip must be mind-boggling, and National Geographic does a superb job. The attention to detail is superb, right down to the smallest. For example, in each destination they provide postcards that they will mail for us. We have plane totes with duvet, pashmina, slippers, a travel amenities kit, and of course, a Nat Geo logo baseball cap. In each locale we get a few dollars of local money for small items.

Even though the flight was about 6 hours, it seemed to pass fairly quickly. Two of the National Geographic experts traveling with us gave short presentations using a special app on our iPads and the onboard WiFi. David, our cultural anthropologist, provided an introduction to the indigenous Andean cultures. He will conduct interviews with natives along the way as part of his ongoing research into living cultures. Jay Dickman, long-time NG photographer, gave us some introductory photography tips. He will be documenting our journey with us, and we get a DVD with his pictures after the trip. He’s available to help us improve our photography and will take interested photographers on special photo shoots. I’m looking forward to improving my skills, for sure.

Some fun trivia for you: the Andes is the longest mountain range in the world and the highest in the Western Hemisphere. Also, Peru is known as a language hotspot, with 104 known languages! Spanish and Quechua are the two largest. Peru is the home of the potato, and farmers grow hundreds of varieties in a rainbow of colors.

Here is a cool shot from the plane window.

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Upon arrival in Lima we had the usual immigration and customs formalities, then on to a domestic charter flight to Cusco, arriving at 7:15. It was a short minibus ride to our hotel, the Belmond Placio Nazarenas. It was originally a monastery and is well-located in the center of Cusco. It is gorgeous, with rooms arranged around courtyards. I quickly snapped a few pictures of our huge suite and the hotel on the way to dinner.

All in all, a long, tiring travel day. Tomorrow we’ll explore the Cusco area, and Sunday we’re off to Machu Picchu.

(I’m figuring out how to blog on the iPad; it’s tricky so bear with me. No I didn’t do much photo editing because it’s already late and I’m pretty tired!)

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14 thoughts on “Jan. 22—Up, Up, and Away: Orlando to Peru

  1. Oh Marlene, I feel like I’m right there with you. I love your writing and the pictures are great. I want a bath in that slipper tub! 81 first class seats. What a concept! Maybe someday…..

  2. Wonderful, as usual. You have wet my appetite all over again. We loved Cusco and Machu Picchu and you are bringing back wonderful memories. Thanks again for the wonderful travel log.
    Debby

  3. What a lovely start to a trip. I hope it all goes well ALL the time. Please be careful if you go up Machu Picchu, as I have known several people, a lot younger than you, students and people who have just finished three years in the army so were very fit, but who felt bad in the high. rare atmosphere and had to go down to the base to recover and not stay to see all the dwellings etc. You don’t want to miss out on other things. I hope it doesn’t happen to you, but please don’t take chances. Love and all good wishes for a super experience. Riva

  4. The combination of words and pictures makes me feel like I’m traveling with you. Looking forward to seeing and hearing about all your experiences as you continue on this journey.

  5. It is so much fun reading about your travels! My husband is dying for that plate of caviar you had on the plane!! I stayed at the same hotel you stayed at in Cusco on my trek to Macchu Pichu. So fun! I can’t wait to read your next blog!

    1. It was our favorite hotel so far, Tambra, although we upgraded at Raffles Le Grand Hotel d’Angkor and got a lovely suite. More on that when we see you.

  6. Your excitement and enthusiasm jumps off the page! Looking forward to sharing the journey with you, safe travels.

  7. Your photos are wonderful- seems I am on the trip too! You are making great memories for yourselves, and we are enjoying them with you!

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