When I signed up for the Cordillera Blanca trek, I knew that there would be support in the form of a mountain guide and a horse for carrying our stuff. It turns out, the complete team consisted not only the mountain guide and horse, but five additional donkeys and a mule to carry our things, a donkey driver to manage the animals, and a COOK! Those of you who know me well know that I am always excited about eating, and more so if the food is unique and tasty. Eating native Peruvian cuisine made from organic market-fresh ingredients and prepared by a professional cook... Ummm... Yes, please! Who am I to argue with that?! Of course, it gets better. Check out the million dollar views of several of these fine lunches. Pinch me please, because I think I may have been dreaming...
Lunch on one of our warm-up hikes outside Huaraz overlooked a ruin of a village.
Menu: Chinese stir fry made with quinoa instead of rice. The fusion of Peruvian + Chinese is called Chifa.
|The horse, Canelito ("Little Cinnamon"). Also affectionately called "Taxi," since he was our emergency ride out in case we needed it, he carried items needed for lunch. You will be amazed...|
|Commence amazement. That is our cook setting up a table WITH a tablecloth, dishes, hot tea, etc., in full cook's regalia, of course. He passed us on the trail about two hours prior. The mountain guide (who is also a trained cook) is watching! Haha!|
|Oh wait, there was more: a 360* panorama view which included this.|
|Is this losing its appeal? No, I'm still engaged in eating and panorama views. Seconds, please!|
|This spot was windy (and I wasn't feeling well), and somebody HAD to hold the tablecloth down, right? Still can't beat the view. And maybe I wasn't dreaming after all!|
|Last lunch while trekking. We are looking into the barren hills of the Black Range on the other side of the Santa Rio valley the divides the Black and White ranges, a sad sign that we were nearing the end.|
Finally, the answer to yesterday's bonus question was indeed the viscacha, a member of the chinchilla family, and neither truly rabbit nor squirrel. I also forgot to share the picture and story of my souvenir yarn. There are still many pictures and topics to cover, so hang tight. We have to finish talking about eating tomorrow, first and foremost. It concerns one of the best meals I have eaten and how it is made. In the mean time, I am ready for a snack, preferably in the middle of beautiful scenery...