We continue our adventures in Peru by exploring and enjoying the villa and what it has to offer travelers and adventurers.
“Cusco Villas is an exclusive single home private property built for the more selective tourist looking for distinct, personalized first-class services, away from the traditional mass oriented luxury hotels. The ideal place for an extraordinary holiday, family reunion, a group of friends to vacation together, wedding celebrations and other joyful life events and corporate achievements.”
Now, just to be clear: although the official name of this residence with “Cusco Villas”, there is but one villa here. Nor is it in Cusco. So, don’t let that confuse you.
Upon entering the villa, we notice the music center with a disco light on the high ceiling, a chess board, a propane heater (they built the house with no heating system), a shiny hardwood floor, and lots of windows. Nice.
High above us is an almost-life-size relief of a musical scene. Sadly, they don’t move and no music comes from them. Still, their life-like visage constantly inspires us to dance.
The heavy chess board is mounted on a heavy tree stump, and placed such that spectators can sit on the sofa and watch in silence. However, there are but two of us here, so we play alone. Sad.
Peruvians wear wool for a reason: it’s cold in Peru. Thus, every morning we must create an inferno to bring warmth and comfort to our humble villa.
Notice the festive decorations and the mask of the fellow sleeping: It’s the Peruvian way, not to be understood by outsiders.
Of course, when the fire is not roaring, there are other ways to keep warm. Namely, playing music and dancing!
There are three bedrooms in the villa. In one we store most of our clothes. This one seems to be infected by spirits, so we do not select this one for our nightly slumber.
Our host tells us the the Dalai Lama himself—flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking—once slept in this room. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.
Things to note: (1) the opening in the wall are not sealed, but lead directly to the shower room; (2) there are six lights controlled by the switches by the door (and there are more switches by the other door; (3) there is a portable heater to keep us warm; (4) the shower leads to a sauna, but if you run the sauna and any other electrical devices, the switch to the villa overloads and the manager must contact the electric company to fix it.
This is the main reason we selected the master bedroom. Nice, eh?
Cusco Villas has no ordinary shower where you can quickly rinse off. Rather, all three showers are monuments to rainforests.
Of course, after a hard day of dancing, playing chess, and showering, one must relax under the skilled hands of a trained professional. Ahhhhhh…..
We have included a slightly sped-up video of a walk-through of the villas, for your viewing pleasure.
Dining at Cusco Villas
Peruvian food is like most food: made of fungus, plants, animals, and rocks*.
* mushrooms; grain, fruit, and vegetables; multicellular, eukaryotic organisms in the biological kingdom Animalia; salt.
It appears I neglected one of the most important foods of all: beer. Most of ours is drank (drunk?) before the meal arrives.
Hmmmm. My husband gets a chocolate-covered banana, and I get these. What is our cook trying to tell us?
Breakfast is included, and this is a typical fare. Note that the cook does not serve the omelette hot. As in, she cooks it, sets it aside for perhaps 30 seconds, then serves it, no longer hot. So, on the second day, I wait until she leaves the kitchen, then put it briefly in the microwave. When I remove it, it is sizzling; when I put it on the table and take a bite, it is no longer hot.
What I learn is that, if you are more than two miles above sea level, there is not enough air to keep things hot. Unless you want to stand at the stove and eat, it will not be very hot.
Also, that yellow liquid is not beer. Sorry.
Those eggs did not come out of a chicken’s butt. They are the tiny eggs of a quail. We can not taste a difference. But we have a lot of them to eat.
There are spaces to enjoy meals out-of-doors. County living at its finest.
We sign up to take a cooking class at Cusco Villas with our cook, harme.
We are here during the Great Covid Panic of 2020-21 (I’m sure you’ve read about it in the history books…), and this is the only unmasked photograph we have of Sharme. Sad.
We don’t know what to expect, but we are here to learn.
Sharme gathers ingredients, heats pans, mixes concoctions, and begins to prepare. When things are well established, she enjoins us to participate, by which she means that we will watch while she does all the work.
We can find nothing distinctly Peruvian or Cuscoian in the food or the preparation, but we are not foodies, so we might be missing something important. Still, it is a lot of fun.
The appetizer is square; not because we cut it square, but because the tool to form it with is square. Cool.
The meals of many places where we travel are considered healthy when they contain meat, fruit, grain, and root. Thus, this perfect, full-bodied meal!
Cusco Villas Grounds
The grounds surrounding the villa is manicured and contains a number of distinct spaces. Let’s explore!
The gate is large because cars and trucks have to pass under that arch to enter (and leave) the property. Notice, too, the homosexual-themed flag. Psych! That is the official flag of Cusco. It appears that the gay community appropriated Peruvian culture!
Notice the two turrets on either side of the gate. Sadly, these do not contain any weapons, but are purely decorative.
Yes, on the left side, you can see a small swing-set. This is probably the only house in Peru that has its own swing-set.
After a day of playing on the swing-set, you can find many areas to sit, to eat, and to rest. In fact, there are many small, semi-hidden places with lots of privacy where anything could happen…
Besides this stream, there are many aquifers that feed Cusco Villas.
Water is constantly running, keeping the fish tanks and ponds fresh, feeding the fountains and waterfalls, and occasionally turning flat grassy areas into swamps.
Cusco Villas has an abundance of flowering plants. This comes in handy when you have a birthday and your driver shows you how to celebrate like the locals by sprinkling petals on your head.
Cusco Villas has an oven, suitable for cooking bread, pizza, or whatever. However, we don’t have the patience to stock it with wood, let it heat, prepare the food, then cook it. I mean, it would take two hours to cook something that you would consume in ten minutes. But we do use the grill, which requires a lot of wood (remember, it’s difficult to heat food at a high altitude) to cook the smallest amount of food.
Yeah, we have to build a bonfire to get enough hot coals before it’s suitable for cooking.
Okay, this is the part in the old-timey movies where the picture fades to black.
The Spanish introduced horses to Peru, much to the detriment of the local Incas. Still, we don’t let ancient history deter us.
We have arranged to go riding, and have no other information. Will we be driven to where the horses are? Will we travel on a mountain path or a valley road? Will there be other people with us?
At 8:00am, right on time, we are told that the horses are ready. It seems that the fellow who manages the ride lives a few miles away, and he rode/led the horses to the villa; he is waiting for us on the other side of the gate.
Yes, those are socks on my hand. It’s cold and rainy and, stupidly, I did not bring gloves.
Still, we are in Peru, dammit, and we ride!
It looks like we are alone, but, obviously, someone is taking our photograph. The fellow who brought the horses is jogging alongside us as we ride for two hours up the mountain, and for two hours back down the mountain.
Tough folks, these Peruvians.
Peru has an abundance of plants and animal that are unusual to us, not the least of which is the skunkcow.
This is a very popular breed here, but we can’t find out why. Perhaps they are easy to find in the brush. Perhaps their hide is in demand. Only the Peruvians know…
Cusco Villas has normal critters, too.
Near the Villa
When we leave the villa, we can walk up a mountain road (in fairness, these are all mountain roads) and get a better idea of what it’s like to live in this valley.
We do not know if all the land is owned by someone, or if there are open lands available to everyone. Nevertheless, we hike a short distance up a mountain stream to find even more solitude.
This seems to be more typical of life in the Cusco valley: a self-built house, a few farm animals, some crops, and a great view of the mountains.
These people like the comfort of walls. And they are prepared for a hard winter. But the real lesson is that you either heat your house with propane, which is expensive, or with wood, which you chop yourself. If not, you will be cold. That being said…where is the chimney for the fireplace?
There is a lot here that I don’t understand.
Here are two people on a small motorcycle transporting plants. And that’s all we know.
The road between the highway and the villa is under repair, so they thoughtfully built another road for our driving convenience.
And this fellow is our driver, Lalo. You can see him eating rodents in this article: Cusco.
When we drive this road, Lalo unbuckles his seatbelt. Crazy, right? Nope. The road is SO rough that the seatbelt thinks you are crashing and tightens up so much that you can’t move. Thus, he must unbuckle or he could not effectively drive.
Let us share with you a small portion of the joys of this road. Notice in particular the “No U-Turn” sign, just in case you thought it might be a good idea.