May 3rd we started the next phase of our South American adventure. We had just completed the Salkantay Trek May 2nd. It was difficult to say goodbye to our hiking group as we had formed quite a strong bond over the previous seven days. May 2nd proved to be quite a long and somewhat stressful day for us. We were sure that after the trek we would have an additional rest and shopping day in Cusco prior to leaving for Lake Titicaca. This was not the case. In fact, we were leaving early May 3rd which left little time for shopping and re-packing for the next phase of our adventure. We had arisen very early the morning of May 2nd to get up to Machu Picchu early so we could avoid the crowds. Once we completed our tour of Machu Picchu we had to get back to Cusco which would involve a train ride as well as a long journey by van back to our hotel. We were dropped off at the El Mercado at 6:30 PM first along with Shawn and Steve as well as Mike and Karen who were also staying at our hotel for the evening. This meant saying goodbye to Peggy, Lisa, Tim. Georgia and Raul (we had parted with Ricky the previous day). We promised to stay in touch.
The plan was to quickly accomplish some shopping in town then meet up with the remaining group staying at our hotel for a farewell dinner by 8 PM. Anna and I rushed into town and were able to purchase our Alpaca wall tapestries but had little time for any other purchases. While she was busy arranging for shipping, I scurried back to the hotel to meet up with the others at the appointed time. It was a wonderful evening dinner filled with remembrances of our previous seven days. I had ordered my meal as well as Anna’s early as I knew we still had to re-pack for Lake Titicaca. After about 90 minutes I was informed by the waitress that they were having trouble with their gas stove and dinner would be delayed. Yikes! Eventually our dinners were served and we completed our meal by about 10:30 PM much later than expected. We said goodbye to our fellow trekkers and quickly returned to our room hoping to pack up quickly so we could get some sleep. We were assigned a new room which had an external door leading to the front door of the hotel room through a short hallway. All of the doors work based on an electronic card. To our dismay the card lock refused to work for the external door. We called reception who had the same problem and then informed us they would have to get someone in to reprogram and fix the card lock. This would take approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Unbelievable! However, there was little we could do but lie down in the reception area and wait. Eventually, our door was opened and we began re-packing. This took longer for me than Anna. She got into bed by midnight but it was approximately 1 AM before I was able to rest my weary and stressed bones. We would have to get up by 4:45 AM in order to get our 7 AM flight to Juliaca via Lima.
4:45 AM came way too quickly! We were both exhausted but made it to the airport in time and were on our way to Lake Titicaca. Every flight we took had a connection through Lima. We became extremely familiar and comfortable with this airport. When we arrived in Juliaca we were met by our representative Daisy and a driver from the resort that we were staying at. They were extremely welcoming and we knew right away we would be taken care of for the remainder of our visit. They had cool drinks available for us and light lunch snacks in the van as it took approximately two hours to reach our resort.
Lago Titilaka (that is not a typo) Resort, Peru was absolutely beautiful and palatial. It rested on the shores of Lake Titicaca and would be our home for the next two and a half days. Our room was stunning and extremely comfortable. After quickly unpacking we had a quick look around the resort which had several patios overlooking different views of the very beautiful and vast Lake Titicaca. The bar was well-stocked and all beverages were included. Dangerous! We were able to join a sun-downer that evening to enjoy the sunset and also meet some of the other guests. Champagne was served as well as some beautiful hors d’oeuvres. Later that evening the resort guide led a very informative explanation of the Aymara sky and constellations. We had a fantastic meal and then settled into a deep slumber dreaming of our upcoming tours and excursions. The resort provided à la cart activities and excursions which we decided on our first day. This was going to be special.