We awoke this morning to rain - and even though it was a cold rain, several folks make the trek to MP, only to turn around and return to the hotel.
I had already decided not to return to MP this morning, as there was no way that I could match yesterday's experience. Instead, I decided to jog through Hot Springs (it was a short jog - the rain made it very slippery and yucky) and I had signed up for one of the tours offered by the hotel. We could choose between tours about bird watching, orchids, ferns, tea and a general nature walk. I was convinced the tours would be cancelled because of the weather, but I showed up anyway for the orchid tour. It turned out that Juan, the tour guide, was not afraid of a little rain nor were two other women from Australia who were staying at the hotel. We got our umbrellas and followed Juan on the orchid tour, only to discover that this is not orchid season. Nonetheless, Juan showed us a few orchids and taught us how to identify them by their leaves. There are over 300 varieties of orchids on the 4 acre hotel property as well as over 80 varieties of ferns (I think we saw every one). We also saw many varieties of birds (the hummingbirds are particularly beautiful), avocado trees, banana trees, and lemon trees. Juan then decided to take us to the tea house where we learned how tea (black and green) is made. He then took us to the herb garden and provided a full lesson about the health and medicinal properties of various herbs. We also learned that the hotel property serves as a rescue location for bears (95% of the bears in Peru are vegetarians, so they are not interested in humans).
The tour lasted for over 1 1/2 hours and it was amazing. I so enjoyed the herb garden and loved talking with Juan about the Peruvian diet and how the Peruvians use herbs. I could have talked with him forever, but it was lunch time!
After lunch, the True Blue Duke Peru Crew boarded a train to Cusco. The 3+ hour train ride included gooseberries and entertainment by the attendants. Unfortunately, a couple of the Dukies appear to have gotten the "Incan Revenge." So far, I'm OK!
Tomorrow, we visit an archaeological site and we divide into 3 groups to have lunch at private homes in Cusco. After lunch, we are going to visit a gold and silver factory.
The fun and camaraderie just keeps coming!