An Adventure in Peru: Larry Grossman 7 at 70June 8, 2022 • By THIRDHOME
In celebration of turning 70, Larry is hitting all seven continents with the help of THIRDHOME.
As Larry travels the globe with THIRDHOME, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.
Next Stop: Peru
Look, I’m all about a relaxing vacation. Poolside margaritas, reading a good book at the beach, and maybe a yoga class or two. But this trip wasn’t THAT vacation. This was going to be an adventure. I was headed back to possibly my favorite country on the planet, Peru, for three weeks and I needed guidance and ideas. So, I did what I always do when I’m visiting a faraway place and I called my secret travel weapon, Liz Bates at THIRDHOME Adventures.
After all, post-COVID travel has gotten more complicated and more expensive, so there is little room for error. Back in the day (I’m old), there was no such thing as Expedia, Kayak and the like. There were travel agents in the mall who gave out brochures and travel advice and offered a variety of trip options. Real, live human beings who planned travel adventures for a living, and had a passion to help folks like me who wanted to explore the world. Enter Liz, a throwback to the Travel Agent Era!
I had already reserved a really cool THIRDHOME property in the Sacred Valley of Peru. My daughter, Morgan, made it clear that if I was going to Machu Picchu, she was going with me. So I called Liz and pleaded:
“I need a ‘kick-ass’ Peruvian itinerary that explores the Sacred Valley, Cusco, and the Peruvian Amazon that will be interesting for me and my 31 year-old somewhat quirky daughter who lives on Instagram.“
I knew Liz was up to the task, since she was the coordinator for Morgan and my “Colors of Morocco” tour this past October. We not only survived the tour together, but had a blast, met some great people, and decided we were pretty good travel companions. In this case, Morgan could get her Machu Picchu groove on, and I could continue my adventure into Cusco, and later, visit Iquitos and the Amazon jungle.
It was at this time I was introduced to Marco Bustamante and his travel company ,Peruvian Odyssey. After 28 years of helping Gringos and other foreigners explore his country, Marco put together the perfect itinerary that would keep both of us happy. Marco is one of those people you could sit and talk to for hours. He’s visited all corners of the globe and has a story for each corner. His plan allowed Morgan to knock Machu Picchu, one of the 7 Wonders of the World, off her bucket list and enjoy her celebrity as the Queen of Instagram. I could do my thing and take photos, explore glorious foreign markets, and practice my bad Spanish with the lovely Peruvian people. We would climb hundreds of Inca stairs while exploring ancient Incan structures and visiting villages inhabited by direct descendants of the Incas.
From Cusco and the Sacred Valley, I flew to Iquitos, Peru. After a four-hour journey by van and wooden boat, I arrived at Treehouse Lodge (suggested by Liz) to spend three nights in the Amazonian jungle doing my best Mowgli (see The Jungle Book) impression. Sleeping 60 feet above the ground while listening to birds chirping, monkeys howling, and insects buzzing is a different kind of experience for a guy who grew up in Chicago.
Over the next three days, my guide, Leyner, demonstrated why he was the guide… and I was not. Where I saw a never-ending canopy of uninhabited trees, he saw trees full of monkeys, sloths, macaws, toucans, and owls. On the river, we witnessed pink dolphins jumping during the day and cayman alligators cruising at night. In one of the Amazon riverfront towns, we met the town’s mascot: a 12-foot anaconda snake.
Trip Highlights? Here’s a few:
- Riding the Vistadome train from Urubamba to Machu Pichu. The Andes never disappoint in terms of majesty and beauty.
- Eating one of the 4000 plus varieties of Peruvian potatoes that are baked underground in a dirt cooking pit or huatia in the Andes mountains.
- Hanging out in the Cusco Plaza del Armas in the afternoon and evening. Music everywhere, aromas from the many restaurants enticing visitors, and a walk through the Cusco market for smoothies, souvenirs, or street food.
- There’s not a sight on earth that compares with looking down on the Incan village of Machu Pichu from up high.
- Going back in time several centuries to visit the high in the Andes village of Willoq, a community where time stands still and artistic, musical, cooking, and dress traditions of ancient Peruvians flourish today.
- Seeing the creepy crawlers of the Amazon up close, including tarantulas, bullet ants, the jumping stick, and the Leaf-Cutter ant.
- Visiting classrooms in remote villages to see youthful villagers fully engaged with outstanding teachers learning a new language and working on school projects.
Maybe in time I’ll be a sit-around-the-pool-guy and revel in relaxation. But for now, bring on the adventure!
World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & THIRDHOME Member