I was excited to perform again at El Teatro Del Lago for Semanas Musicales in Frutillar, Chile. It was Semanas Musicales 46th season. The festival spans 16 days and my recital was set for the last day. This is probably the most beautiful theater in the world as it sits at the foot of a lake that overlooks a snow capped volcano. It is simply breathtaking. Now combine this with Bach, Piazzolla and Faure, and yes, I was in heaven. My performance was filmed to be broadcast on Chilean TV in April. So all in all, the packed theater, warm reception, standing ovation, sold out CD sales, it was a huge success and I was thrilled with the outcome.
Because my husband had never been to Machu Picchu, I decided to escort him on an unforgettable excursion to the ancient mythical city of the Inca. We spent the night in a gorgeous 1800 style hotel in Lima, the Hotel Antigua Miraflores. We visited the Cathedral with it’s captivating cavernous archways and musty, sinister crypt, complete with uncovered bones.
After Lima, we took the one hour flight to Cuzco, the ancient capitol of the Incas, which is located at 11,000 feet above sea level in the heart of the Andes. The whole area which spans 200km is enchanting. We stayed at the Hotel Arqueologo which was conveniently located close to the Plaza de Armas on the main square next to the Cathedral. We visited the Cuzco area highlights including, Pisa , Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman, Chinchero, Urubamba, Aguas Calientes, and the various Cuzco artisan markets.
Machu Picchu is not easy to get to. There is no road to get there. Everyone is forced to take the train from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes on PeruRail and from there take the bus up to Machu Picchu. My dream was to film a music video in Machu Picchu. But the “authorities” would not allow it! I was taken in like a criminal, finger printed and forced to turn over any footage. They even erased photos of me and my flute! Schmucks! I’m sure they were after money, but I refused to pay them anything for taking video of myself playing my flute. The nerve!
8 Travel Tips for Machu Picchu
1. Best time to visit Machu Picchu is from June to September. Rainy season is December thru April and the road often washes out. My tour guide said that in 2010, tourists were unable to visit Machu Picchu at all for 4 months due to the over flowing river wash out. Be sure to pack an umbrella if visiting November thru March.
3. To avoid the crowds, April, May (avoiding Peruvian rainy season) and September, October, November at the best times to visit (avoiding North American summertime). Hotel prices are much lower.
4. If price is of no concern, I suggest staying at the Tambo del Inka Resort & Spa. It offers a train ticket directly from the hotel to Machu Picchu.
5. You can book various tours from any of the tour centers that circle the Plaza de Armas.
To book day trips, out of Cuzco I recommend Peru Treks.
6. Stay away from food that is not cooked and drink only bottled water.
7. Ask before taking a picture of the locals. If they are dressed in their traditional dress, they will most likely ask (and expect) a tip for it.
8. Travel with clean, crisp bills as they reject foreign money with the slightest rips and tears. Good news is that there are ATM machines everywhere.
Lastly, learn from me, don’t try to make a music video in Machu Picchu!