Peru Stories - The journey to Peru

Apr 22, 2022

Peru Stories - The journey to Peru

In the months before the trip to Peru, we used a Facebook group to share plans for the trip to Peru, we introduced ourselves and swapped ideas on what to pack, bring, boots, Inca Trail videos, and Katerina prepared us mentally and challenged us physically to be fitter…

A week before a WhatsApp group was created so we could share where we were on the journey to Peru, to coordinate who arriving when for Taxies and journey moral support.

The 19 of us traveling were from around the world, many from the U.S., and others from Hawaii, England, and Europe.

Another Brit joined up for the Peru trip, a few weeks before we were to go, so we had a long call to say hello and talk logistics and flights and food :)

We arranged to meet at Wagamama’s at Terminal 5 in Heathrow, for some pre-fight food, as it was an overnighter, the long flight and we fancied some sleep rather than food.

I pre-booked my parking at Heathrow Terminal 5 short stay at £175, I sold it to myself as convenient, as only a short walk over to the departures, and because of the ease of access on return, which would be after 30+ hours of travel and I hated the idea of having to find my car in the long-stay parking when tired, I’d lost if before for hours :), on return from a trip to Germany!

I checked satnav and it said Heathrow Airport T5 from Devon was 3 hours and a bit, I watched the traffic for the week before the journey and saw that roads often snarled up, so I allocated myself a 5 hours drive window to get to Heathrow.

The day of departure arrived, I’d been packed fully, I love to plan packing, a few days before, my case with its distinctive bright blue with yellow straps, almost a homage to the war going on, was ready and I had a backpack with enough clothes for a few days, just in case the larger case got lost.

The online reviews of our airline and the experience so far of the online portal made me a little nervous about whether it would all arrive at the same time. And I still did not have the ability to check-in online and get my boarding pass! and the seats I had reserved months ago, when the app on phone worked briefly, were available to others, my new friend checked and she could book my seats if she wanted!

I took this as a test from the Universal powers, do you really want to experience the wonders of Peru? so I surrendered to what happens, happens.

I set off on the drive to Heathrow, double-checked I had my Soles ( Peruvian currency ) and some English money and Passport and details on the flights and my confirmation from yesterday's test that I was virus-free, the transit document for the Spanish airport connection and that I knew the end address…. Oh and reference for Heathrow parking, that shouldn’t be an issue as they have number plate recognition and I’d booked that in the system.

I got on the A30 and nipped along onto the M5 and then eventually the A303 and traffic slowed to a halt near Stonehenge, satnav said a hold up of 30 minutes, it's then I heard the siren and saw blue lights far behind, the traffic all moved left and right and the ambulance and police weaved through the middle of us all. I put the car in park and sat waiting to see when we’d move again and 1/2 an hour later we started off again. 

All went smoothly, apart from the VERY heavy rain, you know the sort, where the wipers are going so fast, they almost take off and you still can’t see more than a car's length and some idiots still have no lights on!

I got to the M25, the motorway that circles London, and another accident closed a few lanes of the motorway and I was delayed some more, it wasn’t surprising considering the deluge of rain.

I held my cool, I had time in hand, and eventually, after nearly 5 hours of driving, and busting for a pee, I arrived at Terminal 5 Heathrow short-stay parking, drove to the barrier and got my ticket, placed it in my phone wallet section so I’d have it for the return in 11 days. I parked one row in from the lifts and took a snap of where I was so I knew for my return. 

I grabbed the lift to departures, yes I had to wait for it a while, as you do, and one was out of service, found my check-in desk, and the line to check-in was very quiet, so I checked in early and messaged the fellow Brit who was on the train to Heathrow, she replied that she was on her way and wouldn’t be too long, so I decided to wait for her this side of security and within an hour she had arrived.

We greeted, did the must-have Selfie and She checked in her baggage and we went and did the lovely security process, taking off most of our outer clothes, shoes, belts, coats, and placing liquids in the small plastic bag, putting laptops, wallets, phones, and keys, etc into the trays and got through without any delay - super efficiency from UK borders :)

And to Wagamama’s we went, knowing that soon we’d be with Pachamama in Peru :). We had some great food and left to find the check-in gate, via a pee break first. We were waiting to board the plane when my new 'Brit' friend realised she’d left her pink scarf somewhere [ we called ourselves the Bits Are Coming in the WhatsApp group :) ), we had time so she nipped back to the loo’s to check and it wasn’t there.

We’d looked before we left Wagamama’s so we were sure it wasn’t there, but to be sure I suggested she called them and yes they had it, so she nipped back to them and they returned the pink scarf.

Our flight to Spain, Madrid was delayed and we didn’t get on the flight until 45 minutes after the original departure time, and as we had a connection in Madrid to catch, we were going to have to move some. Our pilot floored it {I did imagine my Dragon friends giving us a bit of assistance with speed too} and we made up most of the lost time and then got delayed getting off the plane! 

We had to wear the required masks during the Airport and flight time.

It was then a mad dash across the airport to our connection flight, having to go through the shops to get there!. We then had the one person who didn’t speak English {yes we need to learn Spanish} at the connection's security, we showed her all our documents and certificates and transition papers and none seemed to be good enough, so we waited a moment and then tried the other lady and she just wanted the boarding pass.

Which I didn’t have yet, however, the e-ticket got me through and we did the take it all off and put in trays security shuffle again and we were through and ran to the departure gate and made it with seconds to spare onto our Madrid to Lima (Peru) flight.

We settled in for a nearly 12-hour flight and I had a good sleep, it's never easy on a plane in ‘cattle class’, however, on this trip I had invested in a neck cushion, that wrapped around in a circle and stopped my heading lolling side to side, the seat next to me was empty and I had an aisle seat.

I slept 6 hours or so and the flight, apart from a severe lack of drinks or any kind, went well. I only wanted water, we got just 2 small drinks, I had orange, from the 2 service runs, I have to say I was gasping for a drink when we landed as was my fellow Brit who missed the service runs as she was asleep. 12 hours and 2 small drinks is not a great flight experience, it’s probably because they don’t want to spread germs!

No worries we had a 5 hours layover until the Cusco flight for my friend and 3 for me, so we would be able to grab food and drink in Lima airport.

Or so we hoped, in reality, the time to get off the plane again took a while, then we went to immigration and the line was Massive, it looked like all flights arrived at the same time and we stood in a very hot queue that snaked back and forth, we stood in that queue for nearly 2 hours and by the time we had got our bags from reclaim and then went to check those in for the flight to Cusco, my flight was only 20 minutes away from take-off!. 

I found help from a lady to check-in bags but none of my codes from the travel agent worked, so we had to queue for help at the check-in desk, by the time we got there, the queue was long and the attempt to jump it by asking another for assistance, failed, I had 5 minutes to my flight and it turned out that the e-ticket had not been set up fully on the interconnecting flight's system, we booked with Crystal travel and had flights with Iberia and Latam and the Latam part had some issues.

Anyway, by the time the guy at the desk had sorted my ticket the plane had left and I missed the flight, I soon learned that another 20 travelers had missed the same flight because of immigration delays and were all attempting to get from Lima to Cusco today too.

The next 5 hours were a waiting game, a very thirsty one, trying to get another flight, the supervisor never seemed to be about to authorise a stand by for me on the same flight as my fellow Brit and the other 20 or so people were all attempting to get another flight to Cusco too. We spoke to a group of ladies from the U.S. who had issues and missed their flight, and one of their ladies had been given a boarding pass for the wrong flight! and I meet 4 others in the same situation as me, attempting to get on the next flight.

My check-in bag was loaded onto the flight as my friend's 2nd bag, so I at least only had my hand luggage to lug about if I was stuck for the night in Lima, as the guy at the desk had confirmed there were no spaces on any flights today!

While we waited I looked after the bags and my friend went and grabbed much-needed water for us both. I prayed to Goddess Isis to create us a miracle and free up space for flights today.

We waited and waited for the supervisor to turn up and she didn’t. The time was running out FAST and I said to my fellow Brit to go and not miss her flight, and then just after she left for security and departure gate I finally got my authorisation and a stand-by ticket. 

I thanked the check-in desk guy for his persistence and help, I called him a HERO and I think I made his day!, and then I RAN all the way to security, nipped through that [getting good at this now], and ran for departures, following instructions on where to go from my fellow Brit, and puffed out from my sprint I showed the boarding gate my stand by ticket and they told me to wait. I then waited, wondering and hoping that there would be spare seats until all the passengers loaded. And then thankfully I and 4 others managed to get on board and when I sat in my seat there was a spare one next to me too! so much for no more flight spaces today!!

A short hop flight to Cusco and being a small airport meant we got the bags fast and went out into the sunshine of Cusco to meet our taxi for the final leg to Samadhi and the retreat in the Sacred Valley.

We looked for the sign with ‘Samadhi’ on it and waited, feeling the luxury of the warm sunshine, And the taxi was nowhere to be seen, one by one the taxi rank emptied and no taxi for us!

So we waited, just glad to have made it and to take the double-masks off, I could still feel the mask impression on my face for a day afterward.

We messaged base to say no taxi and they said to take one in the taxi rank, which was now empty! so a quick call and they arranged another and we waited for them to arrive. We were told to look out for a sign being held with Samadhi ( retreat name on it ), we never did see it, a guy walked over instead and said Samadhi!, we’d found our taxi, such relief, we didn’t find any water though and we're both gasping and hungry.

We then drove through a rather run-down-looking Cusco and through the thick traffic and polluted streets and then eventually out into the green and lush countryside. Our taxi driver was in a hurry and drove like a lunatic, or so it felt, the cornering was hard the braking to the speed bumps late and hard and often caused a large jolt to the passengers. I hated that road trip, after 30+ hours traveling my body and head had enough. It started to rain hard, so I let the rain come in and refresh my face, and the wind and rain gave me some respite from the awful car trip.

In one of the towns we were passing through our taxi driver stopped and dropped off a parcel he was carrying on the front seat and we saw our ‘Samadhi’ sign, the original driver we assume got delayed, and for some reason, he was standing by the roadside where the parcel was dropped off :) - it made us laugh!

We stopped after an hour or so of driving and got out to stretch our legs and look out across the sacred valley for a while and we got some more selfies and tired-looking pictures of us with the beautiful scenery beyond us.

And then off we went again at pace, and mercifully, eventually, after a detour from the wrong directions, we arrived at our destination at Samadhi. That feeling of 'Oh Yes we made it' washed away the tiredness and we were ready for the next part of the adventure.

We paid 220 Soles for the trip and thanked the Goddess that we’d arrived safe and sound(ish).

We were greeted well by the Samadhi staff and our bags were taken to our rooms and some food was put out for us, which we devoured with relish.

The event’s assistant came and greeted us and out of the big windows, that looked onto the mountains and chakra named accommodations below, we saw a very elegant lady floating across the lawn to the steps up to us, she looked like a dancer the way she moved with such ease and grace and turned out to be a Yoga teacher, who ran classes each day during the retreat, she came and greeted us too and we sat in awe of the Mountain view as we ate our food and filled our glasses with fresh water.

We’d arrived… wow what a journey that was…. and others journeying from around the globe had travel and flight issues too, so it wasn’t just us surrendering to the experience of what is….


And then Peru happened ! [ see other stories on Peru for the Machu Picchu, San Pedro, and so forth ]

Peruvian trip stories - The Seen & Unseen became seen to my right eye!


Peruvian trip stories - Walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


Peruvian trip stories - The Waterfall washed away the rod and need to go back….


The trip back, 10 days later, was far smoother apart from the Heathrow ticket machine getting my registration wrong by one letter, it turned an O into D, and therefore did not see I had re-paid for parking, it wanted to charge me over £1000 for parking! I got it sorted at the exit barrier - thankfully, oh and I took 5+ hours to drive home, as there were 2 accidents on the roads! at least the flights went without any issues :)





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