Rob tells me that in his last post he didn’t go into any details about our accommodation in Cusco.
The Palacio del Inka – A Luxury Collection Hotel by Starwood was an excellent place to stay so I figured I better get on my butt and write about it.
Of course I can’t be brief, so here are all the details on where we stayed, what we ate and how we got around in and between Cusco, Aguas Caliente (Machu Picchu Puebla) and Lima during our 16 nights in Peru.
After finishing our tour of the Salt Flats in Uyuni we decided to fly to La Paz instead of sitting in a bus for eight hours, which had no appeal for anyone.
La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia and sits over 3,500m above sea level with close to one million inhabitants. The Canadian Government Travel Smart app had many safety and security warnings about La Paz. But we found it to be a very friendly city with good food and interesting sites.
From Salta Argentina it is a seven and a half hour drive north to the border town of La Quiaca where we would dismount, walk across the border and voila we would be in Villazon, Bolivia. What could go wrong?
From August to October 1993 I was backpacking through Europe with two friends, Lee Gagne and Natalie Roussy. We had Euro-rail passes and travelled pretty much everywhere in Europe. In Rome, I made a special request to go looking for the statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi. Why? I was taking European history at Carleton and learned he was a national hero who had helped establish the unification of Italy in 1860. All I had was a couple of paragraphs on his history (as this was pre-internet).
We spent the day trudging up and down some hills, stopping for beer and wine, and we never did find the statue.
We left Cordoba in the early afternoon and flew direct to Iguazu Falls. Colleen chose the destination as it is one of the three great Water Falls in the World: Victoria Falls, Iguazu Falls and Niagara Falls. Two words: Bucket List!
I don’t know why we didn’t like Buenos Aires more? Perhaps because of our budget, concerns over safety, or it was just too big and impersonal. We arrived on the 7th of December from the Cruise ship and made our way to our first hotel the Sheraton Liberador. It was a nice hotel although the elevators never seemed to work properly and getting service in the lounge was like pulling teeth. On the plus side, we received two bottles of red wine for being platinum members.
Buenos Aires just didn’t click for us in our first few days. It was just too big a city, with lots of homeless people and police everywhere. So we took the buquebus, a high speed ferry, to Montevideo in Uruguay. This is not a cheap way to travel as it cost $688.35CAD for all of five of us. They had half of the boat dedicated to duty free sales in USD. Some good deals but none that we could partake as you had to buy 3 or 4 items to make it worthwhile. It was a great destination and lots of fun.
In all honesty, this wasn’t a cruising vacation but rather a repositioning cruise to take advantage of inexpensive transportation to South America, enjoy a bit of a rest and see some extra countries along the way. Never say never, but we likely won’t cruise again for some time, particularly on a European cruise line with people who don’t line up, push people around and insist on wearing thongs and bathing suits that they probably shouldn’t have worn even in their prime.
Colleen did her homework on this one (like all of our moves) and two options for our Venice stay were in play. The first choice was an affordable VRBO right in the heart of the old city, overlooking the canals and even close to some food markets. Great location, easy access from the train station, and in the heart of Venice!
After three days of trying to book it and being told by VRBO that our multiple credit cards had been declined, we finally gave up. Our credit card was no good?! We spent a bit of time on the phone with the card company who assured everything was good on our end. Rather the IT folks at VRBO could not capture the correct information on their booking platform. We still had money – phew!
We ended up going with our second choice, the Four Points by Sheraton Le Mestre. It was a brand new and modern hotel that seems to cater to business people. The breakfast spread was awesome. It was a short five minute walk to the train terminal and we were enroute to the Old City (19 minute train ride to the centre). They even upgraded us to sweet suite! Walking to the train, the kids remarked how it was like our own neighbourhood in Barrhaven. Mestre like Barrhaven? Does that mean Ottawa is the Venice of Canada? Read on to find out …