More Affordable Peru

Ancient Inca lost city Machu Picchu, Peru.

We promised you a recipe straight from the pages of a Peruvian-Chinese fusion cookbook, and it’s coming soon – promise. But first, a little more about this Virgin Vacations travel package we’re rather proud of – and particularly a brief anecdote about llamas.

On day seven of our Affordable Peru (Miami Special) escorted tour, having explored mist-shrouded Machu Picchu, and as we head southeast from the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco to Puno on the miraculous shores of Lake Titicaca, you’ll see these amazing animals in abundance, grazing on the plateaus and plains. Flora Tristan preferred to call them, simply, “happy creatures.”

Flora’s words date from 1833 and appear in Eduardo Galeano’s masterly three-volume archive of the history of Latin America entitled Memory of Fire. They go something like this…

Flora is travelling through Peru, her father’s country, and in the mountains discovers ‘the only animal man has not been able to debase’. The gentle llamas are more agile than mules and climb higher. They resist cold, exhaustion, and heavy loads. With no reward they give the mountain Indians transport, milk, meat, and the clean and brilliant wool that covers their bodies. But they never let themselves be tied up or mistreated, nor do they take orders. When they let up their queenly stride, the Indian implores them to get going again. If anyone hits them, insults them, or threatens them, llamas throw themselves on the ground, and, raising their long necks, they turn their eyes heavenward, the most beautiful eyes in Creation, and softly die. “Happy creatures,” says Flora Tristan…

While your heart still melts you’ll find information about dates and prices on the main Virgin Vacations website, plus all the stuff you need to know before you go (recommended vaccinations, essential clothing and footwear, precautions against sunstroke and altitude sickness etc). There’s also a range of optional tours which you can pre-book to see more and save money – from a dinner and show in Lima, the ‘gastronomical capital of the Americas’, to an audience with an Andean shaman at a Cuzco cemetery, and much more.

You just want that recipe, don’t you? It’s for fish anticuchos with oriental sauce – a sweet-and-savoury delight found on the menu in one of the many chifas or Peruvian-Chinese eateries in Lima and Cuzco. And in short it’s pieces of firm, white, filleted fish (like bream, bass or sole) threaded on bamboo skewers with red bell-pepper and white scallion, then grilled and served with a sauce made from rice vinegar, sugar, oyster sauce, fish stock, aji pepper paste and butter. Now the least you can do is save some for us.