Bruce and Barbara Exstrum recently returned from a custom Myths and Mountains journey to Peru! Below is an intriguing account of their experience and a few photos, snapped along the way….

We wanted to celebrate ourmilestone birthdays with a special trip.Our planning started with Machu Picchu and escalated from there.How much could we fit into 14 days butspend enough time to get to know each place?Allie took our wish list and turned it into a well-crafted customitinerary:deep rain forest for aweek, then Cuzco-Machu Picchu-Sacred Valley, followed by a scenic bus ride toPuno with a home stay on Lake Titicaca, and just enough time for a day’s tourof Lima before heading home.We emergedat the other end exhausted (by design) but very happy and with many wonderfulmemories.We made all of ourconnections, the accommodations were as advertised, and our guides were veryprofessional, knowledgeable, and fun to be with.

We highly recommend the TambopataResearch Center for getting the full rain forest experience, complete with arare spider monkey sighting (plus watching the expert river pilots in both lowwater and very high water), Machu Picchu of course (no pictures prepare you forhow breathtaking that first view is), the bus from Cuzco to Puno (we weredubious about the wisdom of taking a 9-hour bus ride, but it’s a reallycomfortable bus with interesting stops and as it turned out, we appreciated thechance to sit for a while), and the home stay on Taquile Island in LakeTiticaca, whichcame with beautifulpeople, beautiful views, and some of the best food of the trip.

However, we may not yet be able toclaim membership in the Adventure Travel community because 1) Everything wentas planned.2) The closest we cameto a “crisis” was having the soles of Barb’s hiking boots come apart (bothshoes!) halfway through our visit to Machu Picchu. In an uncharacteristic fitof packing light, Barb had brought only these shoes on this part of the trip,but was saved by a kind vendor at the market in Aguas Calientes who not onlyhad superglue for sale, but helped us apply it to make sure it would work(temporarily, but long enough to get us through the day). 3) We spent our lastseveral hours before our late flight from Lima observing the local culture atthe high-end cliffside Larcomar shopping center (but there is a small satelliteof the Gold Museum there).Did wemention we were exhausted and not thinking clearly?

Thanks again to Allie, Katie, andeveryone at M&M and their excellent local providers for giving us such amemorable experience and several future months of sorting and editing thephotos.