Saturday, October 12, 2013
Final night in Cuzco, Peru
It is late and we have dinner reservations at Cicciolinos Restaurant at 8:30pm. We checked back into this amazing hotel to a chorus of “Had we had a good time?” “Welcome back” and of course “How was Machu Picchu?” And we gave the same replies Amazing, Magnificent and Outstanding. At their suggestion, they also telephoned the restaurant and put our reservations back half an hour to nine o’clock, giving us a little breathing space. Tom sprang another request on me. When we had shopped here on Tuesday, the shop where he bought a sweater and gifts for the kids, had these gorgeous hand woven scarves. The best quality we have seen but a little expensive at about $70.00 each. He wants to buy the two we both liked plus he wants an Inca hat. You know the ones, with the ear flaps and the strings that hang down. I argue the cost but he is adamant. We haven’t seen the same quality anywhere, we really liked the design, we can afford it etc. etc. Since we don’t have time to discuss it further I suggest we take a cab as time is passing and one thing we don’t have right now is spare time. Needless to say, I am now the proud owner of a scarf and a hat and so is Tom. Given that, we arrived at Cicciolinos about 10 minutes late and given our reception on arrival, we should have left and found another place to eat, but we didn’t. This is supposedly the top restaurant in Cuzco and if our being late was a problem, they should have told us. Instead, the hostess gave us ominous looks and told us to wait. We were then shown to our table but no-one came. Not to say hello, not to offer us menus, nothing. After about 15 minutes, I was getting annoyed and cranky from a busy four days. When a couple got seated at a table nearby and were immediately offered menus and a drink order, I confess I lost it. “This is bulls*t” I said to my table fairly quietly. I try never to cuss either in public or when really angry as I think it undermines whatever point you want to make. Although Mariano and Marcela agreed, Tom blocked my way to stop me from springing from my seat. He could tell I was fuming and since no-one still approached us, finally said “You want out?” I nodded and he moved out of the way. I walked over to the wait station and our server knew it was trouble and she also knew why. She told me she had “forgotten” our table and “did not see us sitting there”. I simply told her that we had sat for now 20 minutes, she had passed our table several times so had to have seen us, she had sat another table and had already taken their order and I wanted to see the manager. I was pretty loud and several tables glanced over at the commotion. We should have left. We didn’t. Someone did come over to the table and apologized but we did not think it was the manager. Needless to say, our food was mediocre and the service barely improved. In fact, by dessert time, they told us they did not have the desserts we selected left and there was no offer of any other. Marcela cancelled her espresso and we asked for the check. Their actions seemed petty and we were not sure if it stemmed from our being late. But this is supposed to be the best restaurant in Cuzco and if that were so, we should have been told from the outset. It was a pity but we resolved not to let the one bad experience mar our near perfect four days. Unfortunately by the time we got back to the hotel it was after eleven and the bar was closed so Marcela never did get her espresso. We were also really tired and we have flights in the morning. I can only add that the breakfast buffet was spectacular and given all the fabulous food we ate in our four day trip, would forget the one bad but would never recommend Cicciolinos to anyone. Go to Inka Grill when in Cusco. We all went to the airport together and though our flight was supposed to leave first, it was delayed two hours. Oh, the joys of flying! We said a fond farewell to Marcela and Mariano as we are not sure when we will see them again but think it might be in Ecuador next year. If not, it won’t be too long as we are all very fond of each other and we really have so much fun traveling with them. Now, we need to get back to our exuberant hound, who after five days will give us a welcome fit for a king, perhaps even an Inca king. And take with us some astonishing memories of Machu Picchu.