Family In The The Sacred Valley

After spending a few days in Cusco, we were eager to drop back down into the Sacred Valley and hook up with our good friend Gian Marco and his family. We had already had several great adventures with Marco up North at Pico Alto and Canete. And lets not forget the Pisco training

We arrived at the Vellutino family compound in Huaran just in time for Duilio’s birthday party, and it was a wild one. Duilio is the oldest of the Vellutino brothers, and can be seen in the photo below pouring Pisco down Marco’s throat. The younger brother, Piero, is also in the photo. He is the guy filming me filming his brothers. Missing is the father, Antonio, who came to Peru from Italy and now owns a bad ass hotel in the Sacred Valley. Got it? Ok, now you know the Vellutinos. These brothers are actually quite famous in the world of kayaking. In addition to doing most of the first descents in the country, they also run 3 different, successful tourist businesses in Peru.

Anyway, the party turned into quite a bender. I would expect nothing less from these bros. It was great to have been invited, and even better to have been accepted and welcomed as family.

I think Soleil had a fun time as well, or at least she survived her first Sacred Valley Pisco party.

Below, Gian Marco and Alejandra still holding strong in the later hours of the party. Not everyone in that photo was still standing an hour later… no names….  🙂

Marco demanded that we stay at his house in Huaran instead of a hostel. He keeps insisting that I stop acting like a tourist. Fair enough.

Actually, one of the best things about tapping into a true local is that you end up having experiences that you would never have as a “tourist” passing through.

Gian Marco has been great at getting us off the tourist path and into the real Sacred Valley. We’re pretty grateful for this. A lot of travelers who we’ve talked to have left the Sacred Valley a little bummed with the overly-touristy experience. I think we’re getting the opposite hanging out with Marco and his family.

This is the hang we’re entrenched in..

We decided that we wanted to cook Gian Marco and Alejandra a special dinner, so they took us to the grocery store to buy ingredients. This was it.

And of course, everyone wanted a piece of Sol. Yes, those are dead chickens hanging up behind them.

By the way Sis, this is how you create a vegetarian. Any questions?

So now we’re bouncing back and forth between Cusco and Marco’s house in the SV. We’ve more or less been adopted by the family.

I swear, the hardest thing about this life we live, (aside from being away from family), is meeting, falling in love with, and then having to say goodbye to our amazing friends. And each time it’s the same thing. The new family of people who embrace us act as if we just moved here/there for good. They don’t know. They don’t really understand… that we’re leaving. Despite telling them our story, and our future travel plans, they still talk about what we’re going to do next week, next month, next Christmas.

But Stevie and I know. The road life is one goodbye after another. And it’s sad.

Anybody who tells you different is either full of shit, or just bad at making friends.



Thanks Pa and Nana for my cute baby alpaca sweater and Cusco dolls. Now I’m really blending in. See you in August. Love – Soleil


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  1. My dear little Soleil…you are the most beautiful Peruvian baby…and can’t wait to see and hold you in August.

  2. Amazing. Beautiful. Thank you so much for all the wonderful people who become family along your journey. It makes it a bit easier knowing you are around people who love you every day.


    PS. That is the way to make ANYONE a vegetarian.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I love that all three of you ‘blend in’. But the best part is that you’re loved each step of your way, from here to there, loved, loved, loved.

    Ok, watching Sol grow up in pictures is tough. When can I get my smooches in on that little one? August? I’m stoked.

    Thank you for the photos, it does help ease the pining. I love you guys.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So many great shots! Happy Travels!

  5. Great Aunt Debby and Great Uncle Barry says:

    I love what a beautiful, colorful people they are. The photo of Sol in her chair laughing really captures her joy, all the photos of her are precious. Give all your friend, travel family, a big hug and tell them thanks for taking such good care of you all.

  6. Ruth Fonseca says:


  7. Christopher says:

    I love that mercado!

  8. Geeez what did that cow ever do to you! Look at her little face… ha ha

  9. Love how she’s staring at the head. Great shot.

  10. Love the market shots…fantastic!

  11. Yeah- having kids really threw us into a cocoon. All my friends disappeared.. still there, but moved on to their own families. I can imagine it would be tough meeting so many cool people. The gift you are giving with this blog alleviates those concerns you addressed i think. You guys do a great job letting all your friends know of your adventures, and keep us connected. Heck, I feel like I know you better then when we were climbing a bunch bashing our knuckles in the gorge. lol

  12. Mmmm… Eye-ball… Yum… I love the woman looking over her shoulder in the background… Back stage at the bull-fights again?

  13. I tried a cow meat taco once at our local mexican resturant, not bad. I was waiting for my to go meal and the waiters thought they’d be funny asking me to try one (they were making them for their own consumption, not on the menu). As to their amazement, I did try it and actually liked it, I gained some new respect that day!! Soleil sure is checking it out…..

  14. Kelly Breathe says:

    Too cute! You have to wonder what she is thinking looking so curiously

  15. she’s beautiful!

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