A cooling drink at the end of the gruelling Inca Trail inspired Jaclyn Colloton, winner of our “Belmond Moment” Writing Competition. She takes up the story...

My friend and I stumbled through the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu after four days trekking the Inca Trail—and dragged our hiking boot-clad feet to the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge. We were tired, dirty and hot. A man in a crisp uniform rushed to open the door for us, and greeted us warmly despite our exhausted, bedraggled state. His welcome came as a wave of relief.

We stepped into the lobby and the door closed behind us. The heat of our time on the trail evaporated from our skin as the cool air enveloped us, and we were overwhelmed by the silence after the press of people outside. The lobby was a true reflection of its name—a sanctuary. We were escorted inside to relax and to take the weight from our weary legs.

As we melted into the plush couch, another wonderful and smiling member of staff offered me something that I will never forget—a glass of lemonade.

Not just any lemonade, this was special. Maybe it was because of the way that I was feeling. Maybe it was because I had just spent four days on a hiking trail. Maybe it was because the taste was truly heavenly. Regardless of the reason, that drink stays in my mind as being remarkable.

As she brought the glass toward me I saw that it dripped with condensation and clinked with ice. The drink itself was slightly pink and cloudy with pieces of fruit floating in it. When it touched my lips, the crisp citrus flavour mixed with the sweetness of sugar and a tang of some unknown fruit exploded on my tongue. I tried to merely sip it but I simply couldn’t stop.

“Slow down!” my friend whispered. But it was too delicious. For the time that we sat there, the lady was so attentive that my glass never emptied. The kind smile she gave me every time we passed the glass between us made the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge my personal sanctuary.

by Jaclyn Colloton

Belmond guests were invited to share their special “Belmond Moment” in our Belmond Writing Competition, 2016. Jaclyn Colloton wins a stay at Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice. The mystery ingredient in the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge lemonade is the airampu Andean cactus.