Pisac is a weird place, with weird stuff. I mean, where else can you find a cafe that not only serves medicinal drinks (including coffe with chaga mushrooms, for example), healthy food (think: poke bowls, rich, veggie soups and vegan cakes) AND fits in a holistic pet care service and herbal centre?
Well, Lily of the Valley has it all, and that’s why it’s one of the most loved hangouts in the area.
We caught up with the owner, Lily, to see what inspired her to create this awesome, unique space.
Tell us a bit about where you’re from and why you’re here?
Originally from Australia, I came to Peru for Ayahuasca
What do you love most – and least – about living in the Sacred Valley?
The best part is living a more simple life. It’s also easier to begin new ventures and try new things. The worst part is I’ll always feel different, and in some part, unaccepted by many of the locals here. I have local friends, but I always have this feeling that this is not my place and that I’ll never really be fully welcomed.
What on earth inspired you to open this unique cafe?
I worked online for about 10 years in women’s natural health – I was a digital nomad. I wanted to get away from the computer, so originally I was going to open up an animal naturopathic clinic (I’m an animal naturopath now after studying for the last 3 years), but knew that I wouldn’t be able to support myself fully with it, so I attached a cafe to it for the income. The clinic is still there but in its infancy.
What do you like most about owning your own business?
After working on my own for so many years, it feels good to be able to give other people jobs and to be able to support them financially through my business. I’m also proud that I actually pulled it off because to be honest it didn’t have much thought in it.
What challenges did you face setting it all up?
It was a much bigger financial investment then what I had anticipated which was challenging.
When visitors come, what do you recommend they do here in the Valley?
When friends visit Peru, I take them to some of the ruins, and of course hiking.
What are some of the most interesting experiences you’ve had living here?
Too many to write down for sure! I don’t participate in medicine ceremonies anymore, and haven’t for the last three years, but there were many memorable and life changing experiences when I was doing ceremonies.
Dating Peruvians have been a memorable culture experience (HAH!!). So has spending time at some of the more epic nature spots such as Asungate. And of course, visiting local friends in communities, seeing how they live day to day has been memorable.
Is there anything you miss about Australia?
I miss blending in, being around people that look like me. And I miss being around English all of the time, and of course in a culture that I fully understand. I also miss hot water in the kitchen and a good strong shower – I miss those things a lot!
Would you ever go back to Australia then?
I went back to Australia for three weeks in December, and I always wonder if I would want to move back there. Even though I feel more comfortable culturally there, I love my life here more. Day to day it’s more interesting here, more fullfilling, a simple life bring me happiness, and my friends in Peru are like a second family.
To visit Lily of the Valley, visit calle Grua 675 in Pisac or call +51 951 702 066
Learn more about the cafe here.