Machu Picchu

We probably got about 5 hours of sleep before we were up and ready to start the journey to Machu Picchu at 3:30 am. The first leg of the early morning was in a very speedy van that went around so may curves at a ridiculous speed on our way to Ollantaytambo where we would catch the train to Aguas Calientes. It was freezing in the morning and the van was not heated along from being completely impractical for sleeping, despite how tired we were. When we finally got on the train it was a very nice surprise to have comfortable window seats and heating! They even came around with a drinks cart and we had cafe con leche!

By the time we got to Aguas Calientes the weather had improved a little. It was a cloudy day, but not too hot and not too cold, perfect weather for spending the day atop a mountain in my opinion. We made sure to use the restroom promptly before our group tour left since there are obviously none in the ruins… Our travel adviser put us in an English tour group. At first we were both a little disappointed since Jess and I both speak Spanish (hers is MUCH better than mine), but after the initial introductions with the rest of our group we were both at ease. Our tour guide was very nice and spoke English very well, he was pretty intense though. We learned a lot about the Incas and the uses of the village and mainly that the town isn’t called Machu Picchu! The mountain the ruins were built on is actually named Machu Picchu. 161 162 172 179 196 207

At the end of the tour we were left with plenty of free time to explore the village and look around the mountain. A few other people from our group had decided to climb to the top of Machu Picchu to the sun gate. Above is the view from the top of the mountain allllll the way to the bottom. The sun gate is about a mile away from the village and uphill… So naturally it took us about an hour including some breaks. In the picture above you can see the windy road the buses take. It was beautiful to be at the top of the mountain, at a few different points some clouds came up around us, it was an amazing experience. Of course we were exhausted.

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This was our group of international friends. Countries of origin left to right: Germany, UK, US and US, Argentina, Brazil. At this point I have to mention something important that I have left out so far- when we got to Machu Picchu I attempted to turn on my camera…. and it wouldn’t turn on. I had plugged it in to charge it the night before and didn’t think anything of it. But the battery was shocked so I carried it all day long and took all the pictures on my iPhone.

After our trip to the Sun Gate we descended back to the terraces and saw llamas!

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After our time with the llamas we went to the other side of the mountain to relax and snack.

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When we were done eating we ended up taking another little detour to the Inca Bridge which is basically a few logs scanning a gap in the side of the mountain…. A lot of epic picture taking occurred, but I didn’t get to take many pictures on my phone. We were all tired so we decided to head down the mountain to Aguas Calientes to get some dinner. Jess and I met up with two of our other friends from the group and had a classic Peruvian drink called Pisco Sours. They were good, but not my favorite- eggs are one of the ingredients. But it wasn’t that bad. At the end of the day we got back on the train, back on the bus, and eventually we were back in the hotel ready to sleep.

The following day we left Cusco. We spent the morning doing tourist and souvenir shopping after breakfast and then got Starbucks and relaxed at the Plaza since there was a military parade going on 😉 That afternoon we flew back to Lima and I got to meet her host family and spend some time with them. It was a really nice experience and Lima was beautiful. The trip home was 3 more plane rides and I eventually made it back to the US, but it was so worth all the travel and expenses and exhaustion!

 

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Cusco, Peru and the Sacred Valley

For the first 4 months of 2013 one of my best friends, Jess, did an internship with a family of missionaries living in Lima, Peru. It was a really great experience for her and so much fun for me to hear about and see pictures. I’ve never traveled in South America and I’ve always wanted to go to Machu Picchu. What a perfect coincidence that Jess was living in Peru this year! I don’t get very much vacation time from my job so I was able to take 3 days of vacation and went over the first weekend of April to meet Jess in Cusco, Peru.

I took a total of 6 flights over the course of the trip. On Wednesday night I flew out of DC to Miami, at 1 am I flew from Miami to Lima, then early Thursday morning I flew from Lima to Cusco. I waited to meet my friend Jess at the airport in Cusco for about 2 hours, but without any way of communicating, plus my intense need to brush my teeth and lay down…. I took a taxi to our hotel and waited for her there. We stayed in a nice hotel in Cusco that was relatively close to the town center. I took a nap and Jess arrived a few hours later! We spent the first day talking with our travel guide, figuring out the itinerary, and getting used to the lay of Cusco!

ImageThis was the view of the plaza from our restaurant the first night.

Cusco is located in the Andes mountains. It is very common for people to have altitude sickness upon arriving, but we were both very fortunate NOT to experience it. We bought some snacks and large water bottles since we couldn’t drink the sink water and then we were off to bed since we had an early rise the next day. 142

This is the view from the breakfast room at the top of our hotel. Breakfast and coffee were free. We were then picked up and dropped off in the plaza to go on a bus tour of the Sacred Valley. It was a truly beautiful area.

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It was a very long day in the Sacred Valley, we didn’t arrive back to Cusco until nightfall where we were greeted by our travel advisers for our trip to Machu Picchu the following day. It was a really bad shock to find out that we would be picked up at 3:30 the next day… So we did the only sensible thing- had McDonald’s for dinner, grabbed some pastries for breakfast the next day, and went straight to bed.

NEXT: Machu Picchu

Watch Hunger Stop

Michael Kors Watch Hunger Stop

Michael Kors Watch Hunger Stop

It’s finally here!! A few months ago I was reading InStyle and saw that Michael Kors had done a special edition 100 Series watch. The actual watch itself is beautiful and the positive message and use of the proceeds helped me decide it was the appropriate time to purchase a fancy watch. The face is turquoise blue and has the world map embossed onto it. I ordered this a few months ago and it finally arrived on Saturday evening when I got home late. What a nice end to a great day!
http://www.michaelkors.com/p/Michael-Kors-Michael-Kors-Watch-Hunger-Stop-Oversized-100-Series-Watch-100-series/prod21510011___/?eItemId=prod21510011&cmCat=search&searchType=MAIN&icid=&rte=%252Fsearch.jhtml%253FN%253D0%2526Ntt%253D100%252Bseries%2526_requestid%253D202023

Pool Day!

20130623-212126.jpgOne of my good friends recently moved into a very cute apartment in Chinatown. The perk of having fancy friends is being invited to their rooftop pool in the summertime to drink daiquiris and wine and picnic indoors! Yesterday was fabulous. Unfortunately, our other friend had to leave unexpectedly after receiving some bad news, but it was a relaxing, refreshing day. We ended the night watching Silver Linings Playbook and getting take out from Nando’s, which I was so excited to try!! No disappointments.