A Travellerspoint blog

more annoying than mosquitos!?

sunny
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As we began to head down from Machu Picchu, both Jen and I realized we had bites all over. They were not a mosquito, but rather some sort of bug sniper, as they had left blood and little bullseye marks all over us. It sounds gross, and it was. As we rode the bus back down the switchbacks again, I gazed out the window at the breathtaking scenery, but could not keep myself from realizing the presence of at least a couple dozen spots on my arms.
Upon arriving back in Aguas, we headed back to the hotel to relax a bit and recover from our attack. Then, we headed out for dinner to Indio Feliz, a fun little French-Peruvian restaurant. Feeling completely drained mentally, emotionally and physically from the day, we filled ourselves with amazing food. A stuffed avacado started things off, followed by salmon cooked with mangos and herbs served with fresh potato chips and some sort of cream caramel concoction wrapped things up. Yummy. A thorough application of anti-itch cream is the last thing I remember before drifting off to sleep.
2:07 a.m. I have never in my life felt my arms itch so much before. I knew I probably shouldn´t scratch them, but my hand seemed to move without my permission. I closed my eyes, pretended to ignore them and fell asleep.
5:25 a.m. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch.
7:13 a.m. I want to sleep more. Scratch. After-bite application. Scratch.
8:30ish a.m. Bug bite count....at least thirty! Scratch.
Jennifer was just as miserable, but the majority of her bites are on her legs rather than arms. We had to check out of our hotel fairly early, so we headed to an internet cafe, back to Inka Wasi for lunch and then sat in the main plaza and people watched until we had to head to the train station.
As the bell rang at the train station, I knew that our ride would be lovely. We sat across from a couple visiting from near Cambridge, England and before to long battle stories were traded regarding the sniper bugs, which we soon concluded to be sand flies or noseeums. Across the aisle from us were another couple from Canada, the husband clearly the family comedian and across from them an older woman who was super sweet with a sassy edge. Along with the striking views of peaks, valleys, rivers and farmland, some tasty snacks and good conversation, we enjoyed a fashion show of alpaca wear during the journey. Once we neared Cusco, it was dark outside, people were somber and the distraction from my itchy arms was beginning to fade...

Posted by Traveloo 08:42 Comments (0)

no wonder it is a wonder

all seasons in one day 77 °F
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The reality of explaining Machu Picchu is that there is no way to explain it with words. As we rode the bus from Aguas Calientes early in the morning up switchback after switchback, I gazed out at the breathtaking scenery and thought about the pictures of Machu Picchu I had seen and the stories I had read. I knew it was going to be awesome, but until we climbed up a small hill and caught the first glimpse, I had no idea that my heart would pound so hard. I think a tear may have also escaped my eye at that moment. We spent most of the beautiful day exploring the ruins, observing intricate stonework, drainage systems, Inca calendars and watching wild rabbits, lizards and llamas graze in their natural environment. At one point, a thunderstorm passed through leaving a rainbow behind. I can{t wait to share pictures, but know that they will never ever compare to personally viewing, touching and roaming about this magnificent wonder.
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Posted by Traveloo 07:32 Comments (2)

stepping in to the sacred valley


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By the time we awoke in the early evening, the sun was going down in Pisac. How strange and amazing it is to wake up in what feels like a different world. After downing some medicine and emergen-c (neither of us were feeling wonderful), we took in the charm of the Pisac Inn. The Inn is located on the main square of Pisac, where the valleys biggest market is held. After walking through the entry and bar area, you step into an open air area with many colors, beautiful tables of diffent shapes and sizes for the restaurant or simply lounging, flowers and plants surrounding and many other quaint and beautiful pots and other decorations. The rooms line this inner area on the ground level and along a balcony upstairs. There is also an upper eating area and a balcony overlooking the main square. It was simply lovely. I enjoyed some pumpkin cream soup (really yummy) for dinner at the inn and we headed back to bed shortly after that.
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On our second day in Pisac, we headed out the door and straight into the market. It was quickly learned that shopping in the market requires a patience for pushy people. There are hundreds of booths set up and upon walking by each one, the seller runs over and begins basically handing over items you may want to buy. Though this was tiring, the market was surely something to take in with bright colors of hats, ponchos made of llama, jewelry with unique colors and materials, multiple colors of maize and so much more. We took a break from the market to eat at a reccommended restaurant on the square where we had, though this will sound strange, the best hawaiian pizza I have ever had. I also had a banana, papaya mango juice, which was simply scrumptious. :) After a little more shopping and taking in a little more of Pisac, we chose to relax for the evening and get another night of good sleep.
The next day, we had a driver take us through one side of the sacred valley. We traveled first to Urubamba, where we stopped at Ceramica Seminaria. This ceramics studio has been in the town for decades, producing beautiful and colorful pottery, becoming so well known over time that they have a contract with Pier 1 Imports. We browsed the pottery, a little garden and saw a little monkey before heading on to Ollantaytambo. We had a guide give us a tour of the ruins in Ollantaytambo. It was so incredible to climb 200 steps up these ruins and peer across the valley at the mountainside where many of the stones for the structure came from. It seems almost impossible that the Incas could have created such places. They are magnificent. I would love to write more about this place, but I fear this blog will become a novel...
After eating lunch at a wonderful restaurant along the Urubamba river, we took the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. The train ride was absolutely breathtaking, passing small villages where fields of corn and other crops blanketed available landscape and jagged peaks shot up in the background. We arrived in Aguas and managed to find our hotel by asking locals for directions. A couple from Canada who we had seen on the train were staying at the same hotel and thanks to the guide they had with them, we joined them and purchased our Machu Picchu entrance tickets and bus tickets for the morning. Then, we joined them for a lovely dinner and piece of birthday cake for Jen. Valerie, the woman from Canada, was an artist and we had an inspiring conversation about art. We walked back to the hotel in the moist, warm air and fell asleep swiftly, with anticipation of the day ahead.

Posted by Traveloo 16:32 Comments (1)

three days of travel


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My alarm went off at 2:45 a.m. on Monday morning. I was so comfortable, but excited enough to come out from under the blanket. A half hour later, we were on the road heading towards Bozeman. I love driving in the early morning hours, before dawn even comes. The quiet empty roads and dramatically slow entrance of the light of day make me feel peaceful and inspired. Before I knew it, we were on the plane in Bozeman. The flight to Denver went by quickly and held an amazing surprise. We must have flown mostly south from Bozeman and then east across the northern mountains in Colorado, because a half hour or so before landing in Denver I looked down and saw pockets of yellow everywhere. Being able to view the aspen from the plane on this clear, late September day was awesome and I will not forget it. After a few hours of layover in Denver, we were en route to Chicago. I managed to sleep some during this flight, but by the time we landed, I was exhausted. (already)
The 28 hours in Chicago, were good, busy and sad. Monday evening, Roxy, Mark and I had our last night together in Oak Park. We ate at the Mayan restaurant near the house, sitting outside in the beautiful humid evening with fire and candlelight surrounding us. The food was incredible and my prickly pear drink was the first margarita I have actually ever enjoyed. The next morning, I gave Roxy a hug goodbye and shortly after, Mark, my sister and I headed to my new apartment to move in all of my stuff. After a few more errands and double checking our packing list, we were off to the airport. By the time we got on our Miami-bound plane, I could hardly keep my eyes open.
As we neared Miami, I concluded that my travel pillow may prove to be my wisest trip purchase. I'm a little blurry on the details of the Miami airport, but I know that once we reached the gate for Lan airlines, someone was making an announcement in Spanish that included our names. Thankfully, we figured out all of the details. It may have been after midnight, but I was still able to appreciate the luxury of Lan. We had remote controls, individual screens with a variety of tv, movies and music to choose from, a free and very good meal, pillow and blanket and quite a bit of leg room. I fell asleep watching Oceans 11, but probably only slept for an hour or two of that flight.
Upon arriving in Lima, I was pretty much a zombie. Somehow, though, we managed to navigate the Lima airport and find the gate for our flight to Cusco. Once we boarded the plane, I was about to drift off to sleep when we took off and mountain peaks started to appear. The mounains here are breathtaking. At one point I saw a glorious peak poking up through the clouds. All of a sudden, we descended into Cusco, dropping quickly while also making a 270 degree turn. With all luggage accounted for, we stepped outside of the airport in Cusco and found our taxi driver waiting for us. The trip up over a mountain from Cusco to Pisac was beautiful, with amazing mountain views and a combination of terrain and foilage. Once we arrived at Pisac Inn, both Jen and I collapsed on our beds and slept for several hours....
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Posted by Traveloo 08:46 Comments (1)

the whirlwind of september...(so far)

sunny

When I stepped on the Denver-bound plane last weekend in Chicago, I felt an excitement creep into my heart that I had not felt since I bought my Peru travel book months ago. The last few months have been filled with trip-planning, visiting friends, birthdays, babies, apartment hunting, new possible life ventures and an overwhelm of stress and emotions that would take me too many words to describe. It had all weighed in on me so heavily that my grasp of my own life had loosened dramatically.
When I transferred in Denver to the Montana-bound plane, I took what felt like my first true breath in weeks. I sat in my own row on the plane and listened to five or six people in their own rows laughing and swapping stories of fishing for shark and encountering Grizzlies. I couldn't help but smile and feel as though I had entered a new world. When we landed in Bozeman a little after 11:00 pm, I stepped off and couldn't believe how big the sky was or how many stars there were. In only a few hours, my heart had softened and returned to me.
After a crazy week of visiting family and friends, packing, getting my last shot, hiking, renewing my drivers license, going to Target what felt like 17 times, eating lots of yummy food and enjoying some silence, we are finally only a couple days away from boarding our plane to Peru! I can't wait to share the stories and photos that will soon develop. Ha ha. "Develop". Get it? So punny. What? Nobody knows what developing film means anymore? Hmmmm....
Well, I hope you enjoy this blog. Here is a map of our travels for your viewing pleasure.
Sending lots of love,
Laura :)

Posted by Traveloo 11:56 Comments (1)

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