Day 7 | Sunday, October 30, 2016
Today is Steve’s birthday. It feels a little abnormal because we aren’t round family, I haven’t planned anything special and honestly the day will most likely pass without any fanfare. Steve keeps telling me that it is ok because I have found a place for us to move to today that should have far superior internet than we have had for the last week. He says that I am giving him the gift of internet.
As we are checking and double checking to make sure that we have all of our belongings packed and ready to move to our next apartment the reality that we have been in Lima a whole week is starting to sink in. Wow, a whole week. At this rate the 7 months will be over before I know it.
Now that we are all packed we have about an hour to burn between when we check out of our current place and when we can check into the next place so we are camping in the lobby of our current place using their Wi-Fi to entertain ourselves.
A quick 10 minute walk to our new apartment and we are walking into a much nicer place than we have been staying. It is much more aesthetically pleasing. It is clean and trendy. It has a desk to work at, enough closet space, a 3/4 kitchen (it is small and it doesn’t have an oven), a washer and dryer (yeah for clean laundry!), a small full bath and a queen bed. Really it is about about all these travelers need. The big selling point is that it has 60 Mb internet.
Now to unpack our belongings, get settled and head out to find some lunch. We found a place online that looks like it has promise and options for me that is just a couple of blocks away.
It was a decent lunch at a reasonable price. Nothing to write home about.
We wrapped the day up with a couple of facetime calls to the parents and called it a day.
Day 8 | Monday, October 31, 2016
I am now entering a planning phase. We are preparing to take a quick trip to visit Cusco, Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu, Puno, Arequipa and Nazca. Ok, lets go over the highlights of each destination.
Cusco – Elevation just over 11,000 feet. It is often known as the gateway to Machu Picchu but shouldn’t be overlooked as it has plenty of sites to hold its own. It was once the capital of the Inca Empire and therefore you find archaeological sites in an abundance in and around the area.
Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu – A tiny town and the closest access point to the historical site of Machu Picchu. So, there really isn’t much to do here except eat, sleep and access Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca city on a mountain ridge about 8,000 feet above sea level. I am sure most of you have seen the iconic picture. This is our take which includes llamas.
Puno – A city in southeastern Peru that is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. That is right, get your giggles out, it is a real lake. It is actually the largest lake in South America by volume and surface area. It is on the border of Peru and Bolivia.
Arequipa – The second largest city in Peru. Often referred to as the white city because of the white volcanic stone much of the city is built of. Many buildings are built in colonial style making it feel like a very Spanish city. The city is also a gateway to the Colca Canyon which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon at about 10,725 feet and where you can see Andean condors up close in their natural habitat.
Nazca – A small city on the southern coast of Peru. It is most famous for the Nazca Lines. The Nazca Lines are huge desert line drawings (some as big as a football field) that when observed from a plane can be seen to form nature drawings, including animals. There are 12 figures in total.
Day 9 | Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Day 10 | Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Sunday, November 6 at 4:55am we will fly from Lima to Cusco. A quick 1 hour and 20 minute flight and we will have all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to explore Cusco. Wednesday, November 9 at 6:40am we will hop on a train just 35 minutes outside of Cusco to Aguas Calientes. Train is the only way you can get to Aguas Calientes unless you hike and we just don’t have the time to do that. We will have most of Wednesday and Friday and all day Thursday in Aguas Calientes. Our plan is to spend two days up at Machu Picchu. Friday evening at 5:23pm we will catch the train back from Aguas Calientes to Cusco. We will spend the night in Cusco and have most of Saturday to spend in Cusco then get on a bus at 8:30pm headed for Arequipa. We will have all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in Arequipa. Wednesday, November 16 at 2:40pm we will catch a plane back to Lima. We will spend Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Lima then catch a bus Friday at 2:00pm to Nazca. We will spend the night in Nazca get up early the next day take a quick flight over the Nazca Lines and then catch a bus at 12:30pm back to Lima.
It is going to be a short and fast trip but Steve is worried about internet speeds and reliability for work so we don’t want to be away from the Lima office too long.
Here is what we would like to accomplish in each location:
Cusco – Take it easy the first day and get acclimated to the high elevation. Tour the Sacred Valley, visit Cristo Blanco statue, Choco Museo, San Pedro market, San Blas district, Museo de Arte Precolombino, Planetarium Cusco, and visit archaeological sites: Sacsayhuaman, Tipon, Tambomachay, Q’enqo and Piquillacta. Plus book Machu Picchu tour(s).
Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu – Rest the first evening and then spend two full days exploring Machu Picchu.
Puno – We ended up cutting Puno from the trip due to transportation complications. You can take the train from Cusco to Puno but it is about a 10 hour ride and costs about $292 per person (dollars not soles). You can fly for about $70 per person but the airport you fly into is about an hour away from Puno and I couldn’t figure out a good way to get from Juliaca (the city you fly into) to Puno. You can take the bus for about $22 per person and it is a 6.5 hour trip from Cusco to Puno. None of the options seemed great given our short timeline so we cut this stop because we had read mixed reviews online about whether it was worth visiting or not.
Arequipa – Visit Monasterio de Santa Catalina, the Historic Centre of Arequipa, Plaza de Armas, Museo Santuarios Andinos, Mundo Alpaca, Colca Canyon, San Camilo Market, and do the Free Walking Tour of Arequipa.
Nazca – Take a flight over the Nazca Lines.
Day 11 | Thursday, November 3, 2016
Now that we have the next leg of our trip planned let the illness set in. We both have been doing so well. On Monday of this week Montezuma’s revenge started in on Steve. Now all of a sudden I am not feeling very great. Montezuma’s revenge has hit me as well, I have horrible stomach cramps and I am exhausted. The worst part is that we have no idea what is causing it. Is it the water, some foodborne illness, a good old fashioned flu bug or a food allergy rearing its ugly head? There are so many variables in play it is hard to say. The place we are currently staying at includes breakfast (it could be something we are eating in the mornings), it could be as simple as our hosts or a restaurant we have eaten at washing fruit or uncooked vegetables with tap water, we could have eaten something that we are allergic too or we could have just been exposed to a flu bug. Whatever it is I am hoping it passes quickly as we have a very early flight to catch on Sunday morning and we need to get prepared to travel.
Fortunately this crud isn’t slowing me down too badly. I am cranking through laundry which means we will have full suitcases of clean clothes to travel with which will be really nice since we won’t have access to a washer or dryer for a week. I have decided that I am really enjoying this combination washer/dryer unit we have in this current apartment. It is great, you just put the clothes in, add the detergent, select your washer setting and dryer setting then press start. The next thing you know it sings you a little song and you pull your clean clothes out and fold them. Brilliant, none of this forgetting to move clothes from the washer to the dryer. I may just consider buying a couple of these units when we settle down in the United States instead of a washer and a dryer.
Another cool thing has happened (just God taking care of us) Steve has received permission to store part of our belongings at the Lima office while we are traveling about for the next 2 weeks. This will be really nice since the train and the bus have stricter luggage policies. We just need to divide our stuff into 2 groups tonight, that which is going with us and that which is staying in Lima.
Day 12 | Friday, November 4, 2016
Today I am doing the last of the laundry. Packing what items I can and attempting to get as much done as possible so that tomorrow won’t be a huge scramble to get ready to leave Sunday morning.
Day 13 | Saturday, November 5, 2016
We just need to pack the last of our things today, shower before going to bed, and make sure the apartment is cleaned up and ready so we can leave at o’dark thirty tomorrow morning.
Folks I think we are ready for our 2 week adventure. We will attempt to get information out as quickly as possible but hey the reality is we are living life not blogging life and the internet is not always going to be fast or reliable where we are headed.