A Travellerspoint blog

The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

The bad and the good....


View Holly's Destinations on HMB2010's travel map.

Well I have had my first real travel mis-fortune. The day before we left to hike the inca trail I came down with a bad cold, but awoke at 3:30 to get on the bus for the 2 hour bus ride to the starting point of the trail. We began under ominous cloudy skies with a little bit of rain, but it quickly changed to blaring sunshine and the morning was a great hike through relatively flat or modestly uphill climbs. However after lunch we had to climb from about 9,000 feet to just under 13,000 feet in a little over about 2 miles and the altitude plus a cold pretty killed me. Luckily camp was all set up and I climbed into my sleeping bag with some tea to warm up as it was probably about 45 degrees outside. I tried to eat some of the dinner, but had zero appetite with the cold and the altitude - notwithstanding the altitude drugs and chewing on some local coca leaves... That night thunderstorms raged over our little tents with lighting and driving rain, hail and snow. I was convinced we would be inundated with wet, but we luckily stayed dry, albeit still cold!! I probably only slept a few hours with all of the rain and wind noise and felt beyond terrible the next morning with altitude sickness. Unfortunately I decided with my guide that it would be better for me to return and go down rather than continue the hike which was going to climb another 2,000 feet on day 2. So I fully packed my gear (a porter had carried most of it up!) and returned the way I came while the rest of the group of 7 yo continue for the next 3 days. I was really bummed to not be able to complete the hike, but I felt immensly better once I had descended a few thousand feet and I didn't want to be a burden to the group or the porters if my health got worse! What I did see, the views were beautiful and it was fun to come across the local andean people for whom the path is their main road. They would be effortlessly running up and down with loads of gear while we huffed and puffed our way up. We also saw lots of local pack animals to help them out, mostly horses, but also llamas and donkeys. here is a shot of me on the hike.Day 1 on the Inka Trail

Day 1 on the Inka Trail

One happy accident about this was that I spend the night in the close by town of Ollantaytambo on annual election day which is a big deal down here. Peruvians are required to vote or pay a fine so they all turn out to vote. In the smaller villages such as this town the locals were their best clothes representing the region of where they are from. I got to see lots of locals coming together to vote and then spend the rest of the day catching up with their friends. Here is a pic.Villagers in Ollantaytambo

Villagers in Ollantaytambo

Now the good: I moved on and spent the next night in Machu Pichu town so I can meet the rest of the group first thing in the morning. Not much to say here other than I met up with the group without problem and was glad to see they all successfully completed the trip. Machu Pichu was incredible and we had perfect sunny weather. It was so peaceful walking amoung the ruins and it was fun to ponder what happened to this culture and people such that they appeared to have immediately vacated the sight. Guess we will never know for sure. Our guide mentioned a number of times that geologists believe that Machu Pichu lies on about 7 fault lines and a couple of earthquakes happen each year. There has been a degradation of the stonework on the ruins and it is possible that some day it may all fall down altogether if a big quake hits. That would be such a tragic loss. You should try to visit soon!! Here are some pics.Machu Picchu!

Machu Picchu!

Machu Picchu 2

Machu Picchu 2

I know in an earlier post I said I was going to try and be very adventuresome in my eating. Well I am sad to say that with my cold and altitude sickness I haven't really been eating the past few days, but I hope that will change soon. Sam and I did stumble across this local villager in Ollantaytambo today who invited us into his mud/thatched roof house to have a look and we came across all the cute little cuy or guinea pigs he was raising. Honestly they were so cute, I just don't know if I will be able to eat one. it would be like eating a kitten, but I will keep you posted.Cuy!

Cuy!

Off to the amazon jungle tommorrow and hoping for better health!
Holly

Posted by HMB2010 15:01 Archived in Peru Comments (6)

Cusco, Peru

Elevation - 11,200 Feet!!!!!!

semi-overcast
View Holly's Destinations on HMB2010's travel map.

Cusco Town

Cusco Town


Buenos Dias!!!!

After a long day of travel I my friend Samantha and I both successfully arrived in Cusco, Peru! We arrived to sporatic sunshine and a lovely day over this lovely town. When the sun is out it is blazing hot and you feel like your skin is drying/burning off your face, but when the clouds roll it it is pretty darn cold!!!

Cusco, is high in the andes mountains and the air is thin, but the people appear to be really nice (although to be fair, just about everyone is trying to sell you something in this tourist centric town). Sam and I have 3 days here to acclimate to the high altitude before we begin our Inka Trail hike on Saturday. We have been taking it easy, but the altitude really is tough. Get strolling too fast - and uphill and you feel like you are about to have a heart attack or pass out from lack of oxygen!

Although the town is super touristy, you can tell that much of the culture still is in place. There are many churches for this very religious people ( and they don´t mess around with sparten plain crosses, they all seem to have a bleeding jesus on board). Many people wear some traditional clothing, either alpaca hats or women with skirts, bowler hats and their kid strapped onto their back in a colorful andean clothe.

This pic, while appearing traditional, is in fact a women working for her living. Take a picture and pay her a few soles... (about a buck)
Cusco people

Cusco people

We have also been really enjoying the food. We had some Alpaca kebabs - really tasty and today we followed Anthony Bourdain´s advice and went to the local market which was full of women selling everything food based under the sun (everything looked great and incredibly fresh)! We sat at one of the local counters and the nice women gave us 2 sopas de verdura (vegetable soup) - Note, with a big hunk of what appeared to be beef in it - vegetarians beware! for $1.00 total, not each! And it was really tasty!!! (and no ill effects yet 6 hours later so I am calling that a big success!)

This pic is from our afternoon adventure - we took a cab up to some local Inka ruins and wandered around for a while and walked home to get the legs streched for the big hike.
Samantha and me at Inka Ruins

Samantha and me at Inka Ruins


More to come after we finish the 4 day Inka trail hike ending up in Machu Pichu!

Holly

Posted by HMB2010 17:17 Archived in Peru Comments (5)

Columbus, OH

Ready to depart to South America


View Holly's Destinations on HMB2010's travel map.

Just a quick post:
I can't believe I have been visiting with my sister and her family in suburban OH for over a week and I am finally heading to South America tomorrow morning!!!

It has been a crazy busy fun week of hanging with my nephews (Gavin is a little over 5 and Luke a little over 3) doing a whole lot of normal stuff - lots of playing, shopping, tennis, walking the dog (fighting over who gets to hold the leash), Chuck e Cheese - lucky kids, etc.....

Anyway, I just packed my 2 relatively little backpacks for my 3 months of adventure. My next post will be from south of the equator.

Thanks to all of you who posted me ideas for books - I have loaded up my Kindle with, I hope, lots of good reading material. I did this week manage to read the last of the Dragon Tattoo series - The girl who kicked the hornet's nest. It was a great read and overall I think the trilogy is well worth the time. I have otherwise been reading guide books and just started Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to start getting into the south american mood (although I am hoping my cruise has much better results and I don't find myself being rescued!).

More to come from Peru!

Here is a pic of all the gear I am bringing!
Holly
Ready for South America!!

Ready for South America!!

Posted by HMB2010 18:33 Archived in USA Comments (4)

Amagansett

Heading on....


View Holly's Destinations on HMB2010's travel map.

Lovely Amagansett Beach!

Lovely Amagansett Beach!

Today is my last day out at the beach. It was lovely and sunny this morning, but the clouds have rolled in so I guess is a sign I should move on to the next destination!

No new raccoon sightings this week - so it seems my fierce friend has moved on!!

It has been a truly great relaxing beach week. Lots of walks on the deserted fall beach, playing fetch with Finn (OK, maybe a little bit less fetch would be great, but he is tuckered out and had a lot of fun!). I did gently encourage Finn into the water to see how his swimming skills were (ok, I admit I carried him in) and he survived and the instincts kicked in. He did spend the rest of the week running from the waves so I clearly didn't convince him that swimming was fun!

Tomorrow I am flying to Columbus OH for a little over a week with my sister Renee and her family. They have been gracious enough to watch Finn during my south american travels so we will be spending the time getting him acclimated to suburban life and getting me ready for my great fall adventure.

I posted a few other beach pics in my photo gallery.

I am guessing I may not be posting over the next week or so as I spend time with the family, but be on the look out for my posts from South America!!!! Peru and hiking the inca trail is the first up at the end of September.

Best
Holly

Posted by HMB2010 12:01 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Amagansett

Wildlife Fun!


View Holly's Destinations on HMB2010's travel map.

So one more quick story - this is a good one. My friend Stephen and I arrived on Friday night to my rental house at the beach in Amagansett. After dropping off our bags and checking out this rustic hamptons house, we soon made our way to the owners house next door in search of a wine opener and ended up staying to share a couple bottles of wine with him and his friends. Upon our return to the house we came in to find Finn's dog food removed from the top of the kitchen counters and spilled all over the floor about four feet away. Finn gave his "alert" something is around to be investigated bark and scurried after something. Not seeing our intruder we were left to guess that somehow a raccoon got into the house and helped himself to a snack (it is likely we left a door open when heading next door for what we thought would be a quick errand) and was now scared away. Not finding any sign of the intruder Stephen and I headed out to dinner.

Now to be fair, during dinner I had the thought that I left my scaredy cat of a dog to be left helpless to defend himself against a rabid raccoon and I would return to see his blood splattered all over the house (I have been reading too many murder mysteries!!!). I realized that was a momma's unrealistic nightmare!

We got home from dinner and all appeared to be fine and in proper order. Finn appeared to have been napping. However not a few minutes later Finn (now my hero dog!) went chasing after something into one of the bedrooms. I investigated and found an enormous raccoon hiding under the bed. We must have trapped him in the house with Finn when we left for dinner!!!

The owner came over and we all spent the next 1/2 trying to get the terrified creature out of the house. The raccoon ran up the wall and perched on the drapes for a while before we knocked out the window screen so he could escape.

Luckily, I haven't seen him since and no one was hurt!!

I guess I am truly in the country!!

Best
Holly
Uninvited Racoon!

Uninvited Racoon!

Posted by HMB2010 12:17 Archived in USA Comments (3)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 23) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 »