Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Peruvian Pups: Pack Up & Wrap Up

It took four long days to get there, but we did it.  We arrived in Aguas Calientes Thursday evening, and climbed past the main square to our hostel, Pumas Inn.  It felt amazing to take a real shower, with hot water, towels, toiletries...we were deprived.  After a final trek group dinner and a pisco sour we headed to bed for an early wake up call to get to Machu Picchu.

The boo and I opted to take the bus instead of climb for a fifth day in a row.  No regrets.  For about $9 US dollars each way, we waited in line at 5am as bus after bus took off full of passengers.  We were surprised by the lines, but our guide informed us that about 3,000 people visit Machu Picchu each day.  It was crowded at 5am, but it was even more so at 10:00am.

Our guide took us around the ruins for about an hour going through the various areas of Machu Picchu.  I was amazed at the attention to detail and the accuracy with which Machu Picchu was built.  There were compasses that pointed exactly North carved into the ruins, that would point to a specific point during each solstice and equinox of the year.  There were carved replicas of the surrounding mountains that even showed the river paths if you poured water on top.  The sheer size of it was breathtaking didn't look real to me.

Luckily, boo and I were able to get tickets to climb Huayna Picchu  at 7:00am with our fellow trekmates.  Therefore we had to say goodbye to our guides and get back to climbing.  I was sad to say goodbye to our new international friends, but very excited to take on Huayna Picchu and see Macchu Picchu from its peak.  The climb was hard on tired legs, but we made it to the top within two hours.  Only 150 people can climb Huayna Picchu in a day, and as you entered you signed in so that when you signed out, they knew you didn't die on the mountain.  The path was narrow, full of uneven steps, and also filled with people.  Going down was much more intimidating than going up.  The mountain took the last of our energy and after walking around Machu Picchu once more we were pooped.  We spent the rest of our time in Aguas Calientes sipping Pisco Sours and playing Jenga before catching the train to Ollanaytambo.

Boo and I took an early flight out of Cuzco to spend a day and a half in Lima.  In hindsight, I would've rather spent additional days in Cuzco versus Lima, but we had heard that flights out of Cuzco were unreliable and that it'd be better to get an earlier flight if you need to fly internationally afterwards.  Utilizing tripadvisor, I found us activities to do in Lima and via my broken Spanish I figured out the bus system in Lima to get us to everywhere we wanted to go cheaply (think one to two soles each way).  The buses are not like the's a Volkswagon size bus with somebody hanging out of it yelling its destination in Spanish, chock full of Peruvians.  Boo and I went to a couple of ceviche restaurants (called cebicherias in Peru), one in Barranco and one in Miraflores.  We also walked around the Parque de Agua which is the largest water fountain park in the world. 

Our final adventure in Lima had us traveling via bus to Pueblo Libre to visit the infamous Museo Larco  a huge collection of Incan and pre-Incan art and artifacts.  It was really cool to link the ruins we saw in Cuzco and in Machu Picchu with what might have filled them in the Museo Larco.  It was also my last dog sighting in Peru.  Museo Larco has a museum dog named Summa, who stands out front with the guards and greets every visitor to the museum.  She's a hairless dog who doesn't sit still or keep her eyes open for pictures.

Our trip was challenging, fascinating, and worth it.  I was so proud of ourselves after finishing our trek.  I felt rewarded each day with the beautiful sights of the country both naturally and architecturally.  Peru is an amazing country and one of those places you should put on your bucket list.  It was on mine.  After our long (for Americans) trip we were anxious to see Harry, and I have so much to blog about since we've returned!

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