Thursday, December 8, 2011

Machu Picchu, Quito, and beyond...

Let me first just say that I typed this all up the day after we went to Machu Picchu and as I was about to post it, the app I was using to type it shut down and instead of auto-saving it as it usually does, it was just allll gone...minus the first paragraph. I had written A LOT so needless to say I was really pissed off and stopped writing for awhile. Instead I wrote stuff down on paper while in the Galapagos. But for now let's focus on the big's what I had:
Well, it's been an interesting couple of days. I am happy to report that our day in Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu were mostly drama free. We have now made it to Quito, Ecuador and just finished a tour here. Here's what's been happening.

Day 5: Machu Picchu
We ended our stay in the Sacred Valley (after an awesome night sleep with open windows and thunderstorms) very early Friday morning. We ate some breakfast and got picked up to go to the train station that would take us to Aguas Calientes and finally Machu Picchu. 
It was pretty nice, we got to be in the vistadome train which had big windows on the top of the car so we could see above us as well as to the side of us. The mountains surrounding us were surreal. 
On a previous tour in Cusco, we met a nice couple from India,they were on the younger side but the girl had little to no interest in hiking up and big hills. I would classify myself as rather wimpy but this girl was well beyond my wimpiness...very nice though. Anyways, we saw them as we got onto the train and were looking forward to talking to them again. I was kind of wondering how she would do hiking around Machu Picchu but didn't think much of it. As the train neared Aguas Calientes which was the final train stop, it made another stop so hikers for the Inca Trail could get off. For those of you who don't know, the Inca Trail is a 4-day long hike to Machu Picchu, very steep and difficult from what I hear. I'd love to do it someday but we were no where near the hiking experience we wanted to have before doing such a trek. So...the train stops so the hikers can get off and the only people to get off are this couple from India! Jason and I literally stood up to look to make sure it was really them leaving for the trail. She was wearing a sweater, jeans, and wedges...we are still wondering what happened to them because something tells me they weren't supposed to get off there. There was no one at the stop to meet them, just them and the jungle. I hope they are ok! We never saw them up at the top...
Once we made it to our train stop and took the bus up the very winding and edge of the cliff sort of road, we finally made it to the top. We met our tour guide and entered Machu Picchu. As we rounded the trail's corner to really get a first view of the whole place I got butterflies.
It was a huge place. Awesome, beautiful, unbeleiveable. The clouds were so close you could almost touch them and the mountains surrounding it were stunning. Machu Picchu itself sat on the top of a very steep mountain...don't look down! 
We walked around the whole place with our tour guide. It was very interesting to hear about how smart the people who lived there were and the mystery surrounding why they left before it was done being built. The craftsmanship was impeccable and everything was still standing after all this time which is so impressive. 
Towards the end of the tour, Jason and I were getting antsy waiting to climb to the highest point and get that classic Machu Picchu view. As soon as the lady said goodbye we basically darted up the many stairs to the top. 
When we got there we just sat and looked and hardly spoke for the next hour. The only thing I think we did say was, ''this is awesome, this is so awesome''. It was truly a breathtaking view. It was exactly as I imagined it. So peaceful, zen, and perfect. I really don't think I can describe the breathtaking views that were there. You need to see it for won't be dissapointed. 
When we finally decided we better catch our bus back to the bottom we got up and I noticed a couple who looked like they wanted someone to take their picture. As they posed near the end of the cliff we were sitting on, I snapped the picture and suddenly the girl gasps and lets out a little scream. She was looking in Jason's direction.
I look to my right and all I see is Jason's water bottle hitting the cliff 5 feet below and don't see him anywhere. I let out a bloody murder style scream as he pops up on that cliff with a huge smile on his face. What an asshole.
The guy behind us said, "I think that scream just awoke the Incan Gods"...
I proceeded to hop down the same cliff, smack him on the face and asked him if he really wanted the day that I finally make it to Machu Picchu be the same day that my husband falls of a cliff and dies? He thought it was pretty funny...
Now that it's been a week I guess it's kind of funny...certainly memorable. Oh Jason. 
He did apologize for ruining my zen and we made our way back down to the train and after a long ass (3 1/2 hour) train ride, back to Cusco to our original hotel. On that train ride we got another meal like the morning which was fun and the crew did a fashion show and a little entertainment number. Pretty funny. We met another couple from Australia who were also going to Antarctica on a cruise after Peru...sounds so fun!
When we got to our hotel, we saw that the main square in Cusco had been all decorated for was so cute! We then found a restaurant with a balcony looking out to the main sqaure. We enjoyed a nice meal and reflected on the day...and our time in Peru. It was a fabulous success. No one died ; )
We then hit the hay for our very early morning flight back to Lima the next morning.

Day 6: Lima
On this day we were supposed to catch our plane to Lima, spend the whole day in the city and then catch a late night flight to was far cheaper that way and it sounded good in theory. That is, until my sickness hit again.
I think someone was really looking out for me so I could feel better to enjoy Cusco...but then my time was expired and when we were off to Lima-Quito...I had to pay my dues. And pay I did. 
I woke up at 3 am and I was puking my brains out and the whole she-bang. It was awful. Only this time I didn't feel better once I got on the plane. 
Sadly, we had to cancel our ride to the hotel in Lima because I was afraid I couldn't make it that long away from a bathroom. 
Jason was so nice about it and said we'd make a day of it in the airport and it would be ok. 
By the afternoon, I was feeling somewhat better and attempted to eat a few things which probably wasn't the best choice but at least I wasn't puking all day long. 
Lucky for us they had a starbucks with free wifi in the airport right next to the bathroom and also a salon where I got the pedicure I never got before we came on vacation. So it was really not as horrible as I thought it would be. Jason didn't complain once even though it was an incredibly long day. All in all, we spent 13 hours in the Lima airport. 
To go along with that splendid day, the only glitch in our vacation thus far came when we arrived to Quito and there was no one there to pick us up. We ended up cabbing to our hotel which was no big deal because it was cheap as hell, and got it straightened up the next morning. Needless to say, we were beat when we got to Quito and all I wanted to do was sleep! Jason had no qualms with that! 
I still don't really know what made me sick. I didn't drink the water...something didn't like me though...that's for sure!

Day 7: Quito
We woke up after a refreshing night sleep in Quito and looked out our window to a breathtaking view. Since it was the middle of the night when we arrived there we had no idea what was outside our balcony. It was stunning! Right in between two mountains.
Once we got our issues straightened out and realized our travel agent had given the local guide the wrong flight information, we were squared away.
The tour guide totally made up for not getting us at the airport with a kick-ass tour of Quito. We happened to come during the biggest celebration of the year in Quito, the foundation of the city celebration. He took us downtown for all the festivities. It was a gorgeous city surrounded by mountains and hills and lush forests. During the celebration, we saw all sorts of live music on the street, ecuadorian snack stands, and families just celebrating and and dancing around everywhere. It was so fun. The city itself was gorgeous and the 'old town' section was clearly built by the Spainards and had a definite European feel. 
Before we had gone downtown though, we visited the official Equator. We actually STOOD on the equator. At the equator site, there was this cute little museum with all sorts of tid-bits about Ecuador. Fun facts about the giant bugs and snakes of the Amazon, how to make a shrunken head (seriously), and also some fun fact about their local culture. Our favorite parts were the science experiments they did on the equator line. During our favorite one they had a tub of water and set it exactly on the equator line and pulled the drain plug to show that no funnel is made when you empty the drain. They then moved the tub of water to just slightly north and south of the equator to show the water funneling in opposite directions...hence our toilets flush different ways in North and South America. It's really true! The funniest part about the equator is that the spainards had built this giant extravagant monument to the equator and just within the last 10 years someone came with their GPS and noticed that they were off with their quite a bit. So we went to the official official equator and all their science experiments proved it to be true. Fun stuff. We are nerds.
Anyways, back to the city celebration. Towards the end of that tour, Jason mentioned he wasn't feeling so hot either so we decided to head back to the hotel. No puking for him but a nap was necessary. As soon as we got back there I felt a little sick myself again. We spent the rest of the afternoon taking a really long nap and ordering room service. It was kind of dissapointing but at the same time kind of welcome because we had been going non-stop for over a week. No regrets...we already decided we want to come back to Quito so we will see more next time. Healing is important! We did not want to be sickies on the cruise : )
The next morning bright and early we were off to the Galapagos...but that is for another post...this is long enough as it is. 
So as you can see, everything has been basically fabulous despite feeling sick sometimes, it never really interfered in a big way with our plans...and for that we are lucky!
Here are pictures from our day at Machu Picchu...I will add the ones from Quito in my next post : )


  1. Interesting and beautiful!! I couldn't help thinking that it would be scary to raise children way up there on the mountain!! Peggy

  2. Breath-taking!! Pituresque photographs!!

  3. I know what you mean Peggy...crazy!
    And thank you to anonymous as WAS breathtaking for sure!