Fountain de Fotos

Peruvian Adventure

My final trip of the semester was a fabulous mixture of adventure, nature, and ancient culture. Visiting Peru was like a mixture of The Emperor’s New Groove and an Indian Jones movie. It was absolutely incredible.

IMG_3708We first arrived in Cuzco and had a terrible time adjusting to the altitude (It’s over 3400 meters there. That’s over 2 miles!!). Cuzco is fabulous and historic with lots of churches, cobblestone streets, artisan shops and close access to all the ancient ruins. Even though there is a colonial, European influence, the general architecture of the city is distinctly South American. Looking around at the stucco buildings, stone arches, and tile roofs with the mountains nearby, it was clear that the only place in the world I could be was Peru. (Fun Fact: Lima (the capital of Peru) was the “first” European founded city in South America)

View from the hostel. We had to climb up some steep hills and steps to reach it. We were quite out of breath each time we reached the door.

View from the hostel. We had to climb up some steep hills and steps to reach it. We were quite out of breath each time we reached the door.

Walkway to the hostel

Walkway to the hostel

Rocking the llama sweaters

Rocking the llama sweaters

Lord, were we harassed to buy things. You would just be sitting innocently on a bench in a park and literally every 2 minutes a new person would come up to you and try to sell you pens or panchos or llama keychains (not gonna lie I gave in and bought some of these) or alpaca hats or pottery. The joke of the trick was "the looking is free"

Lord, were we harassed to buy things. You would just be sitting innocently on a bench in a park and literally every 2 minutes a new person would come up to you and try to sell you pens or panchos or llama keychains (not gonna lie I gave in and bought some of these) or alpaca hats or pottery. The joke of the trick was “the looking is free”. It is rough to be blonde in South America.

I LOVE LLAMASSSSSS

I LOVE LLAMASSSSSS

 

After exploring Cuzco, we adventured to the Sacred Valley and visited the ruins of Ollantaytambo and Pisaq. From Ollantaytambo we took a train to Aguas Calientes, which is the town at the base of the Machu Picchu mountain (the altitude is much less here ironically).

About halfway up the ruins of Ollantaytambo

About halfway up the ruins of Ollantaytambo

Ruins of Pisaq

Ruins of Pisaq

Ruins of Ollantaytambo

Ruins of Ollantaytambo

This train was like the Incan/Pervuian version of the Hogwarts Express. It was amazing and magical and they fed us fabulous food. Unless you want to do the 4 day Incan Trail hike, through the jungle, this train is the best way to get from Cuzco to the base of the Machu Picchu mountain

This train was like the Incan/Pervuian version of the Hogwarts Express. It was amazing and magical and they fed us fabulous food. Unless you want to do the 4 day Incan Trail hike, through the jungle, this train is the best way to get from Cuzco to the base of the Machu Picchu mountain

The next morning we woke up bright and early hopped on a bus and rode it to the top of the Machu Picchu mountain. (You can climb up the mountain on foot but it takes about 1.5 hours and we were not in the mood to do that at 5:30am; I did however climd down the mountain. That took a lot less time). We explored the ruins, hung out with the llamas, and were incredibly impressed with the fog covered mountainous views.

The switchbacks the bus takes up the mountain. You are welcome to climb the trail that goes alongside that....if you want....

The switchbacks the bus takes up the mountain. You are welcome to climb the trail that goes alongside that….if you want….

Machu Picchu in the early morning fog

Machu Picchu in the early morning fog

The classic Machu Picchu shot

The classic Machu Picchu shot

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Ah yeah. We went big.

Go big or go home is what I always say

The highlight of the day was climbing Wayna Picchu, which is the mountain next door where you can overlook Machu Picchu. They only let 400 people a day go up, and let me tell you it was a brutal trek–I don’t know how these Incans did it daily. To climb up, you go up nearly vertical staircases and climb rocks (there are ropes and cables installed to assist you).  It is like 100 bleacher miles + satan drills + wallsits combined. The views and the pride that comes with knowing you survived totally vale la pena (“worth it”).

Near vertical staircases. Good luck. Thanks Incans.

Near vertical staircases. Good luck. Thanks Incans.

Looking down on Machu Picchu from the top

Looking down on Machu Picchu from the top

The Shirt climbed Wayna Picchu. Check out those views.

The Shirt climbed Wayna Picchu. Check out those views.

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This entry was published on December 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm. It’s filed under Adventures, Bucket List and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Peruvian Adventure

  1. Pingback: Empanada Nation « Fountain de Fotos

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