We arrived in Rio after much drama with our flight. Our first stop was Corcovado to visit the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. It sits atop a lofty hill, overlooking all of Rio where you can see the outlying islands in the distance, giving the picture a surreal touch. The breathtaking view from here will leave you speechless.
If you’ve been following our blog for awhile, you may have noticed a trend. There is a running joke amongst our friends that we are a travel jinx. Basically, whereever we go, things tend to go sideways. For our flight to Rio, we were all packed and ready to go; we got to the airport, checked in our bags, and were ready to hit the beaches of Brazil. While we were in the lounge having a drink, Fausto’s phone started buzzing wildly. It was from American Airlines… which is never a good thing. Turns out our flight was cancelled and rescheduled for the next day. Even though there are other empty flights going to Brazil tonight, we are stuck here because they can not pull our luggage once it’s checked in. Apparently that’s the new policy. Continue reading
It’s that time of year again. The end of December is when everyone looks back over their year and makes lists. So far be it for us to not follow the trend.
2014 was one hell of a year for us. In addition to starting this blog, we still found some time to travel around the world while working full time. We were on the road almost once a month in 11 separate trips. We finally got to cross off Australia and Peru from our bucket list, which were over 2 years in planning. We’ve even literally flown around the world – flying only eastward to Australia through Abu Dhabi and then eastward home through Los Angeles. We also visited our 6th continent – only one more to go! The more we see on our travels, the more we wanted to see.
Some of the more impressive stats include: over 91,000 miles flown, on 42 individual flight segments. 7 countries, 5 continents. We spent over 26 hours flying in first class, 70 hours in business, and countless hours in coach. 12 of those flights were over 8 hours long, and 5 of those 12 were more than 12 hours – thats a lot of long-haul flying. Even with all that however, we fell short of of the re-qualification threshold for American Airlines Executive Platinum status – 100k miles. It looks like next year we’ll have to settle for being just Platinum. This means no more unlimited domestic upgrades, and no 8 SWUs for international flights, but we still get lounge access and priority seating/boarding, etc. We also have a stash of points built up this year we’ll work on using up in 2015.
Our trips in 2014 included:
This past year we specifically planned more travel than normal in order to maximize the benefits of our status. This resulted in a lot of busy weekends and running around packing, unpacking, and repacking. In fact, it felt like we spent most of 2014 living out of our suitcase. All this travel definitely took its toll on our bodies. Between the long-haul flights, meals in airport lounges, time changes, jet lag, busy weekends, and packed schedules to fit as much in as possible on our trips we both feel a bit worn down. Even though we loved every minute of of our whirlwind year, we’re also looking forward to some R&R time at home this winter. For 2015, we have a lot of ideas of where we want to go, but nothing concrete planned. We are excited to start planning our next adventure around the world (any suggestions?). It’ll be hard to top 2014, but we can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. We wish everyone a safe and happy new year!
Today we finally made it out to the Great Barrier Reef for some scuba diving and snorkeling. The Great Barrier Reef is massive, stretching almost the entire East coast of Australia. We only visited a few sites near Port Douglas. The day was beautiful and the water was calm; it was the perfect condition for diving. Even if you don’t dive, there is plenty to see as you snorkel around the shallower reefs.
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 2 months since our trip to South America. Time flies! This trip report summarizes all the posts related to our trip to Peru and provide a break down of the cost.
- Time Cost
- Total Days In Peru: 8 day – 1 days in Lima, 2 days in Cusco, 1 day in Sacred Valley, 4 days in the mountain
- Total Days Off From Work: 4 days (we went over July 4th weekend).
Getting ready for the Inca trek
Finally, after all the preparation and anticipation, we made it to the day of the trek. Starting off from Ollantaytambo, we packed our bags, said goodbye to civilization and got on the bus taking us to the km marker 82, the official start of our Inca trail. As we wound our way along the Urubamba river, the bus driver was blasting music, pumping us up for the adventure ahead. Sitting at the back of the bus, staring out at the Andes mountains I contemplated if I really wanted to go through with it and if there was time to turn back when I heard the lyric “everything that kills me makes me feel alive”. I think that’s a sign.
On the first day of our tour, we visited the valleys of the Andes. This fertile land of the Incas stretches between Cusco all the way to Machu Picchu and is filled with many archaeological sites in between.
Our first stop of the day was at the statue of Cristo Blanco (White Christ) standing tall on the hillside, overlooking the city of Cusco. From this vantage point, you can view the entire expanse of the city. The locals believe that the city was built in the shape of a puma, a sacred animal for the Incas. If you squint your eyes (and have an active imagination) you can actually see the shape of the animal forming with the Plaza de Armas being the heart and the hills where we stood being the head. Adjacent to the statue is the archaeological site called Saqsaywaman (pronounced sexay-woman) a name that means satisfied falcon. Continue reading
Flying over the Andes mountains on the way to Cusco
Cusco is about an hour flight from Lima, but it feels like a completely different world. This historical capital of the Inca Empire is nestled in the valley of the Andes mountains. Flying in, your first glimpse of the city are the red terracotta rooftops. Since this is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, most of its buildings and plazas date back hundreds of years, there are no high-rises here. Continue reading
I love to eat.
Aside from traveling, my other passion is food. I am a curious eater, which means I tend to go for the strange food people shy away from. My philosophy is: you have to try it before you can completely write it off, and most of the time the weird wacky food ends up being the highlight of my trip. Usually when we travel, I always want to try as much new and local cuisine as I can. Since I only have one stomach, sometimes the result is comical. My mom always says that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, but what’s a girl to do when there is so much good food around?
I knew the food was going to be amazing in Peru. After all, it is where ceviche is thought to have originated! There are so many things I wanted to try, but also knowing that we only had a day in Lima, I tried to be selective. Here are the highlights of all the food we ate while in Lima.