2 travelers, 6 continents, 44 countries
Machu Picchu, Peru
Sometimes the journey teaches us about the destination, and in this case, it couldn’t be more true. Walking the same path that was used by the ancient Inca in their pilgrimage to the top of Machu Picchu was surreal. I learned to pause along the way and admire the quiet beauty of nature. The days it took to reach Machu Picchu were hard, pushed me to my limits, and made me appreciate this magnificent sight that much more. On the fourth day, we woke up early to make it to the Sun Gate in time for sunrise. Looking down at this sacred city with the sun light breaking through the clouds is an image I’ll never forget.
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Two years ago on this day, I found out I had breast cancer. Yes, the dreaded ‘C’ word. This was a shock to me, because to be honest, no one in their early 30s is expected to deal with this, right? At that age, I still feel invincible, and there was no time to contemplate my mortality. I still remember getting the call from the OBGYN office asking me to come in for my results. It was then that I knew it was going to be bad news (why else would they call you in?). In that minute my world changed. At 33 years old, with no family history, I sat there in silence as the doctor told me I had ductal carcinoma-in-situ. That was the bad news; the good news I was told, is that the cancer was caught early and was non-invasive. Yay me?
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).
For our Inca Trek, we had a porter to help carry our stuff, however, there is a 6 kg weight limit on how much a porter is allowed to carry. The limit includes the weight of the sleeping bag and air mattress, which will leave about 3 kg for personal stuff, and it all has to fit into a duffle bag. We had to balance between the weight limit and what we deemed absolutely necessary to bring for the whole trek. Anything extra would have to be carried in the day pack, but on the second day when you are climbing the steep mountain, you’ll be glad that you don’t have a 20 lbs bag on your back. Based on our experience, here are some tips on what to bring. This includes some of the tips that were given to us and some that we added from our experience.
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
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.