A Travellerspoint blog

Sep 29 Heading home from Lima

overcast 17 °C

Our transfer from the hotel is at 11:30 for an hour drive to Lima’s airport. Turns out we had to pick up our luggage in Mexico City but it went smoothly enough, despite getting conflicting information on how to do that from airport staff. Aero Mexico’s meal on the way to Mexico City was inedible. I am not a picky person when it comes to plane food, but this was terrible! Before boarding for the next leg of the trip, we ate in the airport and declined the food on the plane. Arrived in Toronto at 6:30AM, caught the UP train to Union Station and then the 11:30 train to Belleville (which arrived late) where Sherrie picked us up for the hour drive home. In the house by 4:00 ... 28 hours after leaving the hotel.

So nice to be home!

Posted by barb3389 06:04 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Sep 28 Cusco to Lima

semi-overcast 18 °C
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9:15 pick up at the hotel by Dante to head for the airport. Thought we had lots of time but ran into a traffic jam and time got short. Luckily Dante had printed all our boarding passes but we still needed to use the machines to get our luggage tags and 3 of the 7 machines were broken and had long lines. I got to one first and all of my group showed up under my reservation so I could print out everyone’s, thank heavens. Got to the gate with 40 minutes to spare.

Gladys met us again at the Lima airport and we finally got to the hotel at 3:00. We are back where we started, at the Casa Andina Miraflores. It is a funny feeling to be here again, and remembering we had no idea of what was ahead of us back then. We have had so many adventures since then, it is just a dim memory of being here.

Had a lazy afternoon and the whole group met at the bar for Pisco Sours etc. Bonnie had her first glass of wine since she got sick in Colca. There were lots of laughs and funny stories. A nice ending to the trip.

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Posted by barb3389 06:02 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Sep 27 Aguas Caliente to Cusco

sunny 22 °C
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No rush this morning to go out so had a relaxing breakfast. We decided to find the Machu Picchu museum which was to be a 20 minute walk from the hotel along the road that the buses use to get to MP. This means that every few minutes a huge bus drives by on the dirt road, kicking up dirt and dust. We walked for almost an hour and didn’t find it. Paul gave up so I started back with him but ran into Kathy and Cary and decided to give it another try with them. Finally found it and it was worth the trek. It contained a lot of information and artifacts from MP. The site itself has no signage so unless you have a guide, you would have no idea what you were looking at. The museum gave us a nice map that we can now relate to the photo of the site that we took.

The trip down was all downhill so it was a long, hot slog to get back to town, inhaling dust and fumes all the way. Logged over 10,000 steps before 1:00pm. Found a nice place for tea, coffee, wonderful ice cream and danishes. Maija, Dorothy, Bonnie, Mary, Paul and I indulged and Cary and Kathy joined in.

Went back to the hotel and had a shower in the spa, felt soooo good. Met the group in the lobby and made our way to the train station to go back to Ollantaytambo on the VistaDome.

This time on the train between Aguas Caliente and Ollantaytambo we had a fashion show of baby alpaca items and of course, an opportunity to purchase, so I talked Paul into a lovely new scarf that is grey on one side and beige on the other. So soft! On our ride up to Aguas Caliente was at 7:00 in the morning so too early for happy hour. This time it was a 3:45 train so there were Pisco Sours and wine ! Quite the party.

On arrival at Ollantaytambo at 5:30, we were met by our transfer and had a bus ride of over 2 hours. Once in Cusco, we went straight to the Incanto Restaurant for our farewell dinner. It was late and everyone was extremely tired, but the food was delicious. I had the freshly made ravioli, with a chicken stuffing and yellow chili sauce. Scrumptious. As a starter, Paul had a minestrone soup with a pesto base, so it was green, and really delicious. Wish I could get the recipe.

We checked into the Casa Andina, our second stay, after 9:30PM and our fellow with our wall hanging was waiting for us ... Alejandro had called him to say what time we would arrive, so purchase completed and no charge for delivery! The big surprise was the suite that awaited us. Dining and livingroom area with a fireplace, 4 poster bed, 2 balconies. Amazing. Unfortunately only had 12 hours to enjoy it, but we did.

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Posted by barb3389 10:48 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Sep 26 Machu Picchu

sunny 22 °C
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4:00AM wake up call so we could get to the train station in Ollantaytambo for our 7:00 train. We were on the Vistadome train, comfortable 4 seat configuration with table set for our snacks. Lots of windows for the fabulous views. The train ran slightly downhill following the river. Journey was about 90 minutes.

We arrived in Aguas Calientes and transferred to a bus for the hair-raising 20 minute trip up the mountainside to Machu Picchu, a rise of 1350 feet, up to an altitude of 8150 ft.

For all the photos of this site that I have seen, nothing prepares you for the reality of your first view, which is from above looking down on the ruins. There are really no words to describe it. Every direction you turn is a Kodak moment.
Most archeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Patchacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest. Luckily the Spanish never discovered it. It is one of the Wonders of the World. Hiram Bingham discovered it in 1911.

5000 people a day visit the site but it is extremely well organized. The buses run continuously from town, so we only waited about 20 - 30 minutes to board the bus back.

We stayed overnight at Casa Del Sol, a boutique hotel in the centre of Aguas Calientes. The train tracks run down the centre of the street and are about 5 feet from the door of the hotel. Although the hotel gets a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor, we did have some issues with it, especially if your room faced the street rather than the lovely river that runs directly behind the hotel. We had to get our room changed due to the diesel fumes as did another couple and they gave us a free upgrade. They are building a bar that will be right on the river and that will be really nice as there is no other bar area other than the restaurant.

Dinner was included for us but there were no options about what to have and it was quite boring. The soup was inedible. Will have to get back to Goway about it.

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Upgraded hotel room and views from the room
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Aguas Calientes
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View from our first room, with the train under our window:
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Posted by barb3389 10:42 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Sep 25 Maras and Moray

sunny 19 °C
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Today we went to the salt mines of Maras and the terraces of Moray.

We had to travel above the salt mines through a switchback road, no barriers of course, and drop down them. A hot stream fills the wells with water which evaporates and then they scoop out the salt into 50 pound bags that are carried by hand, in some cases by women.

The mines are from pre-Inca times (13th C) where there were only 17 mines, and during the Inca time, there were 40. Now there are about 3000. There are hundreds of owners of the wells, not just one company but there is an organization that runs it, determining price etc.

We tried various salts and salted chocolate and of course did some shopping. I now have had to open up my extra bag for all our purchases.

In Moray, we visited an Inca agricultural laboratory, a series of deep terraces where the people tried experiments with different corn seeds and potatoes. The bottom of the terrace is a constant 15C and the temperature rises as the terraces rise up to the top. In this way the could see the effect on temperature and other factors on the seeds.

Another benefit was, that instead of sending bags of corn or potatoes around the country, they could determine the weather of an area, recreate it in the terrace and then send only the seeds to that city. Brilliant.

Lovely lunch at a restaurant in Ollantaytambo and then the afternoon to enjoy this pretty hotel.

Spent some time trying to figure out our luggage as our suitcases will be transferred back to Cusco tomorrow and we continue on to Machu Picchu with an overnight bag which goes to the next hotel and a backpack that comes with us to Machu Picchu. Oh my poor head. And I had to open up my extra bag so that I can fit in all our purchases. Didn’t think I bought that much!

Maras Salt mine
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Moray agricultural terraces. Each ring is 8 feet deep.
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Posted by barb3389 08:55 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

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