A Travellerspoint blog

Day 14 - Travel back home

It’s a wrap!

sunny 75 °F

Stories and Experience:
We are on our way home. Leaving Peru was another event. The last night there we encounter another small earthquake like the one in Chile on our last night there. Maybe that’s how we know it time to go. Got to the airport and stood in line checking our bag for over 50 minutes. We did not the web check-in, which would have made our wait time much shorter. On the trip I will be gaining my MVP mileage, which I’m very happy about. The only thing that I just can’t figure out and made the onboarding a very unpleased experience with the flight crew on our flight not managing the bin space. You had people, put their coats and small bag in place of the overhead bin. This didn’t leave any room for the real carry-on language in the correct overhead bin space.

Lessons learned for next time:
Next travel I’m only going to pack for four day of clothing. Everything will need to be light. Lugging around our luggage was one of the things that really slowed us down and been an issues. I would also bring a large duffle bad that can be check-in for that goodie you might want to bring back. We did pick one up in Cuzco for $38 US that was good quality and I think it will sever us well.

Gear and Advise:
Camera Lens. I would only bring one lens. I found myself only using one lens throughout the trip. My Nikon 17mm 55mm F/2 was the one that stay on my camera the most.

Clothing: I would go with lightweight good hiking pants and shirts. Lightweight and comfortable is the main key

Make sure you pockets are zipped. On this trip I lost my cell phone because the side pocket zipper were down. This little thing will cost about $250 and some inconveniences for me. I did have a phone lock and was able to disable it very quickly. It’s still a bummer!

Bring a bag cable net. Many of the smaller hotels we stayed at didn’t have a large safe. If you wish to carry a laptop, camera or other expensive goods, I thought it would gave me a piece of mind that have the security cable net around the electronic bag and lock it to the bed or some fixture. Yes, they can still get the bag if they really want to. I like to think, it help keeps the honest people honest.

I would be a good secondary smaller camera. I would still want to bring my SLR for a vacation like this. But there are times when I want it stowed away but still wanted to take pictures. The camera on today phone is good enough as a secondary camera.
I found that having a full SRL in the city was at time asking for trouble. Plus the weight and size was a drawback in moving more freely.

I would still go with my Osprey Mana 30 pack. It was just the right size for me. The water pack was invaluable. We went to the store and got a large bottle of water and filled our water tanks before we head out. This saved us, time and money in have to pay the crazy prices for water near or inside a ruins or tour.

Ending notes:
This has been one adventure. We traveled to 2 country and 7 cities in 14 days. This has been a number of first from me.
• First time on a new continent
• First time in Chile and Peru
• Able to check off Machu Picchu from the bucket list
• The highest altitude I ever hiked

I can also now check-off Chile for place to retire. I know only a few days can’t tell the whole story of a country. But after experiencing Peru, I would pick Arequipa as my top city in South America right now. There is more research and travel that will need to be completed before the final choice.

I’m glad my wife and I got to do this trip. Yes we did fight a little as stress of connection, and dragging our luggage from town to town. But it was all worth it to see my wife face when she got to the top of Huaynapicchu. It also good to see that we can work together to make a vacation and trip like this happen. I think next time; I like to reduce the number of cities and stay a day longer in Arequipa, Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town) and Cuzco.

I would also leave Chile out of the travel plans. For $160 each US person to enter the country, I would just save time and money and stay in Peru.

We have met and seen some wonder places and people during our vacation. I think that is why I love to travel. It’s is the journey and over coming obstacles to reach our destination is the fun of traveling and vacation.

Now it time to start planning our next year trip. I think we decided it would be either South Africa or Austria. Either one will be fine with me. I really do like seeing spring in November. Especially as we are now back in the Seattle November wind and rain.

Happy travel to all and safe journeys were every they may be

Posted by B4Root 17.11.2012 08:28 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 12 & 13 - Lima Peru

A few days in the city

sunny 77 °F

Stories and Experience:
We booked a guesthouse and gallery that was recommended to us by a couple that we meet named secondhomeperu. It’s well worth the price and it is a unique Bohemian Peruvian place. The home use too was the studio for Victor Delfin. The room and view are relaxing. Something we both needed. After a quick trip from the store to get some wine, cheese, salami, olives, French bread and some brownies. We went back to the hotel and had a wonderful dinner.

The 13th we did our daily walking along the beach walkway to the Miraflores shopping center. I guess we just didn’t get enough over the last few days. At the center it was like any other outdoor mall. The prices were common US prices that I have seen. So, there is no great special here, but if you forget something or wanted to get that last Alpaca item, here the place get it.

After a walk we just soaked up the sun for a bit more. Knowing that in a few days we will be back in Seattle lovely 48-degree rainy weather. Yes, get the sun now, because we might not see it for another 4 more months.

What To Do:
There appeared to be a lot going on at the beach. We didn’t get a chance to make it down there. I think is we had another day we would have put our toes in the sand for a bit.
City tours. Again we were toured out by this time and didn’t take these

Recommendation:
Make sure you know or ask about the neighborhood. The beach for example, this was one of the places that the local said to avoid after dark. I guess there are a number of robberies after dark

Gear and Advise:
Good shoes and sunscreen

Ending notes:
For us this was the wind-down to our vacation. All we were in the mood for is to eat, sleep and relax. The www.secondhomeperu.com gave us that place. It was not the misrepresented place in Chile "Posada BellaMare Lodging". It was a great finish to a very exciting and adventures vacation. Looking back, it was like a mini amazing race.

Posted by B4Root 17.11.2012 08:06 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 10 and 11 – Cuzco

A day at Cuzco - Shopping Eating and Rest

sunny 75 °F

Stories and Experience:
What an adventure it has been. What a difference a shower, food and some good rest can do. After our very full day in Machu Picchu, we rested and try to avoid any more steps. In Cuzco that is impossible. There are steps every were you look and very narrow road that you would think a car can make it down but they do. Traffic in Cuzco is crazy. The taxi driver on the way in was say the Cuzco had grown in population but the infrastructure has not been able to keep up with the growth. We stay at a nice hotel near the main square. There is plenty of shopping to do in this town. For us we headed to the market to get more Alpaca goodies. Our legs were still tired and the higher altitude really tired us out. Getting back to the hotel, I went and got another message to help ease the cramps in my legs. I thought I was fit, but boy I was surprise on much energy and lean muscle it take to keep up with high altitude, uphill roads, stair/steps and sprinting to avoid getting ran over. I’m thinking that when I get back home, that spin class is not going to be so hard.

What To Do:
Shopping, rest, and eating. There are some historical sites to see, but this trip we didn’t get to see them.

Recommendation:
Keep your belonging secured. The town has some good pickpockets
Pay good attention to the traffic. The cars and buses move really quickly
Go outside the main square for shopping. We found just as good quality for ½ the price a few block away from the main square.

Get a massage. The help loosing those tired legs and help keep you moving. At least it did for me

Shop at the end of the day. We found some great deals around 7-9 PM. The merchants what to go home and are willing to bargain

Have a list of thing you want to get. It was easy to just get everything. I made a small list before and had a good idea of what I wanted. I still got off track

Gear and Advise:
Bring an extra bag. We found some really good buys and did not have room in our luggage. We had to buy an extra bag (for 40 s) as a second check-in bag.

Good hiking or walking shoes

Sunscreen. At 3,400 m (11,200 ft) the sun even when overcast can give you a sunburn

Keep your money in two places. Don’t show all your money. I had my walking around money and that other in a secure place. If I found something I liked, I walked away for a few minute and came back. I guess I could be just a little paranoid

Ending notes:
Cuzco is a busy fun place. Like any big city you do need to bring you common sense. If found the food wonderful and Alpaca goodies plentiful. I really got hooked on the coca candy and tea while I was there. Not only it helps with the altitude sickness, it taste good too. Next stop Lima Peru

Posted by B4Root 14.11.2012 12:12 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 9 - Machu Picchu

The Big Event

rain 70 °F

Stories and Experience:
The journey start at 4:30 AM to be on the bus at 5:30 AM to get to Machu Picchu. The bus ride did not disappoint. All you can do is not look outside and just enjoy the ride. I would say that Machu Picchu is like the Disneyland for Peru and the bus ride is definitely E ticket ride. We got into Machu Picchu around 6:30 AM. The morning sun was just rising and the place is truly amazing. We did go off to the left to get away from the crowds and found a nice path were we stay for a little bit and just took in the whole place. The birds were sing as Machu Picchu woke up. We both had a very peaceful moment. We headed up to look over the main city and I think all I said in the next hour or more was WOW and Amazing. There are truly no words to describe this place. The thought of how and why did they built this wonder place is mind boggling.

We head into the main village ruins and there, I could visualize the town filled with people doing their daily routines. The village is indescribable, lucky I took a number of Pictures that I hope will turn out and will tell the story.

We had ticket to Huaynapicchu for the 10:30 AM. They only let 200 people in at a time two times a day. The hike takes 4 hours to complete. This were the fun begin.

As we start our hike up we met a few people on their way back exhausted, so we knew we were in for a full hike. I’m glad we rested the day before. The steps on the way up very steep and narrow. One person we met from New York went on this hike to over come his fear of heights. I don’t have a fear of heights, but this trail can give you that fear. About half way through it started to rain. The steps got slippery and the narrow path became even more narrow as people start they way down as we were still trying to go up.
We made at the top and we were excited of just making it. I felt like an accomplishment. The cloud cover was still heavy and we had brief moment of clearing of Machu Picchu. I tried to take a few photo, but found it challenging. What we did see was more then what we saw in the morning. How in the heck did they build this place? Imagining having to walk up and down these hills every day. The challenge the Inca overcame and did to build this magnificent city.

The way down was even more fun. The steps are very narrow and very steep. I guess the best part was seeing the excitement on my wife face. She really likes the adventure and thrills. We definitely were spent as we got back to the sign out place. Here we have to make a fast trek to the bus to make the train to Cuzco at 4:30 PM.

We made it down and we got on the train with out any issues. Except of one. At the train station I realize that I had lost my phone. I can only think that it dropped out of my zipped (in this case unzipped) pocket on the hike. Well no looking back now and I can only say that it was my offering to the ancient gods. What they will do with cell phone is beyond me, but it the best way to look at these things I guess.
On the train we met two men that were at Machu Picchu for worker health and safety. One was from Spain and there other was from Hong Kong. We talked about language, countries and number of other topics on the 4-hour train ride to Cuzco. As we talked about different travel places they told us to stay away from Venezuela. They both were they on business and said that the people not only just you’re your stuff but will murder you for it. I know that it not all the people that live there. Either way, I have not wish to go there.

Once we got to Cuzco we said goodbye and safe journeys to our train mates and got a taxi to our hotel. My wife and I were pretty tried at this point (up at 4:30 hike a mountain, ride a train and take in all the beauty of Machu Picchu, a very full day) and were looking forward in taking a shower, getting some good food and sleep. I was truly a full and wonderful day.

What To Do:
Do go on the Huaynapicchu hike. It’s a E ticket Plus ride. You will defiantly get you thrill and excitement. It is extra money and they do have smaller hike that you can do.

Try to get in early. The train arrives about 9 AM and the place explodes with people

Do take your time when you first get in. I seen most people run to the ruins and not take in the full beauty of the place.

Get a private guide. We didn’t and wish I had. I seen other have a guide help them take picture and explain the history of the place

Recommendation:
Get you bus tickets before hand. We did and didn’t have deal with the lines in the morning.

Don’t worry too much about being first in line. There are buses leaving every 10 min

There is storage at the entry. As you are hiking you want to be light

Don’t eat at the lodge. Get the hotel to give you a pack lunch and put it in your pack. Just remember if you bring it in you need to bring it out. There are no garbage cans.

Plan you bathroom time. There are no bathrooms inside Machu Picchu. There is a bathroom as you enter and they will charge 1 s

Bring you water with you. It cost 8 s for a small bottle of water

Gear and Advise:
Bring lightweight rain gear. It does rain (we went in November)

Bring a backpack with hydro pack. It save us have to carry plastic bottle

Bring a rain covers for you SRL. This really saved me when the rain came. I was able to have my camera ready when the clearing did happing

Bring good hiking shoes or boots. There is a lot of walking on uneven and rocky terrain. Make sure you have broke them in before hand

Bring bug spray. There were may people who has made the sacrifice to the bugs

General hiking gear that has been tested for various conditions. The weather condition does change from sunny to misty to rain to windy.

Go Light! Having to pack you stuff around all day as you go up and down stairs and steps can take it’s toll.

Ending notes:
Machu Picchu is a wonderful awe-inspiring place that is a must see. The journey there is also fun and eventful. It’s mind blowing on how the Inca lived in the magical place. As we met different people along the way, each person had a different experience and reason for being there. Find yours and go!

I will be posting my photos at http://www.rootsourcephotos.com/2012-Vacations/Chile-and-Peru/Peru-Machu-Picchu soon

Posted by B4Root 13.11.2012 08:33 Archived in Peru Tagged machu picchu Comments (0)

Day 8 – Machu Picchu

Rest day before the big event

sunny 75 °F

Stories and Experience:
We made it to the Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). At the train we didn’t have to checking all of our bags. My backpack they didn’t want to be responsible for so they let up carry it on. Also no one check for the weight of our carry on bags too. The train ride up to Aguas Calientes was very beautiful. We met a very nice lady from Florida that was traveling alone and completing her bucket list. Very nice conversation.

When we got into Aguas Calientes my lovely wife got a touch of the flu and did really feel well to go run around town. Since this was a rest day, we decide to go to the hot spring and get a massage and call it an early night.

What To Do:
The hot spring was good for 1 solas it’s good to have a soak in some stinky mineral water. After all the running around it did help. After that, we got a massage and some dinner.

Recommendation:
If you are traveling heavy like we are large suitcase, backpack and a laptop bag. You can get take your large suitcase on the train, just pretend you didn’t know

Gear and Advise:
Go light! I would have like to only pack for 4 day. I pack for 6 day and it was too much

Ending notes:
It was a rest day for us. I would recommend it before going to Machu Picchu

Posted by B4Root 13.11.2012 04:08 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 7 - Sacred Valley - Peru

Inca Ruins in Ollantaytambo

sunny 75 °F

Stories and Experience:
Today we travel to Ollantaytambo to see the ruins and get our train tickets for Sunday. We took the public transit to Ollantaytambo, which is always an adventure. The one trick what we found was to make sure you get the front seat. We waited at the bus station for a little bit and figure out quickly that you have to be quick to get the front. A nice drive made sure we did. Once in town, we got our train tickets to Machu Pichu. Here we found that you can only take 11 pound of luggage on you. The rest has to be stored or put on a train for luggage only. Since we are taking the train to Cuzco on our return. This was a major issue. But I have a plan and I did bring my photo vest with me.

The ruins were incredible. It’s amazing how the Inca lived and built their cities. I was able to take some picture and posted them at http://www.rootsourcephotos.com/Other/Peru-Sacred-Valley

What To Do:
Do see the ruins and visit the town. The ruins are good to see and it does give you a indication of what Machu Pichu would be like.

Recommendation:
Hire a guide. For about $50 soles ($25 US) you can get a personal guide to tell you the history and take a few photos of your love one and you. Plus I like to think that it part of the economy. I like to support the locals instead of give the money to the tourist companies.

Take the public transit to Ollantaytambo and get the front seat. The cost was only $2 bucks for the ride. The taxi is 30soles ($15 US), which we took on the way back to the hotel

Gear and Advise:
Try out your gear here. I found that I didn’t need a few things like my hiking poles and my lens need to be clean (had a few dust spots that were annoying)

I did bring my Gore biking jacket which came in handy at the top. Light weight but able to break the wind.

I’m also glad that I brought my monopod instead of my tripod. The monopod is much lighter and double as a walking pole. It is was always a trade-off because the you are not as stable and can’t take photos of yourself as easy (along with some other drawbacks). But the weight and being able to shoot at a lower shutter speed is worth it to me. I would also be bring a point and shoot one for general travels. Having 2 or 3 pound around your neck does get tiresome.

Ending notes:
After our rest and acclimation on day 6, which was really needed. Going and discovering Ollantaytambo ruins and the town was a good pace and to see how the Inca’s lived their daily lives. It amazing the engineering and balance with nature the people had. It really makes me think that the ending of Battle Star Galatia is true. But heck that only a TV series

I was able to update some photo on my site. The URL is http://www.rootsourcephotos.com

Posted by B4Root 10.11.2012 23:09 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 6 - Cuzco and the Sacred Valley

The Day of allocating and rest

sunny 80 °F

Stories and Experience:
We made it to the Sacred Valley in Peru. This is the highest altitude I’ve ever been. The early fight was quick. The ticket told us that the place would be boarding at 6:30 AM for a flight that leaves at 7:30 AM. The only thing we can make of this is they needed to account for “Latin Time” I have found over the years if you want a Latin person to be on time, tell them 1hr before the real time. I know, it not true in some and rare cases.

What To Do:
Rest today. We are at 8,000 feet and I’m feeling the effect of the altitude.

Recommendation:
Make the travel to the Sacred Valley before. We got a local van/bus, which cost $35 dollars compare, to the $100 for the big tourist bus. I guess you have to ask yourself for the difference do I want to be in a Van cramped full of people or have a m:ore roomer hour ride. Either way the drive is not for the faint of heart.

Gear and Advise:
Have thing pack tight and at the ready. The big bags get toss around. After today, I would have brought a package/luggage like the Osprey has. I seen other use these type and it seem to work better.

Ending notes:
Well it happy hour and I hoping to do some editing and post some pictures. Mostly rest!

Posted by B4Root 09.11.2012 14:11 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 5 - Arequipa Peru

Arequipa - Shopping and eating

sunny 72 °F

We Made it! We were able to make the plane and get to Arequipa. We got to the hotel "San Agustin Posada del Monasterio" and for $73 US is was nice. The beds and pillows could have been better but it was clean and friendly. I can really say that about the last place. Very over price for the want we got.

The Arequipa is made in the traditional colonial sense. The main square is full of nice shop for us tourist to spend their money in just like we did. I got my lovely wife a nice jacket made of baby alpaca. Everything we go is good quality and the prices we reasonable. I would recommend saving room in your luggage and picking up thing here.

We have another early fight and next time I think we would stay here longer. I don’t think we will go back to Chile. For the entry fee of $160 each US person to just enter the country, I rather take my money here and spend it in the local economy and be able to being home some memory and goodies. It to bad that Chile don’t see the impact that the entry fees has.

I think that Mara and I both have decided to check off Chile on our places to retire. Chile has good infrastructure, but the prices are the same in the US, with more people. So far I like what I see in Peru.

For the Travel blog, I think I’m going to set it up to be in a easier to read format.

Stories and Experience:
We had a lot of fun checking out the shop in Arequipa

What To Do:
Shopping, eating and the nightlife.

Recommendation:
Stay a few days. We found a few people did the same as we did to get a lower airfare to Cusco, a one-day stop in Arequipa. There is more there to check out. Two days stay would be the minimal I would stay next time

Gear and Advise:
We found using the credit cards were least charge

Posted by B4Root 09.11.2012 13:16 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 4 Vina del Mar

Day around Vina del Mar

semi-overcast 77 °F

The hotel owner took us to the market today. There was a small farmers market in the middle of down.

I brought my D7000 with the 17-55mm 2.8. I love this lens but it does have some weight to it. I was able to get some good picture of the fruits, vegetable and others goodies. I was surprise of the size and freshness of everything. Maradelyn (or Mara for short) wanted to buy everything and I had to remind her that we only have one day and I can’t eat that much fruits.

After the Market we hoped on the bus and headed to the “old town” this is the seaport for the city. Here I was able to find a wool poncho for $36 US. I have to wear it the first day back. M found her empanada from the street vendor. It was better then any of the ones we had in Santiago. There were a few places and streets that were a little shady that we didn't bother with. I heard several time to be careful having my camera out. The people do watch out for the tourist.

As for the gear, again my Osprey Manta 30 worked out wonderful again. I was able to tie my new poncho to the back. I also used the chest strap to bring my camera up to my chest in a resting position with a small carabineer. This is better then having it down by my hip (I’m using a RapidStrap shoulder harness) while walking around. We also had plenty of water to wash down all of the fruits, nuts and empanada with.

We headed back to our hotel. Once we were at the hotel, we had a wonderful lunch of the goodies we bought at the market.

As we checked our flight we realize that the bus would not get us there on time.
Another recommendation here is to don’t assume the buses run all the time. Mara had called and the first bus out of town was at 5:30 AM and put us in Santiago at 7 AM. Our flight leaves at 7:20 AM. It just was not going to happen.

After a few minute of OH CRAP!!! We figure we will take the next bus and stay the night in Santiago. But after talking to Peter (the Hotel owner) he knew a person that could drive us in the morning to the airport for a $130 US. By the time we got the Hotel in Santiago for the night it would be the more then the taxi ride. So we decide to take the offer. Our new leaving time was 4:30 AM, to be at the airport at 6 AM. It not a trip if there not a few adventures along the way.

About 3 AM we were woken up to a 3.2 earthquake. Mara and I heard the earthquake and felt it and then went back to sleep. I guess both of us had our excitement for the day and a 3.7 earthquake didn’t register on our OH CRAP!!! scale for today.

4:30 AM the taxi showed up and we are on our way to airport. I wonder if I have to run through this one. Next stop is Peru and Day 5

Posted by B4Root 09.11.2012 13:10 Comments (0)

Day 3 Travel to Vina del Mar

To the Beach we go

overcast 73 °F

Today start with a good and light breakfast at Hotel Orly. We took a taxi to the bus stop were we met Angela and Tim from Australia. They were headed to Vina del Mar for the day before they head on out for a cruise around Cape Horn for Tim's 60 birthday. Angela and Tim wanted to hang close since Maradelyn was able to speak Spanish and helped in getting tickets. It is fun to met new people. We talked on the entire bus ride. In fact we met up with them later for happy hour and talked 3 more hours. I think we made some good friends. We would love to see them again.

We decided to walk along the beach back to our Hotel in preparation to Machu Picchu. A few hours later, some tired feet and a new dog friend that followed us. we got found our hotel. It was a find, because both of us was not really sure were it was. But my scout nose prevailed and it was right were I thought it was.

The hotel Posada BellaMare Lodging is ok, not $160 a night worth, but just ok. I don't think I would recommend this hotel at this price. I would check out Hotel Oceanic.

As for the gear, I love my backpack Osprey Manta 30. It has pack down to a good size but has the room to be pack out for the groceries we got tonight. The one main item is the hydro pack, it hold 30 liters of water for M and I. It has saved us money and time by not have to buy little $2 bottle waters. I also like to think it is help reduce the plastic bottle in the world.

Tomorrow is a new day. I also will bring the 2012 election results. So it could truly be a new day for all of us,

Posted by B4Root 06.11.2012 18:52 Archived in Chile Tagged del mar viña Comments (0)

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