Hey! We know…we have been gone for almost a month, and you were expecting more than a picture of blister and Rachel doing her laundry. We promise that we were trying to update the blog in Peru but the internet was crappy and we were having some issues. So here is Peru in review…
Our first stop was in Lima, in the Miraflores district. Miraflores is supposedly the nicest part of Lima, but in reality, it isn´t very nice. The city is a little depressing, and there isn´t much to see or do there. We wandered around Lima for 2 days wondering what we should be doing. Rachel drew a picture of a church with lots of stray cats. Adam studied some maps and wondered if this trip was such a good idea…
Next we flew to Cusco, Peru which was a beautiful trip over the Andes mountains. Many travellers we met took the 24hr bus ride, but we opted for the 1hr flight, which we learned was a really smart indulgence—we heard horror stories of the bus stopping periodically to empty the bathroom and let people off to vomit. Based on the 4 hour car ride we took from Cusco to Santa Maria (picture long, winding roads on deadly cliffsides) we were happy with our decision.
Upon arrival in Cusco we went straight to the Eco-Yoga retreat which was an hour long bus ride outside of Cusco. This bus ride is an amazing experience (we joked we’d have paid to take it as a tourist trip!) and it takes you through the start of the Sacred Valley. All the other people on the bus are locals who live in mud- brick huts on the mountain side. When we got on, the drivers knew exactly where we were going—the only place where white people ever go on that route! We even started to run into local friends on the bus near the end of our stay—we saw Miguel, a 14-year-old boy, on his way home from school one day and felt like typical Peruvians!
There was no electricity or running water at Eco-Yoga. To get water, we had to grab water with a bucket from a well by the river and boil it for 5 minutes. Also, our first night there was a little strange. After flying into Cusco and taking this bus ride to the middle of no where, when we showed up, the house was empty. We decided to cook some lentils and set up camp and figure out what we would do in the morning. We made ourselves right at home and put our sleeping bags in the lofted area of the main house. It got dark around 6:30 and we were reading aloud to each other from a surprisingly scary Murakami story about a man’s fear of dying inside a refridgerator. We were at the scariest part of the story, Adam reading alound, “Cold, dead hands reaching out!” when we heard a knocking at the door followed by some “Hola”s. It was Rama, the man who runs the retreat. This was not the biggest surprise we had in store…turns out the place is a Hare Krishna Temple! We skipped out on the chanting, but did yoga with the group, and cooked vegetarian meals for the whole house as part of our volunteer ‘service.’ It was a great place to begin our trip; relaxing, inspiring, and a great way to feel a part of the traditional peruvian culture.
Here’s a few photos of our stay at Eco-Yoga:
We also went on an amazing hike with Rama and the group where we scaled the mountain side, clutching onto wheat and hoisting ourselves up to some ancient Inka ruins. Caroline, a new friend, even got stuck in a cactus patch!
And during the full moon, Caroline fire-danced while the others (some Hare Krishnas who showed up that evening) played drums and chanted…Adam and I stood by, taking photos and feeling like we’d landed in a surreal world.
After 9 days, we were sad to leave Eco-Yoga, but we were glad to get back into a city that promised the finer things in life, like a shower and a flushable toilet! In Cusco, we connected with this Peruvian hippie/tour-guide named Pepe, and through him, we met a whole slew of people—all really fun and interesting travelers. With a group of 8, we hiked for 5 days and got into lots of trouble!
While we learned about the Inkas and the jungle, we tested our fears walking narrow trails carved high up in the mountains. We scaled some rocks, and met some local farmers who served us hot chocolate made straight from the coca bean—very bitter, but with some honey, very delicious. We came across bananna trees, avocado and mango trees, and a fiesty monkey!
After walking for hours on the first day of the trek, it got dark and we were informed we still had a lot more walking to do. And not only that—we had a bridge with missing planks to cross and we needed to zipline in an open boxcar from mountain to mountain to make our way over the rushing, wild river. It did not comfort us that our tour guide said that he ‘never did this at night’ and that he prayed to god for 10 minutes before we crossed. Pepe!!! Luckily, we made it to our final destination safely that night, even though the last leg of our walk that night was walking through the river in all our clothes, our shoes soping wet when we arrived at the hot springs. And you thought our wedding was crazy!
The hot springs were beautiful, and very relaxing, although we quickly learned that the tent that Pepe gave us was a tent meant for a 6 year old child. We had asked, again and again, if we should bring our own tent, and he had assured us that he would provide one. It was a hysterical ending to an absurd day, and we ended up sleeping in Pepe’s tent—a really old, filthy, smelly tent that wasn’t waterproof—and guess what? It rained hard that night. We’ll never forget to bring our tent again, and we’ll never sign up for a trip without asking what’s in store! The next few days were spent dining in local Peruvian restaurants, walking along the railroad toward the base of Machu Piccu, and then hiking an incredible amount of stairs to the top of Machu Piccu, where our camera died! Can you believe it? We got a few photos though…
An ancient Inka sacrifice
Chris and the monkey
Our crazy tour-guide Pepe is to the right, sticking his head out of a cave
On top of Huayna Picchu looking over Machu Picchu
Adam enjoying a hot chocolate
Now we’re in Buenos Aires for a few days, recuperating and getting ready for our month-long stay on a farm in the north of Argentina. To see more of our photos, check out our flickr page at: www.flickr.com/photos/akushner/