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December 11, 2010

Sat. 12/11 8:30 AM: Hello from Guayaquil! I’ll be “live-blogging” this crazy little Peru adventure. First step of the journey is complete: 7 hour bus last night from Quito to Guayaquil. Right now we’re waiting for our 26 hour bus to Lima that leaves at 11:30. We also just bought plane tickets from Lima to Cusco, only about $30 more (and 23 hours less) than a bus ride between those two cities. Machu Picchu, here we come!


Sun. 12/12 10:30 PM: Well, the 26 hour bus turned out to be a 31 hour bus, and the drivers seemed to be having a contest to see how many terrible movies they could show us: Big Momma’s House, The Bodyguard, some Jackie Chan movie where he has to take care of a baby he kidnapped (hilarity totally ensues), Mall Cop, Funny People, The Honeymooners… there may have been more, but they were probably so traumatic I’ve blocked them from my memory. Nevertheless, here we are in Lima! Grabbed hamburgers with our Colombian and Chilean traveling companions; now we’re spending the night in a hostel and waiting for our 10:10 flight to Cusco tomorrow.


Mon. 12/13 2:30 PM: Step 3 of the journey is complete; we made it to Cusco, despite staying up too late last night enjoying pisco with our aforementioned traveling companions at the hostel in Lima. It’s an absolutely beautiful city, and we’ve really enjoyed exploring it so far. Tonight we have a ridiculously overpriced train ride to get to Aguas Calientes, the closest town below Machu Picchu. I think we’ll follow the example of my good friend Pat and get up at 4:00 AM for the hike up the mountain, though hopefully it doesn’t rain on us (tough luck, Pat, we’ll see if ours is any better).


Tues. 12/14 4:00 PM. Mission accomplished. Machu Picchu was breathtaking beyond description, and the weather was perfect; it never rained, and we were even able to see some of the snow-capped peaks in the distance, before the clouds slowly swallowed them around mid-morning. I’ll probably have to wait until I’m back in Minneapolis (6 days!) to upload photos, though. Spending tonight in Cusco, then we’ll see where the road takes us from there.


Fri. 12/17 4:30 PM. Hello from Puno! We ended up sleeping in and taking a tour of Cusco and the nearby ruins on Wednesday, before catching an overnight bus to Puno, where we met up with 4 other MSIDers to do a 2-day tour of the spectacular Lake Titicaca. My internet time is almost up, so details will come later. Tonight I’m taking another night bus back to Cusco for one more day there, then I’ll catch my return flight to Lima, where I’ll spend one last day on my own before catching my flight from Lima to the States.


Sun. 12/19 4:45 PM: Today is a sad/exciting day. Sad, because I have to leave Peru tomorrow morning, and I can’t escape the feeling that there’s so much more I want to see and do here. Exciting, for the (hopefully) obvious reason that I’ll finally be home tomorrow night, though I also can’t escape the feeling that my time in Minnesota is going to fly just as rapidly.

Yesterday I managed to get to a few more archaelogical sites in the Sacred Valley; none of them were nearly as impressive or untouched as Machu Picchu, but it was still a great experience. My favorite site was Ollantaytambo; the terraces built into the steep mountainside were impressive in themselves, but it was equally cool to discover that the town has been continually inhabited since Inca times- all the houses are built on their original foundations so you can still see the original precise city planning.

All in all, this was a fantastic trip, though 10 days really isn’t enough time to appreciate Peru. In Cusco alone I never got to see Moray (a series of circular terraces the Inca used as an agricultural laboratory) or any of the museums in Cusco, not to mention the entire cities of Arequipa and Nazca. My flight got delayed by 5 hours, so I got into Lima late this afternoon, and I won’t have time to see much of this city at all. And talking to other travelers has made me really want to visit Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, and of course Chile. And then to the north there’s Colombia, and all of Central America…

I’ve posted this on this blog before, but it bears repeating:

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

A) Quito B) Guayaquil C) Lima D) Cusco E) Puno
One Comment leave one →
  1. Jeremy Sohlstrom permalink
    December 15, 2010 8:19 PM

    I am insanely jealous– I mean, I had to shell out seven bucks to see Big Momma’s House in the theater, and then you get to go and watch it for free!?!? It’s. just. not. fair.

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