The Sacred Valley

As part of my time in Cusco (where I stayed a few days before going to Ollantaytambo, then Machu Picchu, then back to Cusco), I took an all-day tour called “The Sacred Valley Tour” and also a chocolate-making class. Here are pictures:

A view from the Pisac ruins.

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Lake Titicaca

One of many Uros “Floating Reed” Islands.

There are 2 reasons people stop in Puno:

  1. To visit Lake Titicaca
  2. To sleep the night before continuing their journey into Bolivia

The town itself isn’t worth visiting.

I decided to take a 2d/1n tour of Lake Titicaca (“Puma Rock” in Aymara language), the highest navigable lake in the world at nearly 3800m above sea level. The tour is comprised of visiting the Uros “Floating Reed” Islands, then going to Amantani Island and staying the night with a host family. The next day, the tour would travel to Taquile Island for lunch before making the 3 hour slow-boat journey back to Puno.

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The (Possible) Invention of Spandarin

I took an 8-hour day bus to Puno, which I enjoyed much more than any of the night buses I’ve been on. The Andean mountain ranges provided a spectacular backdrop to complement my often recurring imagination of Incas dancing everywhere to the beat of Lady Gaga.

(Rocket Number 9 take off to the planet…to the planet…Venus.)

Upon reaching Puno, I was famished. I proceeded to walk to the city center to find some food. Saw a few Chinese “chifas” around so that gave me ideas. I stumbled upon one called “Chifa Shanghai” and in front of all the pots and woks stood 2 actual Chinese cooks. As this was quite rare, in I went.

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The Pissing Scotsman

Some young Scottish guy decided to go out last night and get very drunk.

He comes back at 4 am, gets in bed, then proceeds to talk loudly in his sleep at 5 am before waking up and then taking a piss on some Israeli guy’s shoe in the dorm. I am a light sleeper so I heard everything. I couldn’t help but wake up to see what was happening when another dorm mate started yelling “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!” and then the Israeli guy echoing that thought.

Dorm life. 95% of the time, nothing happens except noisy dorm mates coming in and out. But 5% of the time, you have pukers and pissers.

Random story about donkeys

Once upon a time, I was walking down a quiet road outside of Cabanaconde when I happened upon a herd of donkeys in the middle of the road. There was donkey shit everywhere. One donkey went up to a pair and started smelling their butts. Then it started to donkey-kick the pair. The pair submitted and ran away from the angry donkey. The angry donkey then started sniffing the shit on the ground. It was then joined by one of the pair. They were nose to nose in donkey shit. Then the angry donkey started kicking the other donkey again.

I wish I understood donkeys.

I look Peruvian?

This morning, I was sitting at the hostel computer and someone asked me if I could book a taxi for them at 6:30 am, thinking I worked at the hostel.

This afternoon, someone asked me if I was the bus driver. I replied, “I could be. But we’d get very lost.”

Did I get dark or something?

Machu Picchu

The “classic” Machu Picchu shot.

I kept making the mistake of looking up the endless flight of stone steps, thinking that magically, maybe the top of the mountain was just around the corner. Each time, I looked back down, sweat dripping, and took one tiring step after another to the beat of Lady Gaga’s new album, Artpop.

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Reinvigorated

At the beginning of the week, I felt a little burnt out from travel. I did a little research on it to validate my state of mind and turns out, it’s very common for many long-term travelers.

I arrived in Cusco yesterday morning and today, I spent the entire day on a Sacred Valley Tour, which went from 9 am to 7 pm. We visited ruins in Pisac, Ollantaytambo (I always have trouble saying this city), and Chinchero. We climbed ruins and our guide Paul gave very detailed historical information on those ruins.

Some moment during the tour, my spirits went from tired to “optimistic”.

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No 5d/4n hiking for me

Did a lot of thinking the last few days and I’ve decided to take the train to Machu Picchu instead of hiking it. I am not the biggest fan of hiking, even less when it’s 5d/4n of 6-8 hours at high altitude and cold and bug bites. I heard the views on the hike are great but I think I am happy with my decision.

Instead, I will climb Cerro Machu Picchu, which is twice as high as the more popular Huayna Picchu (one reason is that it is sold out so I really have no choice). It will take me about 2.5 hours to climb it so that will be my physical “price” to pay for the view from there.