Life Through My Eyes

Life Through My Eyes

Friday, October 21, 2016

Like Titicaca Adventure

We set off on our Lake Titicaca adventure, and climbed aboard Boat Inka. 

Boat Inka - The one with the green roof is our boat! 
Uros floating islands was our first stop. We were greeted by the locals upon arrival, and enjoyed learning about the history and engineering behind the islands existence.  When the Spanish arrived to Puno, the native people escaped the land to floating reeds for protection. They constructed these islands and large romantic boats out of totora reeds. We were able to ride in one of the boats and get another passport stamp. 

 Peeled Totora Reed is edible   
The long Totora Reed with Totora House and Uru People
A local collecting Totora Reed
Inside a Home
Aboard a Reed Boat
Local Uru Women
Romantic Boat with Puma Heads (Titicaca means Grey Puma)
Keith claiming a home
We then set off on a 3 hour boat ride to Amantani island. When we arrived we were welcomed by our host family, Artimio and Marisol. They showed us our accommodations and fed us a lovely lunch. We enjoyed looking through Marisols handicrafts. I purchased an awesome llama ornament from her.  We decided to walk off our lunch and hike up to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and Pachatata (Father Earth). Custom has it to walk around each site counterclockwise and make a wish or three, never two. You can't stay on Antamani island without attending a fiesta. After dinner Marisol and Artimio dressed us in some traditional outfits for the occasion. We had a wonderful time!

Catching some high altitude sun rays on the roof of the boat
We were impressed by the Kitchen
Our room
A local Restaurant 
How do we look?!
Scott is ready to Party! 
Top of Pachatata
Sleepy Keith
We said goodbye to our hosts, boarded Boat Inka and headed to Taquile Island. There we did a little hiking, yes I know we hike every day, and learned a little about the culture. We watched a demonstration on how soap was made, and learned about the differences in attire worn amongst individuals. The single men wear a red and white cap adjusted to the right. If he has a girlfriend it is turned to the left. Once married a man will wear a red cap and a Coca sack, resembles a purse, on his hip. I told Keith he could switch out his ring for a purse. Ha. The women wear Pom Pom balls in their hair. If they are single they are large, if married they are small. I figure If scrunchies found a place in the 80's, these Pom Pom balls could catch on in the US any day. 

A goodbye picture with Artimio

Scott at the peak of the hike
A married man (red hat) making soap
Keith couldn't get enough soup
Trout on a fish plate! 
We had a wonderful time on the islands of Lake Titicaca. Unfortunately all vacations must come to an end. We made the 3 hour boat trip back to Puno where we spent our last night in Peru. Homeward bound tonight.  We will all be returning to the USA a different people than we left it. It's impossible to experience all we did and not be changed. Thank you to our hosts and guides for making this such a memorable and heart changing trip.

Goodbye Lake Titicaca

Thanks for reading, 


I'll be writing about our 4 days on the Inca trail when I get home. Keep a look out! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cusco to Puno by Bus

Today we did things a little bit differently. We packed up those trekking shoes and opted for a bus tour from Cusco to Puno. 

We boarded the Inka express at 7am. The tour bus made a quick stop at a local market just outside of Cusco to get some fresh sweet bread. It was so yummy, and I want more!

Scott happy to see bread!
We headed 36km from Cusco to Andahuaylillas to visit the temple of San Pedro Apostol. We were again awed by the Inca influenced artwork, silver and gold that covered the walls. This site is one of the temples that the Route of Andean Baroque is dedicated to sharing the regions cultural heritage through preservation and restoration. Each ticket purchased goes to not only the restoration projects, but to local children for food, medical care and educational assistance. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but they did give us a little CD with photos. Of course my computer doesn't have a CD drive. 

Keith in front of the temple
Next stop was the Inca bridge in Checacupe. It was built between 1400-1448 by order of Inca Wiracocha as part of an expansion project. We enjoyed stretching our legs for a bit and walking across this piece of history. 

Me on the Inca Bridge
We continued along and stopped to visit the Raqchi temple that was built in the late 1400s by the Inca. The site was used for worshiping Wiraqocha, creator of the sun, moon, stars, animals, plants, human beings and earth. The stone statue of Wiraqocha was nearly destroyed during the colonial times as it was believed by the Catholic Church to be demonic, and the Inca were forced to become Catholic. Modern Peru is still home to Inca beliefs and traditions that are widely acknowledged and respected.  These beliefs have merged with the dominant Catholic faith. This can be easily seen when looking at the artistry that cover many church walls. 

What remains of the temple
The next stop was Sicuani for lunch where we enjoyed a wonderful Peruvian buffet.  After lunch Keith walked across the street to pet a baby lamb.

Lunch spot 
Baby lamb and Keith
After lunch we had about 10 minutes to shop. Scott got himself a super soft sweater.  I don't have a picture of him in it!

Our last stop was the Pukara cultural museum and ruins where we were able to see some pre Inca artifacts that date back to 2400 years ago. 

One of the many pieces we saw at the cultural museum 
We continued along to Puno.  The drive through Julica was interesting. It was comparable to Lima, but dirt roads. Keith has a pretty good time-lapse of it.  haha.  We finally made it to Puno and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with our Inca trail friends Kat and Dave.  Tomorrow we are off to Lake Titicaca!

Dinner with friends

Thanks for reading, 

We will be out on the islands for the next two days.  I'll catch up with ya'll in a few days!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rainbow Mountain

I've been challenged in various capacities throughout my life, some unforeseen and others admittedly intentional.  Today I met my most grueling physical challenge, a 17,000 foot summit, Rainbow Mountain

The day started with a 2:30am wake up call, which was a challenge in itself, and a 3 hour van ride to Chillca.  I attempted to sleep in the van, but the honking of horns on a narrow one way bumpy dirt road made it impossible. When we arrived to Chillca the air was numbing. We all opted to put on thermals and down jackets prior to stepping out of the van for a hot breakfast. 

We made our way up the mountain at a conservative pace, enjoying the culture and beauty that surrounded us.  The higher we got the less conversation we had as we focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I could see the summit in the distance when the snow began to fall.  I'm not sure how high we were at that moment, but we all began to struggle both physically and mentally. It was difficult to breathe, and we all found ourselves taking more frequent breaks. Motivation was lacking to even want to reach the summit if the colorful mountain we came to see was covered in white snow. We all felt terrible and silently in our minds thought about turning around, but aloud we motivated each other to continue on.  We were near summit when the last steep section of about 100 feet seemed out of reach. The mission to reach the top was taxing, and the snow added a dangerous aspect to our stubborn desire to carry on. We pressed ahead. Just feet away from the summit I felt the sun at my back. I turned around. The fog was clearing and the snow was melting quickly. I'm sure if I had any extra breath to spare I would have cried. Beautiful.

The locals and their horses were on standby if we needed a lift!
Local Home
Chewy really liked Keith
Posing on the trail
The fog and snow
So cold
5200m (1760ft), almost to the summit!
Keith, did we make it?!
We did, and the sun came out!
Summit Picture
The crew that motivated each other
Garmin Proof! (The Garmin gipped me elevation!)

Tonight is our last night in Cusco. Keith and I went to a Greens for dinner, and I got my first salad in forever!  I am really going to miss this place, especially our little apartment and Chuck-Chuck.  Tomorrow morning we head to Puno for the next adventure.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Aguas Calientes

We took a bumpy bus ride from Machu Picchu down a winding road to Aguas Calientes. This is where we enjoyed our last lunch with our tour guides and tour mates. It was sad to say goodbye to new friends, but I'm excited to have met more outdoor enthusiast from all over the world that I can call friends. As luck would have it, we are staying at the same hotel in Puno as another couple that was on the trek. I'm excited to catch up with them while we are there.

The Llama Path Crew
Bus ticket
After lunch we walked up a steep cobblestone street to our hotel, La Cabana. We checked in and headed straight to our rooms. You have no idea how excited I was to take a hot shower, sit down on a toilet and watch a little TLC. 

Making our way to La Cabana
A Bed!
They day was still young, so we couldn't go to sleep yet. We were in "Aguas Calientes" after all, so may as well enjoy some of that hot water at Banos Termales. It wasn't the best spot to relax since it was super crowded, but the people watching was amazing!  We are pretty sure a particular gentleman had a little crush on on the whitest gringo there, Keith. Haha

Hot Springs after the trek
The guy that had his eye on Keith looked like this... speedo and all.
We've been eating extremely well on this trip, and didn't want to end the streak here. We ended the day with a fine dinner and adult beverages at Incontri.

The next morning we woke up and enjoyed a continental breakfast before getting a massage at wonderful hands spa. We walked around the town and did a little shopping. I can't say for who or what because I don't want to ruin the surprise! 

Aguas Calientes Plaza 
The town at night
Since Incontri was so good, we had to eat there again before catching our train back to Cusco. 

Adult Beverages
Peru Rail
Train Ride!
Train Ticket

Aguas Calientes is such a wonderful little town, and a great place to put your feet up after the Inca trail. I'd highly recommend it. 

Aguas Calientes 
These hairless dogs are everywhere in Peru! 

We are now back to our Cusco apartment. We've really missed Chuck-Chuck, and it appears he has missed us too.

Chuck-Chuck ready for bed.

Next up, rainbow mountain! Departure time is 3am, so as always, I'm off to bed!

Thanks for reading, 


I know, I know....

I'm sure you all want to hear about the Inca trail, and I promise I'll get to it when I have a good amount of time to dedicate to a proper blog post.