Day 4 continues….Chinchero

So we get up, get to the airport, they are late as always, not too bad this time, around 20 minutes.  So it takes 1 1/2 hrs from Lima to Cusco, now when you get in you will see tons of taxi drivers trying to get your business, you have to actually leave the airport building to find your driver if you hired one.

We upgraded to a Van, since my family needs the legroom and we had 3 bags, our driver was great but spoke very limited English.  KB Tambo tours I would highly recommend using, we check the reviews and they were just as great as promised.

So since we had about 6 hours until our train, we took the sightseeing tour of the Sacred Valley, we learned something at this time, 6 weeks of exercise is NOT enough to get in shape for all the Climbing you will be doing in a high elevation!

Our first stop was Chinchero….our first taste of our very sad physical condition:)  This stop is not far from Cusco…. here we bought a ticket for 4 places (Pisac , Ollantaytambo, Chinchero & Moray) for aprox $27 us.

The ruins are cool, but the climb, all though small was brutal, but at least I finally saw a Freaking Alpaca!  I usually carry a backpack/purse with water, sunblock, ect… I had to have my son carry it, so I could climb, rest, climb, rest… it was embarrasing as kids and old people are running past me!  They also have a small market place, but as we were still going other places we didn’t really shop there.

Peru is a BEAUTIFUL country, and you see animals out grazing all the time, cows, sheep, pigs, plus donkeys….it is so cool.  All there animals are free range and eat grass.  That is probably why the food tastes so good and fresh.

Then it was off to Maras Salt Mine and Moray….and gosh darn it, tons more walking and climbing…auuggh!

Day 4, the journey begins….

So as you may or may not know, a lot of people who go to Machu Picchu actually skip Lima (which is a shame cause it is a cool city) and go straight to Cuzco and then to Machu Picchu.

However is Cusco is one of the highest cities in the world and Elevation Sickness is common.  Common enough that when we call the DR to tell him where we were going they gave us a Typhoid Shot, Hep A Shot, Antibiotics for Tummy Trouble, AND elevation sickness meds, standard.

We decided to skip Cusco and go straight to Aguas Calientes, (which is truly the starting point to get to Machu Picchu), for two reasons, to hopefully avoid any sickness, and second after the 1 1/2 hr plane ride to  Cusco you still have to take a train to Aguas Caliente, which is usually another 3hr train trip, and then from THERE you take a 30 minute bus ride up the mountains on a one lane high way to Machu Picchu.  So that means if you start from Cusco you have 2 to 3 1/2 hours of travel before your climb even begins.

So of course we find out that the Train Station in Cusco is closed for repairs, so we need to get to the train station in Ollantaytambo which is 1 1/2 hours outside of Cusco.  We decided to get a driver from KB Tambo tours and sight see on our way to Aguas Calientes because or our flight came in at 12.40 pm but the only train ticket we could get left at 7pm that night.

Then we would have an additional 1 1/2 train ride in the dark to get to Agqua Calientes, where we would check in eat and go to bed to get ready for Machu Picchu the next day.

 

Day 3….OMG…WTF

So we are are leaving tomorrow, so we want to get some more sightseeing done, we did most of it yesterday, but want to check out the beach area and to look around our hotel area and get gifts.

We get up, eat breakfast (included & free WiFi) and go out, to the beach area, very nice, and this seems to be the place for backpackers, lots of Hostels…

 

 

 

we come back to change and get an email that they have…wait for it…CANCELLED the rest of our flights.

This goes back to the double charging Avianca does.  I had noticed before we left that had charged us TWICE, so I called my Credit Card and they tried to cancel it as a duplicate payment, but it was done the next day and had different info on it so we had to do a FRAUD report, get our credit cards cancelled and reordered.  We were worried, but since we had done it a few weeks ago, and had no problem with the first flights, we thought we were ok.

So, here is where my total control freakiness comes in handy.  Before we leave (for ALL our trips I do this) I have a Folder filled with copies of EVERYTHING we need, hotel info, flight info, ect.  Also I had a copy of the statement that showed we were double billed for the tickets.

So instead of sightseeing, we called their customer service, which was a complete fiasco, so we found an Avianca office in the mall, it took us 2 1/2 hours but we got our tickets reinstated because I had the COPY of the statement and it was Obvious, but it was an anxious 2 1/2 hours, the girl that helped us was great, she spoke decent english but this was a crazy time for her to.

She wanted us to email here the statement, but we were at the mall, so we had to go to Starbucks (yes they are EvEryWhere!) and buy something so we could use their WIFI to send the info to her, so she could forward to her boss somewhere!

In retrospect we maybe should have waited to do the fraud alert, but we had bought the tickets a month in advance and if we waited until we got home, it would have been almost 60 days and I didn’t want to take the chance of a time limit issue, because it was a LOT of money.

After that we went and out to eat and our meals came with free drinks and I drank everyone’s pisco sour!  Then we grabbed a few last minute gifts and back to the hotel.

And still not a single freaking Llama or Alpaca, WTF people, you see them all the time in the commercials.

Then it was back to the hotel to pack and get ready for the real fun to begin…

 

 

 

 

Day 2…..25k steps at least

So are vacations are not leisurely, they are go Go GOGOGO!  So we get up, my husband gets up early and goes out and checks the area out, and they we go, we go first to Plaza De Armas, almost every Big City in has one in both Europe and South America I believe.

We check out the area and the buildings, it was very nice.  Got a snack and then went into the Museo De Arte Religioso.  Super beautiful church.

Yes I have more pictures, I will post later, don’ want to overwhelm with them

Then we went to Park Kennedy, which should be renamed Park Cat or Gato, at least 50 cats, everyone was petting and feeding them.

DSC00833

 

We had a very nice steak dinner, it was a little hard because we don’t speak Spanish much and there isn’t a lot of English spoken there.  We were lucky that one of the waiter spoke English and they had an English menu.  We ended up getting the 4 meat platter for 2 people, it was MORE then enough for all 3 of us.  It was basically 4 huge steaks on a sizzling platter with coals underneath to keep warm.  Plus it came with a big plate of fries.  These were Ruth Chris, top shelf steaks, so for all the meat, plus 1 beer, 1 glass of wine, 1 coke and 2 waters, and tip, all less then $90 US, this was a $250 meal in the states!

Then we went to the Parque De La Reserva, Highly recommend, have like 13 fountains that they light up at night and some of them you can get in, they even have changing rooms to you can change afterwards.

They would mist up and then put laser lights and pictures in the mist.

I will say there was a severe lack of LLama’s and Alpacas!  Didn’t see one all day.

Day 1ish – Arrive in Lima

Day one … we fly out of LAX, around 1.40pm, since we decided to do carry on’s only this trip we figured we would have less time in line.  So my husband wanted to leave 30 min or so later, I wanted to leave at the same time, we left about 15 min later and stopped for Sandwiches on the way, since neither of them will eat any airline food, Ever!

Traffic was fine until we got to the airport, then it took like 40 mins to finally get inside and dropped off, needless to say, it was a little stressful, but, Avianca flight was late (this happens on EvErY Flight) so we made it with about 10 min to spare.

Now the cool thing about Avianca is you can Bid for Business Class.  So since we were flying in legs, we skipped the first half,(LA to San Salvador) and we won the second half, (San Salvador to Lima)much wider seats and better legroom, AND we got our meals on Real plates and utensils, and we got a cool desert, AND a goodie bag with ear plugs, socks, chapstick and L ‘Occitane hand creme, and other misc goodies.

We ended up getting in around 1am in the Morning, so we had to reserve the hotel for that night so we didn’t have to wait until 1pm to check in.  We got a Suite for us and a Single room for our son.

What we didn’t expect was the HUMIDITY, WTF, come on…..so it was in the 70’s but pretty sticky, had to wash clothes the first day out, at least they dried so we could reuse them quickly.

Lima money is Sols, exchange was about $1 equals $3.27 sols so it was a very economical trip for eating, drinking, sightseeing and souvenirs.

Here are some pics of our room, notice the SQAURE toilet, and the GLASS wall of the tub! Although it was a jacuzzi tub and it came in handy after walking all over the next day.

 

So we just went to bed the am we got there and got up around 9am the next day. I can honestly say, taking the Business Class for the last leg, helped the next day not be so brutal.

So, the planning took a while..

first we had to decide where to go, even though it was for my 50th b-day, it was still a family trip.

We narrowed it down to Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat, but since my bday is during monsoon season, we decided on Machu Picchu, keep in mind this took months!

 

First, what days are we going, Leaving & Coming home

Then what flights to take, and how to break it up so we aren’t stuck on any really long flights. (Getting to old for super long flights, I am only 5’1, but my hubby is 6 2′ and son is 5′ 10, so the short leg room really sucks for them)

This actually takes weeks of spreadsheets and looking up flights and figuring it all out on a reasonable budget for time and money.

Then once the flights are booked it is on to the hotels, looking them, getting reviews (I recommend trip adivsor) figuring out the safest and best hotels at a reasonable cost, since for some reason my 25 year old son wants his OWN room, sheesh, guess he is to old to share:)

While we looked for flights we also read reviews, but the most common flier, and cheapest airline was Avianca, we took our chances since I had seen reference in reviews to not being on time, and duplicate charges….you need to keep this in mind for future posts, you will see why

 

I’mmmm Back….so glad to be home

So we went to Lima, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, and Cusco in Peru, and Bogata in Columbia.  9 days filled to the brim.  I need a vacation from this vacation!

We are now home, no matter how great the places you visit are, it is always nice to come back home.

Familiar foods, roads, beds, and Diet Coke, Coke Zero and LIght just taste blth!

I will be posting about our adventure, with pics, shortly.

Soo, what to do with Avocados

when you have to many and don’t want guac?  You go to the internet and type “what to do with avocados besides guac”…and you get a whole boat load of info.

Since I love my sweets I went with the PB& BChocolate Pudding….yea right!?  So it is avocado (mine were going, going…..almost gone ripe),banana (well thank goodness I freeze some before they go bad), the last of my PB, some coconut milk, honey and unsweetened cocoa powder.

Now I like dark chocolate, but I seem to be the odd man out here at home, I mixed it up, but still kind of “earthly” so I added whipped cream to make it more of a mousse.

And who comes up with these servings??? 6 small servings, nah, made 3 less then 1 cup each servings.

FYI didn’t use the Coconut whipped cream, me no likey Coconut…like eating suntan lotion:)  so you might need to double some (3 servings)then subtract some (coconut whipped cream.)  Plus I used Honey and not Dates…

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 6 servings with coconut whipped cream.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 of 6 servings Calories: 386 Fat: 29g Saturated fat: 11.3g Carbohydrates: 29g Sugar: 13.5gSodium: 109mg Fiber: 10g Protein: 9g

There was….

There was

a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She

hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always

there for her. She told her boyfriend, ‘If I could only see

the world, I will marry you.’

One day,

someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages

came off, she was able to see everything, including her

boyfriend.

He asked

her,’Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?’ The

girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The

sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn’t expected

that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life

led her to refuse to marry him.

Her

boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her

saying: ‘Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before

they were yours, they were mine.’

This is

how the human brain often works when our status changes.

Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who

was always by their side in the most painful situations.

Life Is a

Gift

Today

before you say an unkind word – Think of someone who can’t

speak.

Before

you complain about the taste of your food – Think of someone

who has nothing to eat.

Before

you complain about your husband or wife – Think of someone

who’s crying out to GOD for a companion.

Today

before you complain about life – Think of someone who went

too early to heaven.

Before

whining about the distance you drive Think of someone who

walks the same distance with their feet.

And when

you are tired and complain about your job – Think of the

unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your

job.

And when

depressing thoughts seem to get you down – Put a smile on

your face and think: you’re alive and still

around.

==========================

I PRAY

THIS MOVES AROUND

THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE

Auugghh, unconditional love

it has been a crazy day, picking up hair balls (YUCKY) , feeding dogs, (seperately) ’cause the puppy is a pig.  Mopping up messes….aauuggh, both dogs guilty, bathing the cat, she Is PisSeD off right now, but she had poop and/or clumping litter attached to her backside…..so I know she feel better, Stupid Ass Cat!

Yet, here she is all purry cause she wants and snack, and her is the puppy all sleepy in my lap and  Rudder on the side by my chair, and I realize, yes….it is all Worth it!