Went to Yellowstone…saw

Bears, Moose, Goats, Bison, Geysers, clean air, beautiful skies, put this is my Favorite

19146295_10211071475476619_8633181092848393657_n

 

He kept coming back for more!  His cheeks are full of nuts….so Darn Cute!

Advertisements

Day 7 Bogota

We arrive in the afternoon at Bogota, we get a driver at the kiosk outside the airport to our hotel, we pay for it there, recommended safest way to travel by many.

We get to our hotel room 1/2 later, flight was short, so we check in, and halleFreakiglujah, we have an elevator, and we are in the middle of the city, BoomChakalakBoom, I am ready to roll after a shower of course.

Our rooms are very big, almost to big, not overly furnished, only downside is our window faces a street that has a bar, and they love to party here!  We got in on a Wed and stayed Thursday and the music was hoppin’ past 3am both days, don’t these people have to work or sumptin??

We loved Bogota, the people are friendly, many speak English, the food is good and the price is right.  Yes you will see cops and military men with dogs and guns, “but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”,  we felt very safe and secure.

 

We went to La Candelaria that day, we got a taxi from our hotel, I HIGHLY recommend getting a driver or having them wait (you will see why shorlty), it is very cool area, we walked until it started getting dark.  We have read that there isn’t much to do at night here and it isn’t the safest after dark, well, we found out that NO ONE wants to go back to Miraflores, (where our hotel was) at that time, it was getting dark, no cabs would take us, so I went to the book store and a very nice guy left his work station to walk us to a hotel down there so they could get us a safe ride home.  That is right HE LEFT his work, to walk us there.  I wish I had gotten his name so I could send him a Thank You, he spoke pretty good English so he told the guy there what we needed and where we needed to go and we got home safely.

So if you go to La Candelaria and plan on staying til almost dark, have you Taxi Wait, or do what we did the next day and hire a driver for 1/2 day to take you everywhere!

So we got home, showered, went out to eat , came back and went to sleep, because the next day was going to be busy….freaking husband, go go go!

 

 

Day 6 ….Cuzco on our way to Bogota Columbia

So we have to fly to Bogota early the next morning so we leave from Machu Picchu …. 1 1/2 hr train back to Olly, then we get a “taxi” which is a van that takes up to 8 people back to Cuzco another 2 hrs away because of frequent stops to pick up and drop off people on our way there.

Remember we just climbed for hours at Machu Picchu, and then what seem like hours, to get back to our room at the top of the hill!

So by the time we finally got to the hotel, I was tried and worn out, and again, we got a really nice hotel, but we are in high elevation and our hotel is on a hill , 40 stairs!  Yes I counted them!

Then again, my sons room is on the bottom floor, we are 3 stories up, with more stairs and the room is a 2 Story Apartment type thing!  OMG….come on…. so I did NOT go out that day.

While son and hubby went exploring I enjoyed my new place, I gathered up all our clothes that needed to be washed, there was a laundry at the bottom of the hill, they took it to them…not me, and I reconfigured out bags, ate some chocolate, drank some tea, took a shower to get refreshed for the climb down to dinner and then back up again!

Now the rooms were well worth it, super nice, like little apartments, it just so much stairs and climbing….enough already!

Day 5 Machu Picchu

WOW, ……… it is totally just….WOW…..the journey to get here itself is crazy, and this place is magical.  We spent about 5 hours climbing around.  You can leave and come back so we did take a break for about an hour.  It is HUGE…and we didn’t do all of it.

So even being 50 and out of shape (me), I ended up climbing more then I thought and getting to the top, even if I did have to stop every 10 steps or so, it was worth it.  My son got some of the best high top views, cause he is young and in shape 🙂

This is by far one of the most gorgeous, intriguing places I have ever seen.  How did these people who built here even find this place?  How did they build here?  Where did the stones come from? How is it their structures are STILL here?  I don’t think we could do this in our modern age, it is CrAzY to think about.

If you can make it here, get here, this is definitely a once in a life time experience.

Look at how blue the sky is, how green the hills are, how beautiful and lush

DSC01131

 

There were ALOT of stairs…lots of up and down, lots of breaks to make it to the top!

Some insights if planning a trip to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu allows only 25oo visitors a day.  I think this is a great idea, this is a pristine country, I would hate to see it ruined because of tourism.  You see livestock grazing on the land as they should be.

Because of the ticket limit you need to buy your tickets early, they have a website Tickets for Machu Picchu where you can get them, here is a link to trip advisor that explains how to get them.  It is NOT easy, it is about a 3/4 step process.  Also there is a weight limit for the train and only backpacks and carry on luggage is allowed, that is way we did carry on’s this trip.  It worked in other ways as well, but this was the impetus for our change.  They do say the train station will let you stow extra luggage and if you are only going for the day and have a hotel room somewhere else, leave all the extras there.

Also, in order to get to there you have to take a train to Aguas Calientes, we used PeruRail, again this isn’t as easy as it sounds, there are 2 steps to actually buy the tickets then you have to BE IN Peru to pick them up 4 hours before your train leaves.  You can buy one-way and round- trip, I recommend round-trip unless you don’t know when you are coming back.  Remember you will see 3 different levels of trains and ONE of them I believe includes the ticket to Machu Picchu.

I really think if you leave from Cusco, you miss the Sacred Valley with its other wonders, so if you have time, check them out, you won’t be disappointed, a little tired and sore maybe 🙂

So just getting to Machu Picchu is in itself a quite difficult journey, but it is all worth it.

Here is a teaser for my next post….

 

the End of Day 4

So we spend about 5 hours seeing the sights in the Sacred Valley, then we board our Train for another 1 1/2 hr ride to our Hotel in Aguas Calientes.   This was one of the lower cost trains but the seats where comfy and they gave you snacks on the way.

We had to stop a few times to let people off (where I don’t know it was DARK) and to let other trains pass.  Very Narrow area for streets and trains, I am SO glad it was dark and I couldn’t see 🙂

So we get to Aguas Calientes, and it takes a while for us to find our Hotel Staffer who will walk us to our hotel, now I knew from the reviews it was going to be up a hill, but it was a 15 minute WALK UP a hill!  Luckily they helped us with our luggage up the hill and to our room.

We get there and while trying to catch our breather they are like “I see you only reserved 1 room but there are 3 of you”, so I am like no and yes….I pull out my folder and give them a copy of the TWO ROOMS we reserved!

So my son got a nice room on the ground floor, unfortunately, it was a busy walkway and he told us the next day very noisy as you can here everything.

Our room was awesome, it was also at the TOP of the 5th Floor with NO elevator….by the time we climbed up to our hotel, then to our hotel room I was DONE for the night

The room was huge with a balcony, and they could see I was done, so they brought up tea to our room N/C, and they brought breakfast up the next AM.  I took advantage of the tub.

so stayed in and got everything ready for Machu Picchu the next day while son and hubby went to look for water, atm and food.

 

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…