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Posts Tagged ‘g adventure’

Day 15 – June 8th, 2012

For me, the worst thing about Peru are the “continental breakfasts”. They are basically just crusty bread with a little side of hard butter and jam, and some tea. Sometimes, like in Cusco, you get eggs and ham and puffed cereals too, which are really nice. But generally speaking, it’s not the best way to start your day. Today, I had an even worst “continental breakfast”. I sat down at a table with some friends, where one had just left, and waited for a few minutes to get my portion of bread and tea (and from what I could see one the other people’s plates, egg). The lady never came. When I finally asked her for some food, she ignored me. Eventually, I was able to get one triangular piece of bread out of her with the help of one guy who speaks Spanish, but she refused to give me a slice of cheese (and forget about the egg and juice!). I think she mistook me for this Australian guy with spiky hair and a good 30lbs on me who had just left. Since we are rationed at one slice of cheese at this place, she probably figured I was just a greedy pig who decided to lose 30lbs and a fair bit of hair to get a bit more cheese and bread. I never did end up getting more than one bread. After that disappointing breakfast, we left Arequipa to head to our next hotel an hour from Colca Canyon, where we hopefully will get to see some condors in the morning.

Day 16 – June 9th, 2012

We woke up early to reach Colca Canyon on time to watch some condors in the morning. It was really beautiful. At first, we were skeptical that there actually were any condors, but all at once, 6 condors emerged from the canyon and started majestically gliding around! Some must have soared some 10 or 15 meters from us. It was really exciting. Colca Canyon is apparently twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Again, I’m constantly surprised by how rugged the Peruvian landscape is. If I was a Spaniard back in the conquering days and I came across this insane canyon, I would have probably would have let whoever lived on the other side of that deep rift keep practicing their heretic traditions. It apparently takes like 4 days to get from one side to another. No way would I have the motivation to that. There weren’t even paths back then! Geez.

A condor and a sunrise

Condors soared above us as a new day began.

Day 17- June 10th, 2012

Today is more of a transportation/waste some time day. We left Colca Canyon at around 10am and returned to Arequipa by 1:30pm. We have another night bus leaving at 9pm, so we’re all just trying to waste time until that departure. We’re also trying to mentally prepare from what has been universally hailed as the worst night’s sleep ever part 2. At least the bus ride back to Arequipa had some pretty rad 80s music playing. Yes, I am getting lousy with the details of this trip, but honestly, it feels like these days we just do a lot of transportation to see a notable sight for a few hours. I guess it’s good in that we’re being quite thorough with our Peru sightseeing. Also, I can’t wait to get home and have a hot shower. It’s been like 3 mornings in a row that we don’t have any. Reminds me of my first few weeks in Montreal when the hot water didn’t work, only without a bucket to pour boiling water from a kettle.

Terraced landscape in Peru

The road may be long, but the view is always beautiful.

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Day 12 – June 5th, 2012

Our first night back after Machu Pichu turned out to be a big party night (Day 11). Day 12 was pretty much a write-off. It got so nuts that one of the guys woke up at 3:30pm and thought the reason why no one was in the dinning room was because it was around 6am and therefore before breakfast. That same guy fell from the bar (one which he was standing) and hurt his knee. He woke up with no memory of the night worried he had gotten into a fight. I didn’t have as big a night as he did, but I still didn’t feel top shape until I relaxed in my room for some tv and a long 3 hour nap.  Though I did watch part of a show called Dr. TV (think Spanish Dr. Oz) where, from what I understood, the doctor was warning the audience of the dangers of alcohol consumption. The irony didn’t escape me.

Day 13 – June 6th, 2012

This was our last day in Cusco. My roommate and I decided to try some of the area’s famous white water rafting. If ever you’re in Cusco, you really need to try the rafting. It’s so much fun! The river started about 2 hours out of Cusco and ran for about 13 km. We were four in our raft (my roommate, some Swedish guy, our guide, and me) and the whole thing was amazing. The third guy in our team, the Swedish guy, told us a few stories from his 6 month exchange to Peru. One of those stories, where a friend of his took a 10 hour night bus bus from Cusco to Arequipa and 4 dudes with machetes came and ransacked the place made us a bit uneasy because we were taking that same night bus that very evening. No jokes.

Day 14 – June 7th, 2012

The 10 hour night bus wasn’t as bad as I expected. There were no machete wielding thugs, so that was good. Plus I was able to sleep! My day in Arequipa consisted mostly of wandering around and eating. It’s a pretty nice place, but it’s much warmer and more spread out that Cusco. Actually, it’s quite beautiful. The city is surrounded but mountain. From the top of the hotel, on the rooftop balcony, you have a terrific view of a few snow-capped mountains. For breakfast, we ate at some restaurant at the market where I had a very filling soup called adobo (basically meat with some thick broth and onion), for lunch I had a bunch of fresh fruits and a fruit juice because I was still full from the adobo, and for supper I had a local specialty, guinea pig! I’m glad I tried guinea pig, but I won’t be having it again anytime soon. It’s a very fatty meat and the meat is, as you’d expect for something the size of a rat, very sparse. Oh! I also experienced an earthquake today! When I first felt it, I thought I was sitting over a metro or something, then I remembered there is no metro system here and I noticed that people were rushing out of their buildings. It was a neat experience, though I’m glad I was outside for it.

A mountain from the top of our hotel in Arequipa

A mountain from the top of our hotel in Arequipa. Beautiful scenery like this abounds in Peru.

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Day 7 – May 31th, 2012

The day started a bit rough. I woke up with a slight headache from what I assume is a coca hangover\withdrawl. Weird. Besides that slightly rough start, it was a fairly low-key day. I guess the main highlight was the ride to the city that preceded my trek towards Machu Pichu. It’s just so scenic here!

A gentle lunch before the Lares Trek

Roughing it for lunch before we set off on the Lares Trek.

Days 8 through 10 – June 1st through June 3th, 2012

G Adventure offers two trek before Machu Pichu: the Lares Trek and the Inca Trail. The Lares Trek takes you through mountains and local villages, ends up in some Peruvian village and is a day shorter, while the more historical and famous Inca Trail goes through Incan ruins and ends up at Machu Pichu. Because the Inca trail only accommodates 250 tourists per day, it tends to sell out fairly quickly. Because of this, I did the Lares Trek, though I’m glad I did. Also, I heard the Inca Trail has loads of stairs. I hate hiking stairs.

Beautiful day on the Lares Trek

A beautiful day for a hike on the Lares Trek

The Lares Trek is an easy 3 day 2 night hike (I’m convinced you could do it in two moderate days or one super hardcore day) through some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever been surrounded by. Giant mountains, deep cliffs, distant snow-capped mountains, wildlife, it was all there. The trek is obviously fully supported by two guides, porters and cooks, so it’s not the most hardcore hike, but there is no way to deny that climbing to 4 600 meters on the second day is a good challenge. For me, it was more of an experience than a true hike. Being in nature, having that fresh air, seeing nature’s awesomeness, that’s what it was about for me. Unlike the Inca Trail, the Lares Trek can allow you lots of solitude, if that’s what you seek. We only crossed one other group during the whole thing. It was so serene. Though I would have enjoyed something a bit longer through the same type of terrain, I have no complaints with the experience. Surprisingly, the food was delicious for something prepared in the middle of mountains. The few treks I’ve done during my travels always have the best food. I think it was even some of the best food I had during the whole trip. Having your private cook while traveling has its benefits.

Feeling small surrounded by such awesome scenery

Feeling small surrounded by such awesome scenery.

The only downside was that the nights were frigid, even in a winter sleeping bag with three layers. Thankfully we only slept outside for two nights. On the second night, we woke up to our tents covered with frost. Just thinking about it makes me shiver!

Tents covered in frost

Warmer than sleeping outside, but not by much.

Day 11 – June 4th, 2012

This was the big day for this trip. Machu Pichu! The advantage of doing the Lares Trek is that you get to have a shower before going to Machu Pichu. You arrive feeling clean and reasonable well rested. People who did the Inca Trail arrived directly from hiking to the historical site, while we had a night in a hotel to wash and rest a bit, though the marching band that paraded in front of our hotel all night didn’t help me fall asleep. Still, it certainly is an advantage of the Lares Trek!

A first sunbeam hits Machu Pichu

A first sunbeam hits Machu Pichu.

Machu Pichu is a spectacular place. It’s practically located in the clouds and it is surrounded by jagged mountains. The skill it must have taken to build that place is mind-blowing. Though for me, the true highlight of the visit was the chance to hike the mountain behind Machu Pichu, Huayna Pichu. Though it’s mostly steps, the view from the peak is breathtaking. I really need to upload some pictures…

Machu Pichu from Huaynapichu

Machu Pichu from Huaynapichu and to the left, the road up to Machu Pichu.

Oh! I haven’t had any coca leaves since the second day on the hike and I haven’t had any 4am headaches! Hurray for not being a coca loaf addict!

We spent about 7 hours at Machu Pichu before making the journey back to Cusco. On the way back, we were treated by a stunning full moon on the horizon over the mountains. I love mountains so much, they make everything seem so much more dramatic.

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A few of you may remember that I recently entered a competition to win a trip through G Adventures. Great news! Thanks to you, I won! There were many choices to pick from. I was turned off b a few trips because they seemed like things I could do by myself for a fraction of the price. I looked for a trip that did and went places I don’t think I’d be able to reach by myself. Because I’ve never been to South America, I decided to take a 21 day trip to Peru and Bolivia. This will be the first time I travel with a structured group. I’m excited to travel with people, as it always makes things much more enjoyable, but I’m also a bit nervous that my travel style (very mellow, lots of looking at people/things while sitting somewhere) will clash with the organizer’s plan. It should be ok though. We’ll see.

My giving my trishaw driver a break

The winning picture! I actually blogged about this when it happened. Many thanks to the photographer.

There’s not much to say about this for the time being, but I’m super excited to get back on the road and explore a new continent! I booked my flight yesterday and I have confirmation that the trip is reserved under my name. All I need is some gear (new smaller bag, jacket, etc) and I’m ready to go!

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