Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Welcome to Peru!

After walking up two flights of stairs, I was huffin' and puffin'. The elevation stuff was rough. Luckily we decided to arrive a day early to at least get a head start on acclimatization. The Inca Trail portion of the journey didn't begin until Tuesday. As soon as we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted with coca tea which is often given to help with the high elevation. Does it help? No clue, but it was nice to be given some tea.

Since we had an extra day to look around Cusco, we spent some time finding a place to exchange dollars for soles and going to a few markets. Unfortunately at one of the markets, we chose the wrong door. As soon as I entered, I smelled the worst smell ever. This is what I saw...

We had managed to walk right into the meat section of the market which had all sorts of fun things (intestines, for example). Mary tried to stop for a picture, and I told her I had to keep walking before I tossed my cookies. The second time through, it wasn't as bad so we managed to get a few photos. That isn't to say there weren't some nice things at the market, but I was in no mood for eating after that.

We once again found ourselves in the same market after meeting up with our group. This time we had Arturo from Active as our guide. The meat section barely fazed me the third time, but I still wasn't about to partake. Arturo spent some time introducing the group to different fruits, vegetables, breads, spices, etc. After lunch (NOT at the market), it was time for a hike straight uphill to Sacsayhuaman which sounds a lot like sexy woman when pronounced. On our way up, it began raining. Since the tour was taking place during the rainy season, we would get used to be rained on multiple times a day.

Looking back on the way up to Sacsayhuaman   
Mary making friends on the hike

Yep, it's raining

This is what it looks like when it is not raining at Sacsayhuaman (obviously, I did not take this picture....)
After an 8 mile day of hiking around Cusco and Sacsayhuaman, the next morning we were in for a real treat. It was time for a bike ride. This bike ride was downhill the whole way (not kidding, 12 miles of downhill awesomeness) through the Sacred Valley. It was the most beautiful bike ride I've ever been on in my life.  I have the pictures to prove it....

             Team Loco (L to R, T to B): Jo, Matt, Ines,
                    Zeo, Stephanie, me, Marg, Mary

The afternoon was another trip to a very nice market in Pisac and then a straight uphill hike to the Pisac Ruins (elevation gain: over 1000 feet, distance 2.5 miles).

The rain was so worth it once we managed to get to the top. We were greeted with a beautiful double rainbow.

With the day's (straight uphill) hiking practice and our bodies getting used to functioning with less oxygen in the air, the next day we would begin our four day journey along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! Day 1 on the Inca Trail...


  1. Thanks for sharing your adventure -- I'm enjoying your pix, too -- beautiful!