A Travellerspoint blog

Ollantaytambo

UNPRONOUNCABLE YET QUITE ENJOYABLE

by: Tami
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Ollantaytambo is a quaint little town about 60 miles northwest of Cusco. Originally I was somewhat irritated that we even had to visit this part of the Sacred Valley - yet another hotel to prebook sight unseen as well as a two hour taxi ride along more winding roads. But as all the cheap trains between Cusco and Machu Picchu were booked solid, I was left with the choice of shelling out $588 per person roundtrip for the Hiram Bingham luxury train (never going to happen) or spending a couple nights in a town with a name I couldn't even pronounce and catching the $40 train at its last main stop prior to Machu Picchu. Fortunately the visit to Ollanta won out. It turned out to be just our kind of place. Ryan immediately felt better due to the lower altitude and had a good time exploring the nearby Inca ruins. I enjoyed our stay at Hostel Sauce (it reminded me of home - goosedown comforters and chocolate candy on each nightstand). Madeline appreciated the walkability of a small town. And Maya made a new best friend at the hotel.

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Posted by RTMM 17:11 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Altitude Is Not Always A Good Thing

by: Ryan

We left Colca Canyon about seven days ago and went back to Arequipa for two days. From there we traveled on a bus for seven hours to the city of Puno, Peru. Puno is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca and is approximately 12,500 feet above sea level. While in Puno we took a tour on Lake Titicaca where we visited the manmade floating Uros Islands.
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We also visited a natural island called Taquile. During our visit to Taquile we had to hike from the bottom of the island to the top and then back down the other side. The total distance was approximately three-quarters of a mile. Thankfully it was broken up into three stops, one of which was a lunch break.
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Now I know that three-quarters of a mile is not a long distance, but when you are 12,500 feet above sea level and you are walking up a very steep incline it seems like you are going to keel over.

Speaking of keeling over, the day after our tour of Lake Titicaca I was struck with nasty bout of altitude sickness and have been feeling horrible for the last four days. Luckily I was able to lay around for a day
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(since I was vomiting, had a headache, was dizzy, and could not breathe properly) before we had to get on yet another bus for a nine hour ride to Cusco. Needless to say that particular bus ride was one of the most horrific experiences of my life.

I wish I could tell you about the city of Cusco, but other than a couple short trips outside I have just been laying around feeling sick. Today we are taking a taxi to the city of Ollantaytambo and it is just 9,160 feet above sea level so I think that I should start to feel better. After two days in Ollantaytambo we are heading to Machu Picchu and I am sure that we will have some interesting things to say about that.

Posted by RTMM 06:46 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

The Best Hotel in the World

OUR STAY AT LAS CASITAS DEL COLCA

by: Maya

Yesterday we got to our new hotel in Peru. It is called Las Casitas del Colca. It is the coolest hotel in the world. There are multiple reasons why it is the coolest hotel in the world.
Number 1 It has the warmest swimming pool in the world; it is like a giant hot tub.
Number 2 It has a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner; my sister Madeline loves buffets.
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Number 3 My sister Madeline and I have our own hide-a-bed ( a bed that comes out of a couch).
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Number 4 There are lots of fun activities: baby alpaca bottle-feeding, fishing, cooking classes, and horseback riding.
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and number 5 Last, but not least, we have our own private hot tub.
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Today my sister, my dad and I went to the warmest pool ever. It was totally warm. I was dreaming of a giant hot tub and my dream came true. We had tons of fun. But before we did that we went to some other places. We went to the Cruz del Condor. It is a place where you go to see condors, hawks and other types of birds, but mostly condors.
The wild condors flew right over the tops of our heads.
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We also made a stop at a place where we dressed-up like the local women.
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Last ,but not least, we went to a place were we got our picture taken with an eagle Colca_Cany..009_239.jpg
and an alpaca.
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It was so fun!!!!!!

Posted by RTMM 07:39 Archived in Peru Comments (3)

Our First Stop in Peru

by: Tami

We've just spent the past three days in the lovely city of Arequipa, Peru. Arequipa, founded in 1540, is the second largest city in Peru, however, it has somehow managed to retain the welcoming atmosphere usually only found in smaller cities.Arequipa__..009_026.jpg

Arequipa__..009_004.jpgArequipa__..009_014.jpgOur hostel, La Casa de mi Abuela, is located six blocks north of the Plaza de Armas. The convenient location has allowed us to do a lot of exploring (aka just wandering around). I originally planned for us to visit the Monasterio de Santa Catalina (a beautiful convent built in 1579) and the Museo Santuarios Andinos (home of Juanita the Ice Maiden – a frozen, 13-year-old girl, sacrificed by Inca priests approximately 600 years ago). My plans were cast aside once Madeline and Maya discovered a small entryway, leading to a labyrinth of shopping stalls, just off the main plaza. Since this discovery, the girls have spent hours browsing stall after stall throughout the sillar (a porous, white volcanic stone) passageways. Needless to say, the girls' bargaining skills have drastically improved. Although Madeline's new found skills were squashed outright by an old woman selling pigeon food in the plaza. (Madeline tried to get a deal - three bags of corn for one Sole rather than two bags per Sole. Word of advice – don't try to haggle with an old woman. Madeline quickly walked away with two bags of corn and one less Sole.) Thus I use the word improved rather than perfected. We still have three more weeks though!

Another improvement we've all enjoyed has been the change in comida. The food in Arequipa is great. Even Maya has enjoyed eating here and anyone who knows Maya will understand just what an amazing statement that is! There are tons of little restaurants between our hostel and the main square, and we've enjoyed our fair share of them. Tops so far has been Istanbul – yes, great Turkish food can be had in southern Peru.Arequipa__..009_008.jpgArequipa__..009_024.jpgArequipa__..009_041.jpgArequipa__..009_050.jpg

The city is getting a bit crowded as it's a long weekend – Peruvian Independence. So, we're taking off early tomorrow morning for the Colca Canyon.

Unrelated specifically to Arequipa, but interesting nonetheless...

Maya saw someone she thought Joel would like to meet in person.Arequipa__..009_029.jpg

Remember that episode of Leave it to Beaver when Puddin locked herself in the second floor bathroom?
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Posted by RTMM 17:51 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

Leaving Ecuador

sunny

by: Ryan

We have left Ecuador and are currently in Arequipa, Peru. We are going to be here for three days and then we will be headed to Colca Canyon to see some condors spread their wings. I am not sure exactly what we are going to do while we are in Arequipa, but I am sure that one of us will write about it after we do it.

Posted by RTMM 10:01 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

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