Tupananchikkama (Peru: Part II)

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Tupananchikkama (until we meet again)

That’s what we whispered as we peered over our shoulders to catch a glimpse of Huayna Picchu one last time.


…continued from Tupananchikkama (Peru: Part I)

The next day, I had booked us what I thought would be an casual bike ride through the Sacred Valley of Peru. Boy, was I wrong! Why did I not learn from the last time I did any sort of physical activity at 11,000+ feet?! I usually love biking uphill because I’m all about working out that bootayy, but man, even biking the slightest incline was extremely difficult at this altitude. Our lungs were NOT prepared for this shit.

There were two stops on this tour. The first stop was Moray, an Incan ruin believed to have once been used as an agricultural laboratory of sorts. Each level of the circular terraced bowl exhibited a different micro climate, allowing the Incans to experiment with various vegetation.

While we did not bike to Moray (thank goodness), we did bike to our next stop: Maras. The path went from wide open and fairly flat to narrow, downhill, on the side of the mountain.

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Scary AF

The town of Maras is known for the salt ponds that sit on the slopes of the Qaqawiñay mountain. Some 3,000 shallow pools are filled with the hypersaline water that flows through an intricate network of channels from the Qoripujio spring. Once full, the water in the ponds is left to evaporate and the remaining deposits are raked into a basket to be sorted, bagged and sold. An admission fee of 10 soles and a short hike from the small parking lot take you down to the salt mines. We bought a few bags of salt to take home for ourselves and as gifts for our foodie friends. Based on what we purchased, the grain size is a bit more coarse than I’m used to so I would definitely recommend for use as a finishing salt rather than a salt to cook with. The taste is more salty, for the lack of a better description.

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And (drum roll) for the main event, we traveled to Machu Picchu bright and early the next morning aboard the Vistadome train. This train was an upgrade from the normal Expedition train, but the panoramic windows and food service offered both ways were well worth the extra cost.

all aboard!

Our journey began with 20 min car ride to the Poroy Train Station and from there, it took 3.5 hours to get to Machu Picchu by train (~ 4 hours one way). The Poroy Station is only open from May through December so for those considering traveling from January through April, the trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu consists of a long BUS ride to the Ollantaytambo Station and then taking a train from there (~4.5 hours one way).

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Great views on the train – those gray things on the side of the mountain are the Skylodge pods
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Given the limited vacation days we had for this trip, we decided against trekking to Machu Picchu. Although now looking back, I probably would have given up one day in Lima for a day trek to Machu Picchu.

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You can see people hiking the trail

The last stop of the train was the Machu Picchu Train Station, located in Machu Picchu Town aka Aguas Calientes. From the train station, we walked 10 min into town to the bus station and after a 30 min bus ride, we were finally at the entrance. FINALLY. After almost 5 hours. FIVE. CINCO.

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We met up with our tour guide and got to exploring this new wonder of the world.

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Bucket list √

Before I Kick

I’ve always thought about what I would include on my bucket list, but I’ve never taken the time to actually write it down. Reading through Dominick’s list inspired me to officially document my own. I, too, wish I did this earlier in life, but hey, it’s never too late to start.

1. Climb Mt. Rainier

source: visitrainier.com

2. Obtain PADI Open Water Diver scuba certification

3. Scuba dive around the world

a. Great Barrier Reef
b. Belize
c. Fiji

4. Learn to surf

5. See the Northern Lights

source: http://www.tntmagazine.com

6. Snowboard around the world

a. Mammoth & Northern California
b. Colorado
c. Utah
d. Washington
e. Oregon
f. BC, Canada
g. Wyoming
h. JAPAN
i. New Zealand
j. Argentina

7. Heli-boarding

8. CAT-boarding

source: http://www.valdezhelicamps.com

9. Perfect riding switch

10. Land a jump.. with rotation

11. Make a snowboarding video

12. Learn to ski

13. Learn to play ice hockey

14. Live in a treehouse

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15. Sky dive

a. Hawaii
b. Interlaken, Switzerland

16. Dog sled

17. Complete avalanche training, level 1 & 2

18. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

19. Hike Half Dome

20. Zip-line

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21. Explore each province of Canada

22. NYE Countdown in NYC

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23. Explore Europe

a. Hike Cinque Terre
b. Bike through Tuscany
c. Dine at Restaurant Guy Savoy, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, The Fat Duck, Pierre Gagnaire and Noma
d. Indulge at Laduree and Pierre Herme
e. Visit Stonehenge
f. Take a gondola ride in Venice
g. Take a Seine River cruise
h. Tour Palace of Versailles and castles in Loire Valley
i. ROME

24. Take a Mediterranean cruise

25. Tour Ancient Egyptian sites and cruise down the Nile River

26. Journey to Machu Picchu

27. Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge

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28. Train and compete in a triathlon (sprint)

29. Ride an elephant in Thailand

30. Feed/pet a panda in China

31. Walk the Great Wall of China and toboggan down

32. Experience Tsukiji Market and eat at Sushi Dai

33. Run…

a. 5K
b. Half marathon
c. Marathon (preferably NYC)

34. Get an MBA

35. Catch a concert at the Hollywood Bowl

36. THIS

37. Kayak the Colorado River

38. Sydney Harbour bridge climb

39. Host and cook multi-course dinner party

40. Raft class IV rapids

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41. Get on the kiss cam with Henry at a Kings’ game

42. Fire a gun at a shooting range

43. Collect Starbucks mugs from every place I visit (5 cups so far)

44. Swim with sharks (shark cage)

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45. Swim with dolphins

46. Take my parents to watch the Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Eve concert

47. Watch the sunrise at Haleakala

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48. Relax in an over-water bungalow in Bora Bora

49. Finish reading Anna Karenina

50. Start and finish a 365 photography project

That’s it for now, but I’ll definitely be adding to this list. I’m looking forward to crossing things off in the near future! 😀