Saturday, June 4, 2016

Peru!

Last Sunday, Tarun and I got back from a week long hiking trip in Peru. A week long trip, just Tarun and me, where were the kids, you may ask?!? In wonderful care of my mom and their nanny. I was nervous, leaving them for this long, but they did very well. We were amazed and proud.

Every morning, I would call and we would speak at length and they would ask me, where we were, where we were staying and Vir would say "Are you still in the mountains?" It was so sweet, I missed them! In the evening, I would share pictures from our day. One day, while taking to Kabir, I said, I missed him, to which he replied, "Then why did you go on the trip?" I was tongue tied. We were excited to get back, it was a great break. Kids were up and waiting when we got home, Vir even said to me "I was waiting for you!". Lots of hugs, cuddles and stories after, we called it a night. Kabir slept holding my arm, it was very sweet!

Now, the trip. Tarun and I went with no expectations except to hike to our hearts content and visit Machu Picchu and we came back with an incredible experience.

We toured with 16 other travelers, 2 wonderful leaders and an exceptional local guide. We knew no one and when the trip ended, we were all in tears.

The trip was active, very active, so much so, that by 2nd day, Tarun felt we should have taken a spa vacation! Someone wanted to sleep in but had to get up at 5:00 am or closer. Each day, after breakfast at the hotel, we packed our snacks and hiked all day, lunch was usually a picnic and dinner was fine dining. It really was a boot camp with a fancy dinners and nice hotels!




We started in Cusco, walking the city the first day and getting comfortable with the 11,000+ ft high altitude, visiting the churches, the temples and learning about the Incan empire.





























We hiked Tambomachay, the highest point in Cusco at close to 13,000 ft. elevation. Tarun wasn't comfortable with the high altitude so the first few days were rough for him. Luckily, Tambomachay was the highest elevation on the trip so it was all good after.












The surprise of the day was hiking with the the llamas!
















After the hike, we reached our lunch spot for picnic, where the locals played music for us!





After lunch, we hiked to Saksaywaman; the stonehenge of Andes.







It rained while we were at Saksaywaman, so when we reached Cusco, there was a rainbow...a double rainbow!



Next two days, we hiked through the sacred valley, visiting Pisac and Ollantaytambo.  The hike was steep and intense, including some high steps (300 in number) to climb up and 700 tiny, narrow steps to climb down. Our leaders said this was a test run for Inca Trail the following day.

The start to the sacred valley was with a surprise; a visit to the farm to feed the llamas, alpacas and vicunas and meet local artisans!









Later, we passed the beautiful terraces while hiking to the top of a temple.






The terraces were an incredible sight; the Incans used them for farming.












In Pisac, we visited the Salt Flats, which were nothing like I had imagined.







These two days our hotel Sol y Luna was a beautiful lodge with a ranch.








And it began..the climb of the 300 steps!

































and the 700 narrow and short steps we climbed down!




Lunch spot!

Before lunch, there was yet another surprise, a priest was on site to do a prayer for the whole group. It was rather touching.

So much of this, reminded me of India.





After lunch, we visited the weaving village, which was so special and a very unique experience. We met the family of one of our porters and his community. The women and the young kids weave and spin.






Everyone was really sweet, the kids; the excitement was oozing out of them, what was everyone doing with their phones? Phones could take pictures?! They could take their own pictures?! They had just learned something new and found themselves a toy! :-)







Some were shy and some wanted to learn counting and some wanted to talk and make friends.  No matter what, the place was full of smiles, full of joy! While, at the village, I smiled so much that my jaw hurt, it was such a happy place!






I was missing Kabir and Vir so much that when Jose; our local guide shared the story of the village with the group, I sneaked out to spend time with the children. They wanted to talk, to share, to play. They were so happy to get themselves clicked and see their pictures. :-)













Later, they performed a dance for everyone and made everyone dance with them. It was such a joyful time!




The women displayed all they had weaved if anyone wanted to buy. I saw friendship bands and thought how perfect it would be for Kabir to give to his friends as he graduates pre-school. I also picked a long tape, which I hope to get converted into a camera strap.




Ruth and Bob, who were traveling with us shared a book about Llamas with the kids and gave them pencils as presents. I thought that was really sweet.



Next morning, we started very early to catch the train to Inca Trail and hiked up the 6 mile "Km. 104".





It was a long, strenuous and steep hike, combined with climbing a straight rock wall up to Sun Gate, which provided our first view of Machu Picchu!

























Everyone was thrilled to reach the Sun Gate! This called for determination and we had a couple of people who were scared of heights or had vertigo, it was so impressive and such an inspiration to see them hike the trail. Once they made it to Sun Gate, it was a moment of joy for everyone!












I felt lucky all the previous days, hiking through the less traveled paths , visiting the salt flats and the weaving village and thinking this was special and Machu Picchu might just feel over-rated after this, but once we got our first view, I was wowed!


Next day, our last day, we spent exploring the lost city!



























It was time to say good byes. The whole group with Jose; our local guide!




With Isabel and Quinnen, our wonderful tour leaders!

Early morning walk exploring the sanctuary that Inkattera in Aguas Calienties was, I captured some more nature.






This was an incredible trip, I loved Peru, I loved its people and the connections we made. It seems to be calling me back or may it is the simplicity of life, that I miss. There was definitely a lot that was learned; from the place, from its people and I will try not to lose it.



1 comment:

Follow the yarn said...

Hello there, just stumbled across your blog. What amazing places you have been, love the photos.