Friday, December 18, 2009


I arrived in Cusco yesterday morning after a 13 hour bus ride (puke-free, I´m glad to announce) from Arequipa. I am happy to report that I haven´t suffered any altitude sickness, and have actually been feeling great. Just lucky, I guess!

I have fallen absolutely in love with this city!! I really adore it, and I´m so glad I don´t need to rush away too quickly, because even after 2 full days of exploring, there is still so much to discover. It´s truly a magical place, so rich with history and culture. There are many people speaking Quechua and wearing traditional clothing, and it just feels so surreal to walk these streets. Every so often I just burst out laughing, literally, because I am just so happy to be here and to experience this place. I have never been anywhere like this before, and it didn´t take long for me to fall in love. Frankly, I could see myself living here for a while.

Yesterday while wandering around I met a Peruvian photographer from Lima named Ivan who is also touring around, and ended up making plans to go on a hike with him today. We met up this morning and spent all day today hiking in the hills surrounding Cusco. Simply incredible. Cusco is a city of winding cobblestone streets and endless stairs up up up! It´s the perfect place to get lost, which is one of my favorite things to do when I travel. I love just exploring, mapless, and ending up somewhere beautiful. Today Ivan and I began our adventure by first heading up to the Cristo Blanco (the white Jesus), a statue of Jesus that sits high up on a hill overlooking the city. It was a tiring walk up many streets and a lot of stairs, but very much worth it. Then we became ambitious and spent the next 4 or 5 hours continuing to wander through the hills, visiting the ruins of Saqsaywaman (sounds a lot like Sexy Woman, I know) and Q´asqo, an also el Templo de la Luna (Temple of the Moon). It was all simply breathtaking. So incredible, in fact, that I spent a large portion of my day staring in wonderment at these ancient structures, touching their cold stone surfaces, and just being thankful to be there. Everywhere I went I found ancient stone ruins with a backdrop of the gorgeous city of Cusco to one side and the mountains on the others. There are alpacas and llamas and horses and sheep wandering around everywhere too. It´s really something so special that it can´t be described. My day was perfect, everything I wanted it to be. I took a million pictures, and I promise when I can to go back and upload pictures onto my blog.

Anyway, now for the most exciting news of all-- THE INCA TRAIL to Machu Picchu! I´d been told that you need to book the Inca Trail months in advance, and it can be incredibly expensive, running anywhere from $300-500 for the 4 day trek. I didn´t want to spend so much, and also didn´t plan that far in advance, so arrived thinking Í´d do one of the many cheaper alternative treks to Machu Picchu, which I´m sure would still be a great experience. However, coincidentally yesterday at a travel agency, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and I ended up getting the very last spot on the Inca Trail FOR THE REST OF 2009! Not sure how I got so lucky, but he also gave it to me at a discount, so I paid a lot less than normal. Sweet! I feel so incredibly lucky.

I leave tomorrow morning at 6:30am! I´d write more on this blog, but I have a lot to prepare. The hike will be 4 days long, and I´ll be camping out the whole time. I ended up randomly in a group of all Argentines who know each other. Very random, but also very cool, because we automatically have something in common, and they are people who won´t look at me funny for having an Argentine accent in Peru! Hopefully I´ll bust into their posse nicely and we can enjoy the experience together.

Anyway I´m off to pack-- I´ll be carrying all my own stuff, so I´m keeping it as minimal as possible. I can assure you I will take a million pictures, and will try to get some photos up after Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, it´s looking like I´ll be spending it here in Cusco at the hostel. I´m actually really excited about it and think it will be a nice time with other travelers. Besides, I am happy to have some extra time in this amazing city.

I´ll be MIA for 4 days while on the Inca Trail, but will report back afterward! Visiting Machu Picchu has been a dream of mine for many, many years, so I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and plan to live it to the fullest.


heather said...

damn, i wish i were seeing it all again with you! can't wait to see your pix! i remember Cristo Blanco well. and MP...close to heaven. while shaving this morning, billy had this thought, "i think rickston will move to peru for awhile." and why not?! we love you. xoxoxo <3 <3