Sometimes I have
so many thoughts rushing around in my head. Memories… It feels like they just slam into my skull, to be
bounced back and forth, never really resolving anywhere. It’s hard to sort them all, much less
to understand them. How am I
supposed to get them onto paper if they don’t just make themselves
We spent four nights in Cusco but didn't really get to spend that much time in Cusco. Most of our time was spent touring the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, etc. But Cusco is actually a wonderful, beautiful city. I wish wish wish I had taken more/better pictures! I would LOVE to go back and spend more time there! It reminds me very much of Europe.
About our hostel (I could kick myself for not taking more pictures!):
- I can't remember what it was called but I can remember how to get to it! It was about one street over from the main city square, directly down the street from a bank, a pharmacy, and a giant market of Cusco paraphernalia (dolls, purses, magnets, etc.)
- It wasn't so much of a hostel as a tiny hotel. The rooms were single, double, or triple, and each had their own bathroom with HOT WATER!
- $15 per night included breakfast made to order each morning (eggs, bread, freshly squeezed juice, coffee, tea), computers with internet free for us to use, a tv with playstation and games, never ending coca tea (to help alleviate altitude sickness), AND they even stored our luggage for free in a locked room for the night we spent in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu).
- Apparently there are places even more inexpensive to stay with just the same amenities, but we liked the location - walking distance to everything!
Had a lovely weekend in LA! I had to go to the Brazilian Consulate to get a visitor's visa for my upcoming trip. I also got to spend some quality time with Valerie, Becca, Sam, and Carol! Good friends are a refreshment to my soul! :) Didn't take a ton of pics but here are a few:
Peruvian fooooood!!! So good.
The LA skyline from the 10. (Took it while driving, shh don't tell!)
I took these photos with my very first digital camera, back in 2004, I believe. It was small, 3.5 megapixel - I think Canon? Not sure.
I was at my grandparents' house out in the country. I used the black and white setting on the camera and have not digitally manipulated the pictures beyond that. I know they are not great quality pictures but I like looking at them for nostalgic reasons.
Travel Tip: If you want the best view of Machu Picchu, and the opportunity to hike Huayna Picchu:
DON'T stay in a hostel in Aguas Calientes.
DON'T get up at 3 am to stand in line for a bus.
DON'T board the bus at 5 am to be transported to MP, where you will stand in line until 7 am to get your ticket stamped and even then barely make it as #365 out of 400 that get to do the hike.
INSTEAD:DO save up your money.
DO make reservations well in advance to stay in the lovely hotel right at the entrance to MP park.
DO get to sleep in until 6 am and still be able to make it to the line on time to get your ticket stamped, from which you can then go back to the hotel and sleep some more until you feel rested enough to fully experience and appreciate MP. (Although I must admit, watching the sun rise above the mountains in front of MP was pretty glorious.)
But whatever you do, you must be one of the 400 that get to hike Huayna Picchu (the mountain directly behind me in the above picture). The view from the top is breathtakingly amazing.
View of Machu Picchu from the top of Huayna Picchu
Tips for hiking Huayna Picchu:
1. Wear sunscreen
2. Bring lots of water
3. Don't be afraid to talk to whomever you might meet up there. We met some really cool Israeli guys and spent a long time talking with them about Judaism and Christianity (on top of Huayna Piacchu and also back in a cute little coffee shop in Aguas Calientes).
4. If you are good at hiking it shouldn't take you very long to get to the top... maybe 20-30 minutes? I'm horrible at hiking and have horrible asthma and it took me almost an hour, but it was sooooo worth it! Hiking back down is the easy part, except in some places the stairs were so steep we went down on our bums...
In Cusco, some people train their llamas and alpacas to be super friendly with people. Then tourists, like myself, will pay a quarter or two to get some funny pictures. This was the kissing alpaca. He wasn't even part of the "staged photo op" that included his mother and owner (dressed in festive, traditional Cusco-ian garb). This little guy was naturally friendly, nuzzling us, letting us pet him, following us around...
Travel Tip: Before you visit Cusco, don't forget to ask your doctor to prescribe medicine to prevent or relieve altitude sickness! I didn't and as a result experienced painful altitude sickness - It felt like the worst sinus infection EVER. My entire face was so puffy, my head felt like it was going to explode! An acquaintance we met there had it worse - he had to be hospitalized and hooked up to an oxygen tank!
Last Sunday we had lunch at my grandma's house. It was a beautiful day - sunny but not hot, perfect in the shade. I was supposed to put the chicken in before noon but didn't get the bbq sauce made in time, so we ended up picking up some KFC on the way. It turned out to be better that way anyway because then we had coleslaw and mashed potatoes!
We didn't have enough table room so the kids had "picnics"
Lauren doesn't know how to smile naturally for pictures so she always looks a little creepy. I think she secretly thinks it's funny.
Ryan is getting so big!
We waited patiently for the food and then pounced!
This recipe tasted especially good with a cup of tea. But then again, what doesn't? :)
I saw the basics of this recipe online somewhere... can't remember exactly where... but I think several versions are floating around... I have changed it to fit my taste buds!
Snack Bites (Might be healthy? The nut butter provides protein and honey is a natural way to sweeten...) I don't use specific measurements because I just ad lib... if it looks like the right consistency and tastes good then you're all set :)
Nut butter (I use soy butter but you can use almond butter, peanut butter, etc.) - about 1/2 cup
Oats (I use old fashioned whole rolled oats) - about 1/4 cup
Honey - about 2 tablespoons
Coconut - about 1/8 cup or more depending on taste
Vanilla extract - about 2 teaspoons or more depending on taste
Chocolate chips - as desired
optional - flax seeds, almond meal, anything to add some texture and healthify it up!
Mix ingredients together, adding more of whichever you desire to change the taste and consistency. It should feel like rough, damp cookie dough. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Roll into bite-sized balls. Eat! Save leftovers (if you have any) in the fridge.
I have found that I prefer to have more vanilla extract and more coconut, otherwise the nut butter and honey flavors are overpowering!