Tag Archives: aguas calientes

In Search of: Moldy Rooms and the Urubamba River

After a couple days in Cusco, it was time to move on.  Christy and I took a shared taxi out of town to a place called Ollantaytambo.  This was where we would hop on the train and head to Aguas Calientes, our next stop and the town to stay in if you’re going to Machu Picchu.  The drive to Ollantaytambo was impressive.  I had no idea Peru was full of rolling hills.  And the wildflowers!  Who knew there would be so many wildflowers?  Several times, I was tempted to ask the shuttle driver to pull to the side of the road so I could run in the fields, singing The Sound of Music soundtrack.  I held back though.

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The shuttle driver plugged his flash drive into the van’s stereo system, and we found ourselves singing along to 80’s music.  Most notably, Bon Jovi and Belinda Carlisle.  Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?  Ooh, heaven is a place on Earth.  And I must agree.  The rolling fields did seem a bit like heaven.

When we arrived in Aguas Calientes, we were greeted by rain.  We donned the ponchos and followed a lady waiting at the train station through a maze of shops in the outdoor craft market and up several streets to our hostel.  And when I say up, I do mean up.  By the time we arrived at the hostel I was pretty sure I’d just completed a hike.  The roads in that city are STEEP.  They are also full of holes (at least during our time there).  The holes were made by construction crews.  They seemed to be redoing the underground pipes.  One can only hope such work improves Aguas Calientes.  After spending a few hours there, we were inclined to refer to the whole place as a “hole.”

We stayed at the Pirwa Bed and Breakfast.  I do NOT recommend the place.  Granted, from what I’ve heard, I’m not sure any hostel in that town is worth a recommendation.  Perhaps the $300 a night hotel near the river would be suitable.  Too bad I don’t care to spend $300 a night.  It was clean — I’ll give it that.  But everything was musty and moldy, the ventilation was terrible, the service was mediocre, and the noise was atrocious.  The breakfast, however, was actually pretty good.  So at least there was that.

After feeling thoroughly depressed about our move from the super cute Mallqui Hostal in Cusco to this place, we decided we obviously needed to get out and explore.  We were determined to find the bright side.  And a bright side there was.  We found a lovely restaurant near the train station that served scrumptious vegetable soup and avocado salad, after which we wandered down to the river that runs through town, the Urubamba.  The Urubamba river is quite breathtaking.  And we spent the better part of the evening singing, dancing and taking pictures.

As the day came to a close, we were excited to return to our hostel in anticipation of Machu Picchu in the morning.  Yes!  Machu Picchu — sort of the whole point of the trip!  We were ecstatic, moldy room and all.

Posted in Peru, South America Also tagged , |

In Search of: An Actual Post on ISOS

Wow.  My writing lately has been appalling.  Particularly because there hasn’t been any.  How do I begin to catch up?  I suppose the obvious way — just write.  So here I am, sitting in bed, computer on lap, punching the keys.  I feel a little squeaky and out of practice.  Likely because I am.

I’m running myself a bit ragged at the moment.  It doesn’t help that since I returned from Peru, I’ve learned a valuable lesson about the downside of travel — sickness.  Be it the accidental drinking of parasite infested water, the bite of a nasty mosquito or the germs hobnobbing with your nose on the airplane, it’s easy to get sick when away from home.  I’ve been fighting a feisty bug the last few weeks.  I think it’s finally gone, but I say that with discretion.  I thought it was gone after the first week, and then the week after.  I have now reverted to cautious optimism.

But, anyhow, back to running myself ragged.  At present, we’re in the home stretch at school.  I’m not exactly sure how the end of the school year crept up on me, but it’s here with a vengeance, and I’ve got about 13,000 topics still to cover.  Obviously I’ll only be able to cover 9, 899 of them.  I’m also attempting to figure out how to develop lectures and videos to include in my curriculum next year.  I already maintain blogs for each of my classes, and I often use other instructors’ videos to supplement class discussions and lecture.  But I’d really like to create my own.  The students know my teaching style, and they like learning directly from me.  I think it would improve my lesson plans.  Of course, I had to choose one of the most time consuming projects possible.  But then that’s me.  I like to keep things interesting.

What else, you ask?  Well, I’m feverishly editing Peru pictures.  I use the word “feverishly” rather loosely.  Mostly because I’m moving at a snail’s pace.  Initially, I blamed this on being sick.  Now, I blame it on the fact that being sick makes one rather used to NOT editing pictures.  I’m not sick anymore, yet I still didn’t get any pictures edited today.  Granted, I edited hiking pictures yesterday and baby shower pictures a few days before and Indiana pictures the day before that.  So.  I’m not lazy.  Just distracted by pictures other than those from Peru.

This weekend I’m about to head out for a work related trip.  I’m going to New York City!  This would be the cause of exceptional excitement, except, I daresay, I’m a little tired of traveling at the moment.  OMG.  Don’t tell anyone I said that!  Me?  Tired of travel?  It can’t be.  Except it kind of is.  Not so much tired of travel as just…tired.  And I’m busy planning my big trip to Guatemala and Honduras this summer.  And a handful of fantabulous hiking trips.  Honestly, I’d rather focus on those than a “work related trip.”

Ah, hell.  Now I just sound like I’m complaining.  I don’t mean to.  I feel so incredibly fortunate this year.  Things have gone so well.  I’ve been lucky to travel and learn and enjoy my teaching.  I’m happy and semi-healthy (soon to be totally and completely healthy!).  What more could a girl ask for?  Not much, I tell you.  Not much.

Posted in Peru, Ramblings and Rants, South America

In Search of: The Anticipation of Peru!

One of the best parts of travel is the anticipation that comes with an upcoming trip.  And right now, I’m full to the brim with anticipation.  On April first, I will be boarding a plane for Cusco, Peru!  Okay.  Not exactly accurate.  I will be boarding a plane for Mexico City, then Lima, Peru, then Cusco, Peru!  It’s going to be a damn long day.  But, seriously.  This will be the most awesome trip since the history of awesome.

Why, you ask?  Because I’ve wanted to take this trip for probably five years.  I even planned it.  Twice.  And finally.  Finally, finally, finally — I’m going!  My little self is doing kartwheels in my head right now.  That’s how excited I am.  (I would do actual kartwheels outside, but it’s a little late and kind of cold.)

I work at a private school, and we get two weeks off for spring break.  I had debated taking this trip over winter break, but I decided to move into my awesomesauce apartment instead.  It was a good move — I love the new place.  But the trip truly couldn’t be put off much longer.  My heart couldn’t take it.  Spring break it is!

My friend, Christy, and I fly out on the same day.  We’ll meet at the airport in Cusco and head off to start the adventure!  (I know.  Way too many exclamation points in this post.  But I can’t help it, peeps!!  Excited, I tell you.)  We’ll stay in Cusco a couple of days then be whisked away by train to Aguas Calientes.  Although Aguas Calientes has been described as the hole of all holes when it comes to tourist towns, we’re going to make it amazing.  We’ve got hikes planned up some pretty intimidating mountains (which include some pretty steep ladders).  We’ve got food plans.  Because you can’t visit Peru without tasting the guinea pig.  (Sorry Mr. Guinea.  You were a good pet.)  We’ve got early morning treks to Machu Picchu and photography and videos and dancing in the street planned.  At the end of our time together we’ll spend a couple of days in Ollantaytambo.  Who the hell knows what we’re gonna do there.  But I can promise, you’ll hear all about it when we do it.

After a week in the Cusco area, Christy goes home (sad face).  But I go to the Amazon rainforest (big ass happy face!).  Oh yes.  I’ll be sleeping in a room with 3.5 walls, staring through my mosquito net into the jungle at night.  Creepers.  But all kinds of amazing.  I’m going to climb trees!  I’m going to kayak!  I’m going to bird watch and hike and wander and get lost (but not too lost, ’cause I’ll have a guide).

I’m not sure the word anticipation quite explains what I’m feeling right now.  Freedom?  Exhilaration?  Child-like wonder?  But whatever it is — I’ll take some more of that, please.

Posted in Peru, South America, Trip Planning Also tagged , , , , |