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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What can you say when you have just returned from one of the best vacation trips ever? Give me a month or two to put everything in perspective but right now it is still too real to quite get a grip on being back.

The story; A few months back we got a call from Ed, "Want to go to Peru in the Spring?", "Want to hike to Machu Pichu?", "I'll take care of the details."

Who doesn't want to see Machu Pichu and we do like to hike.

So knowing no more than where we were headed we took off a couple of Fridays ago for a new adventure. We got a ride to the airport, sat on a couple of planes for way too many hours, waited in line at customs in the middle of the night and just like that we were in Peru.

We were traveling with a group from the college where Ed teaches. Trying to get 34 professors, students and assorted folks to move in one direction was like hearding cats. Since Miss M and I are kind of anal about being on time we usually ended up being the first to where ever the group was scheduled to be (fine with us and we soon started taking advantage of it to see a lot more of the area).

Saturday we explored Lima, it was nice but not what we came for.

I did notice the lack of performance bikes, just about every 2-wheeler we saw was converted to SS include the police bicycles. There were a lot of 3-wheeler pedal carts carrying everything from entire families to entire kitchens.

It wasn't long before we had enough churches (decorated with a taste for blood and gore), catacombs (although I think I did see a ghost) and tour groups to last us for a while. We headed off on our own to the beach which turned out to be fogged in but it was a nice walk to get there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Sunday we took a plane to Cusco an got our first look at the Andes. The flight took us from sea level Lima to Cusco which is about 2 miles above sea level. Made walking around really challanging for a while.

Then it was onto a bus for a day long ride towards the Urubamba and the Inka Trail. With lots of stops on the way to let everyone mill around, shop and eat.

Miss M and I skipped the milling around and shopping. Everytime the bus stopped off we would walk as far a time would allow and explore a bit. I did notice a LBS that seemed to carry some good brands but they were sold out.

We did get to explore some of the villages (and meet some of the locals) which were really different than anything you would see in the US (kind of reminded me of parts of China more than anything else). We didn't push ourselves in the high altitude but we did get to see a lot. Then it was off to a beautiful converted monastery to spend our first night in the Andes.

Talking it over Miss M and I agreed that even though we actually hadn't gotten much exercise for the last couple of days we were having a really good time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You know how on vacation you lose track of time and date? Yes indeed this was a real change. I'm thinking it was Monday we finally got a chance to really stretch our legs and explore some trails and Inka ruins.

As early risers we had a chance to explore the Monastery before the days scheduled tour.

The bus dropped the group off at the end of the road at the bottom of a hill. Way at the top of the hill was a Inka village. Miss M and I seemed to have a lot more energy then most of the rest of the group and we soon were on our own. Great views from the top and we sure enjoyed scrambling around the cliffs.

Then it was off to the nearest village for a really cool lunch served in someones house. Those streets were like nothing we had ever seen. The vendors caught up to the group after lunch, it was amusing to see how much junk everyone was buying but the prices sure were low.

At the end of the day Miss M and I got off the bus a few miles from the Monastery for a bit more exploring and walking around.

Tomorrow......the hike to Machu Piccu!
 

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Non non normal
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Wow!!!!!
 

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Sticky Valentine
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Absolutley amazing. I am incredibly jealous, having never really explored anything outside my So. Cal. bubble. I can only hope that one day I'm as lucky as you. Great pics. Thanks,



joe
 

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Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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does this qualify for the semi-finals?

i was wondering where you were at, mb ...
the attached pic left me breathless.
thanks for posting.
 

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On your left!
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Giant Dog Invade Peru!!

Awesome journal. Too late to enter the best pics contest? Sure winner for the 06 award.

I loved two pics:

the one with your reflection in Ms.M's glasses is simply spectacular! Something you would see on display in an art show. The clouds, detail, the idea, everything. My favorite from you so far.

The other is the dog. Is "depth of field" the correct description for getting everything in focus? Looks like the woman is just getting ready to reach up and pet 'em.

Nice trip. Thanks for sharing.

PS. I am never complaining about my LBS not having things in stock again.
 

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Polka Power
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Man....my brother has been following you around. He just got back from there....and from D.C. during the last snow storm.

Anyway not to steal from your thread...he has a bunch of pics up you might want to see. http://www.flickr.com/photos/vegancheesesteak/

In bolivia they took a MTN bike tour up to like 15k feet and then road back down to about 4k i think. I will make him put those pics up at that link shortly. They aren't there for the most part, although the truck in the waterfall pics is from the ride. Look for more pics in a bit.

www.chacaltayatours.com/ was the bike tour company if interested.

Awesome stuff.
 

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Bolivia.

I'm ChuckUni's brother...

Peru and Bolivia were both great fun. You've got some great pics too. I have flickr albums of some of mine if your interested:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vegancheesesteak/

The highlight of my Bolivia trip was definitely the "Death Road". It descends from 15,400ft to around 3,500 ft. There is a small 6mi climb at the higher altitude part that was really rough (especially on a mtn bike), but I made it. Not too bad considering it was my 2nd day in high altitude, thought I was going to faint... Part of the trail is paved as you get to the bottom it is gravel then dirt and finally mud and some stream crossings. It would have been a ton of fun to do the top paved part on a road bike, I couldnt spin the mountain bike any faster and I was flying. Check it out for sure if your ever down there again. Also they have a trip to a salt flat which i hear is amazing also.


Here are a couple more pics from the downhill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A cyclist in Peru (Part 2 Machu Picchu)

After a few days of not much exercise I knew what was about to go down. Ed and his wife (Miss M's sister) had seen it before but everyone else was in for quite a suprise.

At last we were on our way to the fabled lost city; Machu Picchu. There really isn't any way to drive there, you can hike, take a train and then a bus or I suppose jump out of a plane.

We were hiking.

Way early in the morning our tour bus dropped the group off at a train station. Then after about an hour along a narrow gorge we were let off at Chachabamba and our start on the Inca Trail (quite a few of our group were feeling less than full strength and about 1/4 of them passed on the hike).

We crossed a hanging bridge over the raging Urubamba river and then had to kill quite a bit of time waiting for all the paperwork to clear (Peru really controls who and how many are on the trail at one time). The group met up with 4 guides and 4 porters, Miss M and I were not worried about getting lost and we sure didn't require a porter but a lot of the folks were more than happy to get all the help they could.

Once were on the trail Miss M quickly worked her way to the front. Now when she does this cycling she can put the hurt on me. From all our riding together we are almost in exactly the same shape but she weighs a lot less so she can hurt me on the hills. Hiking is another story, my legs are a lot longer than hers and on the surfaces we were about to cover longer legs are a real advantage.

Of course being in a mixed group there were some young guys who were not about to allow an "lil' old lady" to walk away from them. :rolleyes:

It took the best part of a mile before we were on our own. I think she was taking it easy. :eek:

I asked the head guide where we should stop and got some suggestions so about every mile we waited for a few folks to catch up.

We kept getting higher and higher above the river. In the first three miles we were going to climb about 2,100 feet. The river got smaller and smaller way down in the canyon. When we reached the ruins of Winay Wayna we waited for everyone to catch up-it took about an hour before the group was together again.

It was starting to rain but Miss M was having fun and feeling good (as was I).
 

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It just struck me when I went back to look at the photos a second time, how freakishly clean the streets are. I mean, spotless, and not a speck of trash.

As always, impressive pix! Really looking forward to Macchu Picchu.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Our group had the ruins to ourselves which was pretty neat. Let me tell you walking through them was a lot like climbing a cliff, those stairs were STEEP!

Then we took time for lunch and were back on the trail. This time it took Miss M a few hundred yards to drop everyone but me. It was getting wet but the rocky trail and the stone steps (built by the Inkas hundreds of years ago) were holding up well. Good thing we were wearing sturdy boots.

Miss M and I had our cycling rainwear along so we had no problem as it got wetter and wetter. The head guide caught up with us for a bit as we enjoyed the views-he was comfortable with his traditional Inka plastic sheet wrapped around his pack.

A couple of miles and a bit more climbing after lunch we reached Inti Punku and finally got our first views of Machu Piccu way below us in the clouds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What with the rain and all we didn't spend a lot of time hanging around waiting for folks to catch us. As soon as the first couple showed up we headed down the wet slippery trail to Machu Picchu. We decided the clouds were a good thing since we couldn't see how far we would fall if we slipped (there were no guard rails here).

We reached the first guard shack and got out of the rain. Then we zipped up our raingear and cooled our heels for almost 2 hours waiting for everyone else to catch up.

By the time the group was together the clouds finally broke and we had an amazing view of the ruins.

Everyone else was tired and cold after the hike, climb, descent and rain. We on the other hand after all that rest were raring to go. Waiting around for the group we had found out about a trail down to the river-they took the bus we took the trail (man it was steep) straight down off the mountain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
When we finally reached the bottom the river was roaring. Since it was several thousand feet below the top of the trail it was a lot warmer too. For the first time that day we were on almost level ground, it felt really good.

We followed the river for a couple of miles to Agua Calientes and our hotel for the night.

After a quick shower we were more than ready for a good dinner. There were a great variety of places to eat in town. We decided to choose something fairly local (the waiter was awfully young but really friendly). The menu was interesting and I finally discovered why every home we visited had so many of those cute pets around. :rolleyes:

It was tempting to try the meat but Miss M had the potato soup, I had the vegtable soup and we split a plate of fries. (I'll tell you, the whole trip we never had a bad potato and we tried a lot of them-good stuff).

Tomorrow-off for more adventures.
 

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Big is relative
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I took some pictures of some puddles. I feel so inferior. These have to be your best yet, I love the mix of color and BW shots. BTW, Tantalus TT is this weekend.
 

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Palm trees & sunshine!
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Amazing shots! Stunning! I couldn't even begin to pic a favorite yet although I keep going back to the waterfall shot.

Also really like the one yesterday of your reflection in the sunglasses.
 

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I heart team Zissou!
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Super!

It looks like you had as good a time hiking through the Andean redoubts of the Inca as I had bad a time cycling through the polluted reaches of the Absheron penninsila in Azerbaijan! Good on you and great pictures!!

Seeing those ruins brought back memories of my undergraduate anthropology studies and of the pivital role played by Pachaquti Inca Yopanqui in the sudden rise and expansion of what had previously been a relatively modest mountain people!

Thanks for sharing what looks like a wonderful time. Next time you are in France, just look me up!

A+

Philippe
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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How come..........

even when you guys are walking, your pictures of Miss M are always from behind? Do you thinkthat's the only way we will recognize her? :p :p :p :p

Great pictures.........what an amazing place. Glad you got back safe.

Len
 
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