What a dream come true! Machu Picchu was what started our plans to travel to South America. It has been on my bucket list for years and I'm proud to say I have been there. This is how our day went...

We were picked up from our hotel at 630 am and on our way to the train station picked up a girl from a different hotel on the way. Turns out she was our age and had been leaving in Argentina for the past 3 months, and made a stop in Peru on her way back home to the states. The drive the the train station was interesting. It took about 20 or so minutes and at this time in the morning the streets are full of people. As we were driving I was trying to take it all. I don't even know what the people were doing but there were locals everywhere. And dogs of course too (which still makes me sad). The drive to the train station was interesting because we got to see parts of the city we wouldn't necessarily see otherwise. The construction here is very poor, many of the houses are build on the side of the mountains and the best way I can describe the city is "dirty", literally garbage everywhere (with the exception of the town square area) Which I guess is what I expected and I'm used to it now (keep in mind this is my first time to South America, all inclusive vacations to Cancun and Dominican don't count).  I noticed there were many vendors on the street selling juices, cocoa tea and food. The locals seems to congregate around these stands. I enjoyed the drive as I was able to observe the people and take in all the sights through more rural Cuzco. We then arrived at the train station and boarded the "Perurail" train to Machu Picchu. This was a 4 hour train ride. Very comfortable and enjoyable with friendly staff! The train ride alone was unreal. Winding through the Andes mountains, beside the sacred river (this river has three names but apparently is also called the sacred river so for ease I call it that). The train had windows on the ceiling so you could look up to see the mountains. It was beautiful scenery. On the way you pass by smaller villages and towns and see the farmers in the fields and children playing. After four hours we were at the station in Machu Picchu. This is where we met our local guide, arranged by gadventures. Our guides name was Elias, and he is from Cuzco and was knowledgeable about the history, architecture, and the inca empire (Elias also does the "inca trek" tour and said he had walked the inca trail about 200 times!!) From the train station you then take a short walk through the town and take a 20 minute or so bus ride to the entrance to Machu Picchu. This was a scary bus ride zig zagging up the mountains. It was also very narrow so when a bus would be coming down the hill, our driver would reverse down the road so they could pass. This happened about 3 times on the way up. Alex and I were quite shocked the first time it happened. Literally if we were over a couple inches the bus would have gone over the side. Anyways, we made it to the entrance and began a 2 hour guided tour with Elias. It was awesome that there were only 3 of us in the group because I noticed some groups of upwards of 10 people. We then had free time to explore as we wished and make our way back to the bus to catch our train on time. 

Machu Picchu was everything I imagined it would be. It felt surreal to actually be there. There is no better feeling then accomplishing a goal in life, and Machu Picchu was one of mine! Many people I had talked to before this trip did not know what or where Machu Picchu was. I suggest Machu Picchu be on everyone's bucket list! 

This morning we took a one hour flight from Cuzco to Lima. On this flight we met a man from the states would was traveling with his family and he recommended we do the paragliding in Lima (we told him we were looking for something fun to do).

Our original plan was to take a 5 hour bus ride from Lima to Ica today but we both weren't feeling up to that today so decided to come to our hotel in Lima (Ibis miraflores) today to see if we could get a room for tonight and they kindly accommodated us. When we checked in the man said "uhhh your reservation is for one bed?....." and we said "yes thats correct" and he said, "ya its for one bed...we

can give you a room for tonight but it will have two beds, will that be okay for you girls?" anyways we got laughing real hard it was pretty funny. When we got to our "two bed" room - turns out the bed are literally inches apart so it might as well be one bed anyways. Maybe we found this funnier than it really is because we are sleep deprived. Also upon check in I was supposed to show my immigration card which I somehow managed to lose. This means when we go to the airport to go to Costa Rica we have to go a couple hours early and I will also have to pay money to get out of the country.

We are currently in Lima in the Miraflores district which is located two blocks away from the Larcomar mall, which is built into the cliff on the coast of Lima. It has indoor and outdoor parts and lots of stores and restaurants. This was the first place we went after checking in at our hotel and we got Pizza Hut for lunch. There's also a TGIF's and Tony Roma's so we will likely go for dinner and to shop around later! There's even a bowling alley and a movie theatre so we might check that out too. 

Tomorrow we are going to do a day trip to Huacachina which is a 5 hour bus ride away. This is also known as the "desert oasis" and is where will be be sand boarding and going on a sand dune buggy ride! The following day we will paraglide in Lima (which is 10 minutes from our hotel) and you are right over the ocean and land on the beach - so fun!

Even though I haven't been away for long I have learned a lot about traveling as opposed to "vacationing". You gain a new perspective of places and the people when you are traveling. As I mentioned in a previous post, everyone has been friendly and welcoming. This country has a lot to offer. In a few days we will be off to Costa Rica to continue our adventures!

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