summer vacation…Peru

by sam on 09/9/2017

This spring, when I started thinking about what I wanted to do for my summer vacation, I swore up and down that I was going to go somewhere relaxing and just drink wine for two weeks. Which is clearly how I ended up on another “adventure” vacation that involved not only literal planes, trains, and automobiles…and boats, but somehow walking up every giant flight of stone steps built by the Incas in the entire Cusco valley. As someone who (internally) grimaces when I visit friends in NYC who live in walkups? This was clearly an excellent idea. But it was absolutely amazing. This is the second trip I’ve taken with the National Geographic Journeys-G Adventures partnership, and it was another solid win. I think I’ve talked at least three other people in my office into taking trips in the two weeks since I’ve been back.

The trip started in Lima (where I arrived a few days early to actually spend some time in Lima), then we flew to Tambopata in the Peruvian Amazon, and then we flew to Cusco, where I hung out with some folks from some other tours while most of my actual tour went off to hike the Inka trail or the Lares Trek. I know my limitations, both in terms of hiking and ability to be a pleasant human being without a bed, shower or bathroom, and opted to not spend three days hiking along a trail that included sites named things like “Dead Woman’s Pass”.

We all reconnected at the place where everyone in Peru eventually arrives – Machu Picchu. At a certain point, with the amount of time people spend talking about it, you start to think it’s overrated and can’t really be that amazing.

It’s that amazing. Not just the construction – the natural beauty of the site by itself is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced. We all had to get on line for the bus to get there at about 4-something in the morning, and it was raining while we stood in this two-hour long line. But the rain stopped by the time we were at the site, and turned into steam coming off the mountains that made us feel like we were actually standing in the clouds. I’m not sure my pictures do it justice, but I sure took a lot of them.

Oh, and as for the wine I planned to drink? The wine in Peru was good, but I ended up not drinking very much of it thanks to the fact that once I got to Cusco the altitude made one glass pretty much my limit. I really need to plan that part better next time!

As always, click on the thumbnails to get bigger pictures and descriptions. These go in the order of the trip.

…and finally, for good measure, to get the full scope of the entire place, I stitched a panorama of the full view of Machu Picchu together (the grey is because I didn’t want to crop it down to make things “even”)…

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