zaterdag 24 september 2016

Peru - Machu Picchu

Finally the time was there I was going on my HOLIDAYSSSS!!! The 8th of september I woke up in Nigeria in Lagos, then I flew back to the sandpit as crew, changed into normal clothes and gave my suitcase to my roommate. Fingers crossed that I would get on any flight, since all the flights to Europe were extremely busy. Finally I heard that I could get on the flight to Copenhagen and from there I could take KLM to fly to Amsterdam where my dear dad picked me up to drive home. I was on the road and traveling for around 24 hours before I got to my final destination. By this time you don't know what's your name anymore and you feel like a zombie!! Went to bed around 19.30 and woke up at 8am, feeling like a newborn child! The 10th was the day of the wedding of Hennie and Johan, the mother of my friends. It was absolutely stunning. The wedding was held in their garden which was transformed into this amazing white flowers venue, let's put it like this, it was the wedding of the year in my town. It was so nice to be around my family as well, since everybody got invited and we all got dressed up. There were some tears of joy and love and the party was on that night!! And since we are dutch we went home on the bike, me in my dress and heels, which wasn't the most comfortable thing to drive a bike in, but I managed.

The next day it was time for PERU!!!! With a little hangover back in the car to the airport where I met my Belgium friend Wouter. We took the KLM flight directly to Lima, the flight wasn't full at all, since we were traveling on a standby ticket as well. While we were on our way to the gate, Wouter thought it would be nice to spray some perfume, clever as Wouter is, he sprayed the perfume on his standby ticket and all the ink was gone, let's hope we still could get on the flight, haha. The crew of KLM were so nice and we had such a good flight, we slept, drank, watched movies and we laughed most of all. That's actually what we did on the entire holiday, we laughed so hard we almost cried. Just before we were landing into Lima we could see the sunset going over the Andes mountains, which was beautiful. We took a taxi to a hostel we read about in the lonely planet. By the time we wanted to go for a bite we ran in two Australians who seemed pretty drunk, that's why we asked where they went, because we wanted to go to the same place. Turns out there was a food festival going on by the beach, and we decided to have a look as well. The food was so good, we had some pork from the barbecue, in Dutch we would say 'it's like an angels peeing on your tong', sounds better in Dutch though... 

The next day we had to fly to Cusco to be on time for our Inca Jungle Track. On the site where we booked our standby tickets to Cusco it showed us that there was still loads of space available, however, once we got to the counter they told us there was only one spot left.... Oeps... But, we both got on the last two seats (thank god sometimes people don't show up or are late for their flights) so that we can get on. We even got a drink and a snack on the flight, winning!!! Cusco is located at 3500 meters above sea level, where the air is dry and low of oxygen. Normally people go to Cusco a few days before to acclimatize to the height. Wouter and I thought we would be fine (since we are in the air most of the time as well), but once we went for dinner in the centre and walked back up to the hostel, we both had to catch our breath, because we got dizzy and light headed. The company of the tour was picking us up at 4am!!! So we went straight to bed, no party today. We changed our big backpacks to our smaller ones, because during the next 4 days we had to carry them everywhere. Minimize was the key! And if there's one thing now I'am good at, it's packing my bags. I went once on a skiing holiday for a week with just hand luggage!

The first day of the track we were going to mountain bike for 55 kilometers, all the way from the one of the highest points in Cusco all the way down to 2000 meters. The view was really cool, so many mountains and you could even see the start of the Amazone as well. We wore so much protection because we were going 55/60 kilometers per hour at one point. Normally after the mountain biking we could take a bus to the next village, however, because the farmers decided to organize a strike all over Peru we had to walk about 15/16 kilometers to move from one village to the other, they blocked the roads. Once we finally got to our hostel for that night we had to change in 15 minutes because we were doing the rafting as well. By this time we were so tired, but we already paid so there we go again... The rafting was so cool, and pretty wild as well. never done something like that before. 

Dinner and lunch every day was 4 courses, good thing Wouter and I love food, at one point the others gave us their plates because they didn't like it. But if you burn around 2500 to 3000 calories a day you need to eat enough to stay strong. Day 2 was hiking day like there was no tomorrow, 9 hours in total. I have never walked so much in my life! While we were walking we had a few stops as well, our guide knew so much about the jungle and the plants and surroundings, which was really interesting what nature has to offer. We tried mandarins, avocado's, cherry tomatoes and even termites, yes those really small insects, they tasted okay actually, like a sesame seed. We had a stop where our guide told us about how they make coffee and how the inca's used to life and used their resources, and also about the coca leaves. Some people didn't know what they make of coca leaves, which was pretty funny once they found out and realized they have been eating them for days in a row. We also tried the traditional clothes and even tried to do their traditional dance. Still didn't decide yet if it's Facebook proof. 

That night we got introduced as well with the Inca Tequila, and also the way they present it (def not facebook proof). That night was the only night we could go out for a bit, since the alarm went of at 7 instead of 3.30/5/6! We ended up doing karaoke and salsa dancing the night away. Day 3 arrived and we started with zip lining, 5 times in total from one side to the other. It was so nice, but you also felt pretty powerless, just hanging by a cable and hoping you will get to the other side safe and sound. After the zip lining we had to hike again for about 3/4 hours! In-between we had lunch somewhere in the jungle where we had the best guacamole I ever tasted in my life. I think Wouter and I had around 3 each, oh yeah! While the others walked to Aguas Calientes (the town at the bottom of the Machu Picchu), we decided to have another little hike to this waterfall. The guide told us that we might even see a bear and told us what to do if we actually would see one, you know what we saw, one bird and that's it!!! The waterfall was beautiful though and definitely worth it, but no bears. That night I fell asleep at dinner, all the nights were so short and we did so much during the day that I reached my breaking point, all I could think of was sleeping and I got pretty grumpy as well, which is not like me to be grumpy. 

The 4th and final day was THE day we would climb Machu Picchu! We left the hostel at 4am to be early at the bridge, the bridge to the Machu Picchu would open at 5am and then you could walk up. But there would be a line so the earlier we would arrive at the bridge the better it would be. Normally people take around 1 hour to climb the Machu Picchu and do those 1800 steps, but since I got a bit competitive and wanted to pass by everybody and be the first to arrive, we did it in 40 minutes and we were 6th and 7th to be on the top! Which is pretty impressive if I may say so, since we started in the queue as 25th! Once the whole group got on the top we had a tour around the Machu Picchu of about 1.5 hour. Which was really interesting, even though we were so sweaty and tired of walking up and so fast.  Later the guide told us, yes so after the tour you guys are going to climb that mountain, there were two mountains, one really high one and the other one a bit smaller. We thought he was joking so we started laughing and then he told us, no you actually are climbing that one as well. We asked him, how many more steps would that be? Guess what he said 2400 extra!!!!! Wouter and I looked at each other and we dropped our jaws, we were speechless. We decided to first have a proper breakfast before we would start. We told each other, lets just see how it goes and if we are tired we can always come down. However, later while we started to walk we told each other we are both to stubborn to give up so we knew we were going to climb all the way, no discussion about it. and WE DID IT, 3061 meters high! The view was stunning and priceless. This was the moment we waited for, for 4 days, this was the price! We did it, not thinking that we had to go down as well..... Which sounds easier then it was. Normal stairs you can walk down super easily, not this time, the steps were big, small, smaller and high and low, so you really had to concentrate that you would not fall down or even fall down sideways from the mountain itself. Once down, we realized that we got burned really bad and all we wanted to do was have a beer and eat. So that's what we did! The state of my feet was absolutely disgusting, don't think I have seen them dirtier then that. But so worth it! The train back to Cusco was about 3.5 hours, and once we sat down we felt how burnt we were, therefore we ordered a cold bottle of wine, just to cool down... And drink maybe. Next to use were two Mexican ladies of around 40/45 years old, they were laughing at us because we used the bottle of wine to cool down our necks. Then we started talking, and they told us that she already wanted to do Machu Picchu for 20 years, but all those years she couldn't go, so she was so happy she did it. That made me realize how lucky Wouter and I are that we just could take all those flights for so cheap, and don't have to save our whole lives to do something like climbing the Machu Picchu. We just did it. It was so rewarding, but I don't think I would do it again, it's really demanding for your body, and with no training it was hard.

Wouter and I decided that we would stay two more nights in Cusco before heading back to Amsterdam, stay there one more night and then fly back to the sandpit. First we thought we would go to Bolivia and see the salt fields, but we just couldn't. All the hiking, early nights and soreness in our legs, we basically couldn't go anywhere else. I hardly could walk the stairs up to our suite room. We stayed in a hostel but we just wanted to have a little more privacy and just be able to walk around in our underwear, by this time Wouter and I are pretty comfortable with each other, if you know what I mean. It was funny because the next day, we had breakfast at the rooftop terrace and these Australians asked if they could go to our toilet and once they got in they were like wajooooooooooooooow, this is so massive, and that all for just 30 dollars a night, however they were traveling on a low low lowwww budget, so this was heaven for them, haha. 

During our hike at Machu Picchu we met a Dutch couple and they would come to our hostel for a bite and a drink, however afterwards Wouter was so tired that he went to bed earlier, I stayed out for a bit longer and then had to mentally prepare myself to walk up to the 4th floor, again. The next day we sorted out our tickets back home, and after a 12 hour night Wouter had another nap of 3 hours! Our last night in Cusco we went for dinner in the city centre, and the food again was amazing, so much flavor and those cocktails were just the best. As we walked back to the hostel we ran into an Englishmen I met that day, so him and me decided to have a few drinks at the bar, Wouter was the party pooper (again, just kidding Wouter)and went to bed, 6 hours later I went to bed as well, so much fun always at an Irish bar. It was time to start our journey back to Amsterdam. The flight back to Lima was  pretty full, but we got on, since everything went so smooth our entire holiday. The flight back to Amsterdam as well, the crew was so nice and we had a whole row for ourselves. Then my dear daddy picked us up from Schiphzl (we came out in our matching alpaca sweaters, and even the ground staff looked funny at us, we didn't care) and we stayed one night with my parents. We woke up at 2pm!! Day gone.... We went to the beach for a bit and then we headed to my favorite restaurant in The Hague, where they have the best spareribs you have ever tried in your entire life! Such a good way to end a perfect holiday. 

Sometimes it's definitely not where you are, but it's all about who you were with. Thanks to Wouter this holiday has been the best yet. We laughed so much, and we also took care of each other. This was really our holiday and these photos just give an impression of how much fun we had. So grateful to call him my friend. We will talk for years about this holiday and it has been such an amazing experience, which the Machu Picchu as a highlight. Another world wonder ticked from the list! 

Can't wait for our next trip, which will be our skiing holiday in March... Thank you Peru for your hospitality, definitely worth going, the people are so nice and the food is just amazing. Can't believe it went so fast as well, guess it's true what they say, time flies when you're having fun !! 

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