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South America

The trip from Peru back to Europe

Jet lag, that strange thing that people talk about. How to avoid it? I have no clue, most of the tips I read say the same “Try to stay awake / go to sleep early according to the timezone of your destination”. So, before going to Peru I avoided to sleep to be able to sleep most of the flight to Peru and wake up on time for “breakfast”. It didn’t work. The way back, I had to sleep the moment I sat, because in Ireland that would be 2am! I slept, but it didn’t help with the jet lag anyway.

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South America

Visiting Barranco district and Lima city center

Waking up not too early this time and going again for “Internet Hunting”. We went to the place we’ve been the day before, but it was closed in the morning, and even though there were several other internet places, also closed, we decided to go to the airport and have it done there, but again, no success. I don’t remember in detail, but I think that KLM doesn’t have offices at Lima Airport, or they were closed, I am not sure now. But our plan for the day was visiting Barranco district, considered one of the most romantic and bohemian!

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South America

Going to the beach in Lima, a full day to relax

Finally!! I can write “waking up a bit late”!!! I don’t remember at what time exactly, but if I wrote that in my notes it means that it was kind of significant… After a shower on a mega-tiny bathroom with a “shower” that was basically just a hole in the wall. Yeah, Lima was the place where we had the worse conditions. We weren’t expecting anything fancy, but after 14 days on vacations in places where we indeed had low expectations, we were expecting something better in Lima. That, or not forgetting that we have been there before… Then breakfast!

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South America

Arequipa, the charming city in the south of Peru

Waking up early in Arequipa…, it is strange to write this about every day of my vacations, which kind of vacations do you wake up early every day? Oh, jet lag…, right… Well, we went back to the creperie for a breakfast, and after that a “girly moment” of shopping! Souvenirs and etc!

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South America

Back to Arequipa from Mollendo

The 13th day, we were in Mollendo and it was time to get back to Arequipa, from there we would fly back to Lima which meant that our vacations were close to an end.

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South America

Catarindo Beach, a hidden gem in the south of Peru

Another early wake up, and another beach day was ahead of us! Really eager for that, if I reckon properly, we decided to go to Catarindo Beach because we say a photo of that beach and we asked where it is, so there we go! That’s something that I really enjoyed about our vacations, everything planned on the spot, everything enjoyed without too planning.

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South America

Relaxing in Mollendo, a town in Peru off the beaten path

Early wake up in Mollendo! It was a huge difference, what we thought being tireless, guess it was really altitude sickness getting into our bones! It is hard to describe how different we were feeling, so much energy and so way better than the days before, that indeed was a big factor on our decision to skip the Colca Canyon.

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South America

Traveling directly from Puno to Mollendo in one day

Here it is, the longest day of our holidays! Probably longer than the flights themselves, it was a long and challenging journey from Puno to Mollendo.

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South America

Visit to the Uros Islands, Taquile Island and Lake Titicaca

It is quite very surprising to read my tiny travel book where I write all the topics, though not in detail, about my travels. But some times, mostly when I write my posts more than one year after the my adventures, some details would be handy…, oh well.., apparently I had to take a shower in the dark right before going to the port because the electricity went off. Sorry, I just have a glimpse about what happened, I remember that I had to take the shower with the door widely open to get some light. Though, the plan for the day was to visit the famous Uros Islands, so a shower in the dark was not a bother for the day that was up to come!

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South America

What I visited between Cusco and Puno

Day 8, our way to Puno! We had to wake quite early, though the jet lag was still helping us with that, and we went by bus from Cusco to Puno. But since the way to Puno has a lot to see, why not using that opportunity to actually learn and live more about Peru? So, unlikely of what you might think, we actually took another touristic bus…, but this time the guide was actually really good! A pity I didn’t write down his name, because he deserves to be recognized.

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South America

Exploring Aguas Calientes, the Machu Picchu Pueblo

We spent the night in Machu Picchu Pueblo, also known as Aguas Calientes, and we had heavy rain during all night, but really heavy rain! After all, it was the end of the rainy season, so not that surprising for us…, but still, heavy rain… Probably it was due the weather that the next morning we had no water, therefore, no shower which we had the night before, so no big deal about it, but we had to brush our teeth with bottled water…, not so fun but part of our experience in Peru.

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Europe Reviews South America

2012 Review and 2013 Goals

I don’t write for a while…, a long while…, and this has to change. So, first goal for 2013: get my blog back to life!

I am doing this “reviews” for the past years, and reading my last review and goals, I surely need to do more and planning is not one of them. I think I still plan too much considering the amount of things I (don’t) do.

About 2012, I still want to learn or do something that pay me the bills, or at least let me travel and pay for my travel addictions. It’s easy to say “freelancing”, but harder to do it. I love my current job, and now that I have more free time I should invest it in other ways rather than pubs 🙂

FAIL! However, I don’t regret failing with this because the reason was not only the pubs, but the people I’ve met! Thank to these new friends that were such an important part of this year.

But I am going to get this “old” goal back to life, so second goal for 2013: Learn or do something that pays for my travel bills.

About the volunteering, I won’t do it in 2012 for sure, probably small projects or campaigns like the Movember one. Volunteering is still a life goal, but I am sure that I won’t be able to do it properly in 2012, I want to take 4 or 5 months off for that and since I just got a new job that I really like, I’ll postpone it a while. Probably I’ll do it in 2013, who knows?

I knew I couldn’t do it in 2012, and I didn’t. Movember is still Movember, and I can only support this cause (maybe I should also consider taking my health more seriously). This year wasn’t half the fun, and probably in 2013 I’ll collaborate differently (but still with the mustache).

Learning Spanish! I don’t know why I never did this before in a very serious way! I know some Portuñol, I have the advantage that the Portuguese grammar and vocabulary are really quite similar with the Spanish one, and with a good level of Spanish I’ll have almost half of the world as an easy “target” to conquer!

FAIL! Damn it! I am getting depressed now! However, due to my new (and great) friends, I am getting better with understanding French. Maybe I should invest in french instead of spanish, no? I am not going to make a goal of this this time…

Travel! That’s not a goal, it’s rather a lifestyle 😀 Until now I only have one big trip planned, to Peru, but I am looking forward for bigger days in Ireland because I want to explore deeper that country. I don’t believe I’ll do another big trip in 2012, maybe to Greece with my parents (if I manage to convince them…), but nothing more than that. But well…, already thinking about 2013 😀 Planing travels is really addictive 😀

Ahhh, another big fail! Regarding Ireland, not about traveling.

Peru was awesome, and I need to get back to describe the rest of the travel on this blog. I also went to Greece, last-minute decision and extremely spontaneous! It was great to decided, ask for days off and book flights in just two hours! 5 days in Greece was sooooo few, and I knew it way before hand 🙁 Greece and the friends I made there have a very special place in my heart! I don’t know when, but I’ll go back to visit you guys again 🙂

I also been to London, for the first time, to visit a friend. I am actually going back to London in three weeks, weekends are not enough to enjoy that city properly, most probably I’ll go there more times (it is so easy to go from Cork).

And Portugal, this year just for weddings, three! What’s wrong with people, everyone getting wed now??? Well, still great to come back to Portugal and this time I managed to travel a little bit with my family as well, and see long time friends 🙂

However, this Christmas I stayed in Cork…, not alone though, I brought my parents here for the first time 🙂 My mom’s first flight! I didn’t take them to Greece, but I did it to Ireland. It was great to have them here and comforting at the same time, because now they know that I am actually really well here.

Sports, I need to do more sports…, I started with the gym a few months ago, but I’d rather do more outdoors. After March I might apply to kayak lessons, and keep doing hiking. I’ll try to organize one or two hiking trips, Ireland is quite nice for that.

Oh, no…, another huge fail! I actually kept going to the gym, this year I even changed gym twice…, but I also managed to “recover” those 8-9kgs I lost the year before…, this is definitely a goal to 2013! And I am going to go even further, I might even consider to attend to the Cork half marathon! (This is not a goal)

And I think that’s enough for goals, few but possible to achieve! Everything else is bonus 😀

Ah, so funny….

Well, goals are just good to keep us motivated, not to make us feel frustrated if we can’t achieve them. This year ended up to be one, if not the one, of the best years of my life! I achieved so many things that make me feel so good that I wouldn’t dare to write it down. For the first time on my life, I could do “magic” helping my parents and give them exactly what they were needing and they couldn’t do, money wise speaking. I traveled to a new continent. I did my first transatlantic flight. I went back to Greece, after several years just “thinking about that”. And much more other stuff. But regardless everything, the best was and it still is, the friends I met on this road.

I failed all my 2012 goals, but I achieved all those lifetime unwritten goals. Who cares about goals, if life can be so great anyway? I didn’t fail anything, I just didn’t do it yet 🙂

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South America

Visiting and exploring Machu Picchu in one day

Peaceful night, at last! Some noise of the trains passing, but considering that the hostel is IN the train station I think that’s kind of expected, but even that didn’t disturbed me much. For the record, the hostel’s name is El Albergue and I recommend it! Really cool accommodation and certainly the best place to be when you need to wake up early to take a train to Machu Picchu!

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South America

[Peru] Day 5, Ollantaytambo

Finally, an almost perfect night! We barely heard noise, which considering the previous days, it tasted like heaven! But…, and everything has a damn but, early americans complaining about the breakfast in a very american way, “A breakfast without eggs?? And who the fuck eats olives on breakfast??” Well.., heathy people eat olives, and healthy people don’t start the day with a cholesterol bomb…, just saying…

As agreed with our taxi driver on the second day in Cusco, we had a planned and private tour scheduled for this day, we had to wake up early (actually the day before we decided to reschedule the tour to two hours earlier because we really wanted to enjoy Ollantaytambo) and we had our taxi driver / tour guy waiting for us! He wasn’t our tour guy though, but he organized everything.

Packing everything into the “taxi” luggage (in Peru every car can be a taxi…, how delightful), and heading to our first stop which was Moray. That’s a known place, but I believe it isn’t that touristic yet, it wasn’t an easy way to get there, and not everyone hates their car like our driver…, the guy really didn’t care much about the holes on the street, nor how fast he was driving in a dirt road…, well…

It is starting to be repetitive, but all the landscapes are really breathtaking! Everything is so amazing that it is so hard to capture those moments and views with any camera, even worst when you have a cheap camera like I did… I don’t believe photos can describe what my eyes saw, just being there! Which is also a pity, is that it is already possible to see the destructive effects of tourism 🙁

Moray
Moray

Moray is a very interesting place, and the best is that very few people were there, and when I say very few I mean to say less than 20! And it is priceless when you can enjoy a site without having to run for the next stop, nor having to wait for other people if you get tired! Excursions like the day before…, please…, don’t… Ah…, wait…, we had more after that 🙁

After Moray, we went to Maras’ Salt Pounds, yeah the view is always great, yeah you also can see Salt Pounds in Europe…, but not pre-Inka Salt Pounds! Damn, those guys were really advanced! It is such a pity that the Spaniards (and the Portuguese :() destroyed part of those wonders 🙁

Maras
Maras

Just to remind, that the roads to reach these two places are really in bad shape, but I am sooo glad we did that! After that we head straight to Ollantaytambo, and I was really eager for that place! The day before we skip the archeological site, this day was the day!

We left our stuff at the hostel, unfortunately Tajana had to stay there…, the altitude sickness was starting to give the first serious signs…, and I and Ramón went for a late lunch, and what a lunch… I don’t recommend that place to eat! I just asked for some thing light, a salad, and after a lot of time we were served…, and I had the wrong salad. I don’t like to be picky, but it had happened before with me several times and I was not in the mood to get the wrong dish this time. I sent it back, and I asked what I have ordered…, but the guy didn’t trust me and went back to double-check with the other waiter if I really had order what I claimed. Seriously??? Guess what? The second salad was similar to what I’ve ordered, but not exactly what was in the menu and that I was paying for. Ok, no more bitchy mode, I just ate. When we were paying, Ramón realized that he also didn’t get what was in the menu!! Nice view, bad service! I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it in the train station road by the river!

Day of light rain, cloudy sky awful for nice blue-sky photos…, but not that bad that it could end 😛 We went to the top of the ruins, and again, I was soooo glad we skip that part of the tour the day before! I lost the track of time, but we enjoyed it twice or more the time the tour guide gave to the group to explore that site!

Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo

During the walk, what I thought it was the food taking effect, now that I am writing this I know that was already the altitude sickness. I have a small note-book where I write some topics about the day to help me write my blog post, and I wrote that the food was taking effect, needless to say what I am referring to, right? 🙂 During the following days I noticed that it was really the altitude and travel sickness…, this was the first sign 🙁

It was time for a snack / dinner at the Hearts Café where we met with Tajana again…, but we forgot about the time-detail on women perspective…, we had to WAIT! 😛 (and she’ll kill me for this one :D) Yeah, that’s really a cool and cozy place, totally it’s worth the visit 🙂 On what concerns my sunburn…, oh gosh, that hurt a lot! I had to buy sun-cream for the following days, and a cream for the sunburn. What half an hour can do to one…

This was the 5th day in South America, we had very tiring days and the jet lag forced us to go to bed earlier than normal. Now that we (or at least me) were starting to get into the timezone, we were forced to go to bed way early, the next day was THE day! Waking up isn’t a problem when you know you’ll have the time of your life!

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South America

Visiting Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas

The plan was to explore a bit of Cusco and visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas. I was quite excited about the excursion, to visit some places outside the city, and being in that amazing and historical valley! Not everything went as I expected, but still an amazing experience.