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Travel Thoughts

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hola amigos!

We survived the Inca Trail!  I loved it.  Seth liked it, not as much as me, but he appreciated the achievement.  And YES I did get over my cold just in time!  I felt it “break” the night before we left.  A huge relief and definitely necessary to successfully hike the trail.  A full post or 2 or 3 on the trail & Machupicchu will come very soon, but first, a few travel notes I’ve been thinking about…

One thing that’s surprised me about long-term travel is that I never expected to have to spend time running errands.  I mean, it makes sense – in our normal daily lives, we need to take time to run errands, so why not on the road as well?  But in the 1-2 week trips I’ve taken up until now, I’ve never had to deal with the day-to-day… but in long-term travel, we are not exempt.  So, we’ve spent a fair amount of time dealing with things like laundry, going to the bank, picking up water & snacks, and shopping for some essentials.  It’s not a big deal, but it’s something to consider when on the road for a time.

Another lesson learned is the need for some downtime.  If you’re just going on vacation for a couple weeks, naturally you want to pack in as much as you can.  But that isn’t sustainable long-term – at least not for me. We did so much in our 3 weeks in Argentina, with hardly any days “off,” that we both were exhausted by the time we landed in Peru and spent 2 full days here pretty much napping in our hotel room (to the dismay of the hostess of our hotel, who seemed downright offended when I told her we were going to hang out in the room instead of hitting the sites of Cusco).  So, before and after the Inca Trail, we’ve taken it reeeaaal easy and haven’t seen much at all of the touristy sites of Cusco (beyond Machupicchu, of course).  We both are really enjoying this city, and it’s an easy place to just chill out, take slow walks on the cobblestone streets and read all the “menu del dia” signs posted on cafe doors – daily menus of soup or salad, an entree and dessert for about $4.50.

Today we wandered around one of the neighborhoods looking for a new place to sleep.  Our first hotel was okay – clean and friendly – but the rooms were old and the bed not so great.  After checking out about 8 places we found our hidden gem – a beautiful clean hostal with rooms around a big, sunny courtyard.  Our room has wooden floors, a high ceiling with exposed beams, a large window, comfy bed and clean bathroom.  It’s cheaper than our first place, and so far, much nicer.  And it’s part of a foundation so the profits go to help children & schools.  Another travel tactic we’ll be using from now on – taking the time to find a room in person.  I was shocked at how much the room quality from hotel to hotel varied, with most of the rooms being roughly around the same price range ($30-50 USD for a room for two).  Some rooms were really old and dumpy, and some were fairly modern and nice.  Tripadvisor reviews didn’t always correspond to what we saw in person.  Of course, I’ll probably continue to book our first night in a new place in advance, but then if we have the time this seems to be the best way to find a place we’re happy to come home to, at a fair price for the location.

Okay, time to hit up one of those “menu del dias” and see if they are worth the $4.50!   adios!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday, May 17, 2011 4:52 pm

    Oh… soup… Peru Soup. Sounds lovely.
    As does your new digs.
    I never thought about down-time or errands either… until we spent 18 days in Australia. Oy.
    Can’t wait to see photos of all of this stuff. Esp. the monkeys eating the empanadas.
    ~S ❤

    • Kristen permalink*
      Wednesday, May 18, 2011 4:54 pm

      soup here in Peru is fantastic! Especially quinoa soup – you would like it, I’m sure. I think I’ve had soup every day for the last 10 days.

      Might have better luck getting you a photo of a llama eating an empanada… but I’ll keep my eyes peeled!

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