Our Trip to Peru: Cusco Day 2

Our second day in Cusco was jam packed.   The day was unseasonably warm and sunny!  We actually had amazing weather the entire week we were there, no rain at all! Considering we went during rainy season, we really made out great! 

After breakfast, which was provided by the hotel, we went out to purchase our Beleto Turistico.  It's basically like a CityPass here in the states.  You pay one fee and it includes admission for a lot of the archeological sites and attractions in and around Cusco and the Sacred Valley.  Once we got our ticket we started our walk to Sacsayhuama citadel.  It was not a very long walk, maybe about a mile from the city center, but it was a very steep walk uphill and there were lots of stairs.  Thank goodness for coca leaves, which helped with the altitude sickness!  

Once there we were greeted by the impressive Incan construction and massive walls!  It was also here we stalked some poor llamas for selfies and I even got to hold a baby llama - cuteness overload!!! *Be sure to tip the women with the llamas for the photo :) 

After a couple of hours at Sacsayhuama we took a taxi to Tambomachay, another archeological Inca site.  This one was not as impressive as the fortress of Sacsayhuama but it had interesting water ducts and waterfalls. More of the impressive Incan architecture.  We were pretty hot, hungry, and tired at this point so we took a local bus (quite the adventure!) back into Cusco.  Unfortunately, we got off too early and ended up walking a lot more than we expected and maybe got a little bit lost but we found our way back to our hotel thanks to the awesome app CityMaps2Go.  This app was super helpful during our entire trip.  You can download the maps ahead of time, so it'll work even without an internet connection.  WIN!! 

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After lunch we went back to our hotel room to rest up and freshen up for the evening.  We walked around and did some shopping, visited the Coricancha museum and then got kicked off the grass. But, not before we took our selfie :)

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After that and a stop at Starbucks, we grabbed a bite to eat and then made our way to the Museo Del Pisco Bar.  We tried a variety of piscos, which to my surpise are made from grapes like wine, but taste more like tequila! There was a live band playing everything from Bob Marley to local Peruvian songs.  It was such a perfect way to end our night!  I didn't want to leave, but we had to get up early the next day to make our way to the Sacred Valley.  We're getting closer to the main part of our trip: Machu Picchu! 

Our Trip to Peru: Cusco Day 1

Back in November of 2016, Jason and I took an epic trip to Peru as part of our 20th wedding anniversary celebration (our anniversary is Aug 28th).  The trip was pretty impromptu for me, as I like to plan way ahead and we only had about 4 months to plan once we decided to go for it!  Visiting Machu Picchu had been on my bucket list for a few years now, so when Jason suggested we take a trip there instead of remodeling the bathroom, he did not have to ask me twice!  Planning a trip to South America definitely had it's challenges and there were plenty of things we just had to figure out once we got there.  But with doing tons of research, some major planning, and with tips from a friend who had recently gone, we were able to plan a great trip! 

I've been wanting to blog about this trip for a long time now, but I've had a hard time figuring out how to get started.  There is SOOO much I want to share, from all the planning that was involved, tips for altitude sickness, to how and what we packed! Ultimately though I've decided to begin by breaking it down into 5 parts, each highlighting the main areas we visited in Peru: Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Piccho, and Lima.  This way the posts won't be too long and boring.  Plus, I plan to share more details as mentioned above in a later series with tips and tricks for traveling to Peru, but for now, here is part 1 of our Peru adventure: Cusco Day 1! 

It's important to note that there are no direct International flights into Cusco.  We flew out on a Wednesday from Las Vegas to Lima, with a layover in Dallas and then took a domestic flight into Cusco.  I knew I didn't want to spend too much time in Lima, so I planned our flight out of Lima just a few hours from our arrival. We had plenty of time to grab our luggage, take a bathroom break, purchase some water and snacks, then head on over to the departure gate.  We took the short 1 hour flight and arrived in Cusco early morning (local time) on Thursday.  Knowing that we would be tired from a full day of traveling and that we would have to work on acclimating to the higher elevation, we took it easy this first day.  The original plan was to purchase our train tickets from PeruRail for Machu Picchu at the airport when we arrived in Cusco, but their computers were down so, we had to go to their office at the main plaza in Cusco.  We took a taxi from the airport and dropped off our luggage at our hotel, since it was too early to check in when we arrived.  Since I already had our entrance tickets for Mach Picchu for that Sunday,I was anxious to ensure I had our train tickets securely purchased for the date and times we needed.  Can see why I was anxious?!?

Here's the hubs at the entrance to our hotel when we arrived at Cusco. I loved the courtyard and we had the cutest room! 

Here's the hubs at the entrance to our hotel when we arrived at Cusco. I loved the courtyard and we had the cutest room! 

On our way from the airport to our hotel, we noticed a lot of traffic.  Although traffic is common in Cusco, this was more than usual and our driver explained that streets were being closed off for a sort of parade.  Turns out, the primary schools of the entire town were out and students were dressed in traditional Peruvian dance costumes and were lining up on the streets waiting for their turn to perform in the main plaza, Plaza de Armas, for their graduation.  The party-like atmosphere was a great welcome to Cusco and we just loved the bright colors and music!  I was still pretty anxious though, so I couldn't enjoy it too much until we finally made it to the office and we purchased the tickets.  We'd spotted a Starbucks in the plaza (the only one in the city) that promised WiFi so clearly that was our next stop! We got some much needed coffees and enjoyed the scenery from the second story window. At this point, with our train seats secure on the date and times we wanted, I felt like the vacation was finally beginning.  

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Not a bad view from Starbucks, huh?

We ate lunch at a highly recommended sandwich shop called Pankracio and then made it back to our hotel to freshen up, take a nap, and get ready for dinner.  We walked around and checked out some artisan shops and took in the sights before making our way to the dinner restaurant. Again, we based our dinner choice off of a recommendation, Marcelo Batata, and again it did not disappoint.  Jason chose to be adventurous and ate alpaca steak (YOLO) I stuck to foods I knew, like empanadas and salad.  The food and service were delicious and I had my first pisco sour of many more to come! 

After dinner, we went to our room to rest up! We had a busy day and although we prepared as best we could for the altitude sickness, we both got slight headaches and felt super tired!  We knew rest is what we needed because I had lots planned for the days ahead.  Our next day in Cusco will consist of getting up close and personal with llamas, checking out Sacsayhuama (pronounced Sexy Woman), getting slightly lost, and drinking more pisco sours.  Don't miss it! 

Have you been to Peru or any other country in South America? What's your favorite memory from there? 

Bristlecone Events Groundhog Day 5K Community Run

Earlier this month the kiddos and I woke up early, drove to the other side of town and ran Bristlecone Events Groundhog Day 5K Community Run!  I'm part of a running group on Facebook and one of the members was offering free registrations for this upcoming event and of course, I was all for it! Free Race, count me in!

Bristelcone Events is a new racing company in Las Vegas and they'll be putting some new and fun events this year.  The cool thing about their community race series, is that they are only $15 and although they don't have tshrits and medals at the finish, they're still fun, community oriented, and organized.  They also provide a water station and treats at the end :) 

This was Diego's first 5K and he did so great. He took off at the starting line and Elysse and I never caught up!  The race was 3 loops with 1 aid station.  Jason was waiting at the aid station and cheered us on at each lap.  Since Diego was running ahead, I stayed with Elysse and ran alongside her.  She started off super excited but about halfway through our first lap, she started to get tired.  I'll admit she got a little whiny and started complaining.  It was hard to keep positive with her complaining, but I tried to motivate her as we ran and walked. 

Diego finished strong about 5 or so minutes before us and he was so pumped! I think he may have experienced his first runner's high!!! He went on and on about  how much he loved it and how good he was feeling.  I was a proud momma :)

We're already looking into doing another family 5K run together and hopefully Jason will join us next time ;)

Have you ever ran a 5K together as a family? What's been your favorite race?