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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Peru: The most amazing thing I saw in Machu Picchu

After David and I climbed Huayna Picchu, we still had a few hours left before we had to catch our train. We visited a few areas we still hadn't seen, and revisited some of our favorite spots. Here's mine:

It started to rain lightly as we made our way out of the ruins.
Then we saw the most amazing thing we'd seen on the whole trip.
A rainbow.
Below us. 

It was incredible!

Finally it was time to go. We headed back to the bus line and the adrenaline from the morning's climb seeped out of me. I was oddly tired and felt sick. We got a lot of sun that day, and I blamed the sun for my aching head. My stomach was a mess, too. But we made it down (alive), collected our bags from the hotel, and caught the train to Ollantaytambo. That train ride was the coldest I'd ever been in my life. I turned blue and was shaking. While we waited for our driver to pick us up at the station, David put his arm around me and realized that even though I felt cold, I was burning up! I was definitely sick. The ride back in the van was cold and I was fighting stomach cramps, and I was happy to see our old hotel room in Cuzco. I put on all my clothes (literally every long-sleeved layer I brought) and tried not to throw up.

David was hungry, and thought I should try to eat, too. You can't bring food into Machu Picchu (although we had brought granola bars earlier that day - we packed out, obviously) so he was kind of starving. We ventured out and entered a warm and cozy restaurant nearby. There was a fire roaring and two cute little girls doing homework. I got chicken soup and ate two sips. David, at my urging (I was living vicariously!) ordered the guinea pig! He had no clue how to eat it until the kind proprietor took his plate, quartered the animal and mimed eating with his hands rather than utensils. I tasted some, nausea aside, and it was good - like a gamy rabbit.

The next day was a free day in Cuzco, and luckily my fever broke during the night. I still felt like I had the flu, but I managed to walk around and explore the city (with lots of breaks). We went to the San Pedro market, and I bought souvenirs - salt from the salt mines for family, and a Peruvian nativity retablo as our Christmas ornament (our traveling tradition). The market was extensive: you could buy cooked foods, fresh juice, household goods, dog food, meat and fish, clothing, coffee, chocolate, dried beans, plants, and leather goods.
Very ill in a very amazing market.
When I felt a little better, we went to the Temple of the Sun, which is the most cringeworthy thing ever. This marvel of stonecraft was built by the Incas with the finest stone work, but of course - the Spanish knocked parts down and stuck a church on it. So frustrating. Much of the stonework is still intact, however.

Incredibly perfect stone walls

The Spanish just plopped their arches right on top of Inca temple walls. 

The smooth stone terraces are Inca; the rough stone is Spanish
After more shopping and an attempt at Peruvian pizza (interesting, but not my favorite, perhaps because I still felt sick!), we went to bed. We had an early wake-up call the next day to head back to Lima.


  1. Sorry you were sick through much of this trip! It still sounds spectacular, though. (I'm not sure Machu Picchu is quite for me - I know I have trouble with altitude AND heights...)

  2. Oh, a guinea pig!! I would have had no idea where to start either David! Sorry you were sick Gracie. But gosh, you some some incredible things. I love the pictures of the Temple of the Sun. I need to go read your posts I've missed!

  3. My sons used to keep guinea pigs as pets. Not sure I could have eaten one. Especially if it had turned up whole-roasted.

  4. The guinea pig has been mentioned to me over & over again by people who have been. Apparently it's a must-do!

  5. The rainbow is amazing! And being sick in a foreign country is one of my biggest fears. My parents traveled a lot pre-children, and my mom got some sort of stomach bug in Belgium. Things got a bit lost in translation, and somehow she realized that they thought she had come in for STDs...oops!

    Guinea pig...I don't know if I'm that brave!

  6. That is a bummer that the Spanish simply plopped their Church over the Incas stone carvings wow. And that is too bad that you got sick, sounded like a great part of the trip except for that.

    As for the 49ers race, even if the course map isn't out by Halloween (that is the date that the race fees go up by $20), I likely will register anyways. I don't think I can help myself from this race since I'm such a big 49er fan, and have always wanted to do those combine style drills. Though ugh on whomever is directing this race - they still haven't returned my email from last week lol. Ultimate fail.