And this year, I am again heading down somewhere, but my fans don't know it yet. And it is already March. So I might as well say where I am heading. Besides, my mother has already correctly guessed where I am heading to.
So yes, I am heading down to Peru in May, with a stop-over in Colombia. This will be on May 9-20, 2008.
I am heading down to Cuzco and The Sacred Valley.
So the plan goes like this (sit down and grab some chips if you want to):
- May 9: I have an afternoon flight from Buffalo to New York City. I will then have dinner with my sister in the Ethiopian restaurant that I was talking about earlier. Then I head to my friend's place, who happens to conveniently live very near to John F. Kennedy International Airport. I will spend the night there.
- May 10: I have a morning flight from New York City to Bogota, Colombia. I am connecting in Bogota to proceed to Lima, Peru. But, since the lay-over is 8 hours long (I arrive in Bogota at around 1:00 PM and my next flight doesn't depart until 9:55 PM), I might as well go out of the airport and do some sight-seeing of Bogota old town, and visit the Museo del Oro, Plaza de Bolivar, and other sites surrounding it. I will then proceed back to the airport before my next flight, which is at night. I will then arrive in Lima shortly after midnight.
- May 11: I will be holing up in Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport for the night, because there is no point in getting a hotel, since my next flight departs at 5:25 AM. I will be taking a flight from Lima to Cuzco, arriving in the high Andean city at 6:40 AM. I will then proceed to my hotel, then go to the train station to get my tickets, of which I have a prior reservation. I will then do some sight-seeing of my own in the remaining hours of the morning, and in the afternoon, I am joining a tour group to visit the Inca sites around the city, such as Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Pucapucara, and Tambomachay. After that, I will proceed to my hotel and retire.
- May 12: This is the day that I will just stay in Cuzco and explore the city on my own. I will visit museums and ancient palaces, churches, and monasteries, in the city. I'll try to find bars that serve chicha. Chicha is saliva-fermented corn beer. Traditionally, old ladies gather together, they chew the corn, then they spit it to a giant vat. This will then ferment, and the resulting liquid is chicha. I will bring anti-diarrheal medicine for this.
- May 13: I will then depart Cuzco by riding a shared taxi. I will head to Chinchero, where there are Inca terraces and an amazing colonial church. I will not spend the night here, instead, before nightfall, I will head to Urubamba, where I have a reservation in a mountain lodge.
- May 14: While in Urubamba, I will then take a hike to Salinas de Maras, which is a mountain salt terrace. This is one of the highlights of my trip. I guess I am just fascinated by the scenery of this place, judging from the pictures. I will definitely take plenty of shots here. Nearby, I will also visit Moray, which is an ancient Inca site, believed to be a scientific experiment. Each layer of the circle has its own micro-climate. This is an interesting place. At the end of the day, I return to my mountain lodge in Urubamba.
- May 15: I depart my mountain lodge in Urubamba and head to the town of Ollantaytambo, which is famous for its Inca fortress. I will spend a night here, and I will also tour the fortress, and its amazing church.
- May 16: Finally, I will board one of the highest railway systems in the world (the highest is the Tibetan railway) and head to Aguascalientes. This is the nearest town to Machu Picchu. I arrive there around 8:30 AM. I will then check in my hotel, and drop my stuff. Then, I will board the bus that would take me to the most famous ancient ruins of the world, Machu Picchu. Here is a classic photo. I will spend the rest of the day exploring the ruins, until I go back to Aguascalientes to retire for the night. I might visit the hot springs of which the town is named for.
- May 17: I will board the first bus heading to Machu Picchu again. The reason for this is because I don't want to miss the sunrise. I want to see the sun rising from the midst of the Andes and shining over the ruins. Then, I will proceed and climb Huayna Picchu. This is the mountain that dominates the ruins. You can see it in the background of the picture above. After I do that, I return to Aguascalientes after lunch, and head back to Ollantaytambo, again, via train. I will spend the night in Ollantaytambo.
- May 18: After checking out of my hotel in Ollantaytambo, I will ride a shared taxi and will head to Pisac, which is famous for its Sunday markets. And yes, May 18 is a Sunday. This is when I will buy souvenirs for the folks back home. And before nightfall, I will return to Cuzco and spend a night in Cuzco again.
- May 19: I have a flight to Lima that departs this morning. I will then store my luggage in Lima's airport for a while, and take the taxi to Lima's old town. I will try to visit some sights if I can, and if I am not yet tired, and then I will go back to the airport to catch my flight back home. I have a flight to Bogota that leaves that afternoon. And from Bogota, I have a flight back to New York City.
- May 20: I find myself waking up in the plane, and at the same time arriving in New York City. I will then catch a flight back to Buffalo and that's the end of my trip.
So there, that's my itinerary for this May. I have a total of 8 flights, 2 train rides, and reservations in 4 different hotels. It is a very complicated itinerary, that's why I decided not to go here last year and go to Quito instead, given the fact that it would be my first time to travel alone. I am very excited, and come to think of it, it is only about two months away.
So, that's the reason why I am watching the state of affairs there in South America, given the fact that there are recent developments between Colombia and its neighbors. Hopefully, this won't impede my vacation plans.