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South America: Peru

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Daily Itineraries:

12.20.04 - Walked over to Nisley's for breakfast with Sheila. Met their son Duane and his wife, who arrived yesterday from Mexico, where they teach at CanZion music school. Went back to house, packed up, and got a bus to border town of Huaquillas. Crossed into Peru with no problems, minibus to Tumbes, bought last remaining tickets for overnight bus to Lima.

12.21.04 - Arrived in Lima around 2PM, and immediately bought tickets for another overnight bus, this one to Cuzco. Walked around the block at bus station, stopping to eat and check emails. Back to bus station for 4PM departure to Cusco. Bus through the night...

12.22.04 - Long day on the bus. Had engine problems during the night which delayed our trip by about four hours. Lots of sick people on the bus. Finally arrived in Cusco in late afternoon. Took taxi to home of John and Cindy Kreider, EMU graduates and church planters here with EMM. Got cleaned up, talked with them about options for hiking/exploring the area. Had a delicious dinner and went to bed early.

12.23.04 - Spent the day on a tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Visited several markets en route to Pisaq, where we explored the ruins for most of the morning. Ate lunch at a local restaurant in Urubamba, for a third of the price that the rest of the group payed. Continued down the valley to Ollantaytambo, where we explored ruins and saw the unfinished temple on top. Started to rain, so our last stop in Chinchero was a bit hurried. Did visit a fascinating little church there. For our return to Cusco, we were accompanied by a traveling musician on the bus. Saw the beautiful Plaza de Armas at night and then returned to Kreiders.

12.24.04 - Did some journaling/internet work and then headed to the old city of Cusco. Spent most of our time at the Plaza de Armas, where a huge outdoor market had been set up. Bought some sweaters and a hat, sampled chicharones, and then returned to Kreiders. Left at 2PM for small village where we attended an all-night Christmas eve vigil. Watched videos, lots of singing, ate sometime after midnight, didn't sleep.

12.25.04 - Left around 530AM for the return bus to Cusco. Back at Kreiders, did some emailing and waited for Rachel to arrive. Had a wonderful Christmas feast with about 25 other people, including the YES team. Began to get worried about Rachel, made some phone calls, went to airport (closed), eventually called MCC Bolivia and they said she was at Plaza de Armas. Grabbed a taxi and finally met her at the Plaza. Returned back to house, talked about plans for week, and hung out with Kreiders. Went to bed exhausted and half-sick.

12.26.04 - Relaxed in the AM and made plans for hike to Machu Pichhu. After lunch, went downtown and bought bus tickets, wandered around, looked for a hat for Rachel. Came back to Kreiders and left in early evening on overnight bus to Santa Maria.

12.27.04 - Arrived in Santa Maria 3AM, waited for an hour in town square for combi driver to leave for Santa Teresa. Very cramped ride over mountains to Santa Teresa. Arrived at dawn, had small breakfast, and began hiking up river to Aguas Calientes. Crossed river on tiny cable car and walked on road to hydroelectric plant. Ate quick lunch, caught our first glimpse of Machu Pichhu from the back. Hiked for several miles on railroad tracks and found campground at base of Machu Pichhu around mid-afternoon. Walked in to Aguas Calientes, had an excellent pizza dinner and returned to campsight. Went to bed early.

12.28.04 - After a rainy overnight, got up and hiked up mountain to Machu Pichhu (1720 steps). Spent the day exploring the ruins. Went to Inca Drawbridge, Sun Gate, and then climbed up Huayana Pichhu in the rain. Skies cleared up in late afternoon, and spent the remaining hours walking around the old city. Walked down the mountain as the sun was setting, cleaned up, and went back into town for a inexpensive dinner at a local restaurant. Came back and went to bed to the sound of rain once again.

12.29.04 - Woke up before the sun and rushed in to Aguas Calientes to catch the 5:45 backpacker train to Ollantaytambo. From there, we spent our last remaining soles on a bus back to Cusco. Arrived late-morning, found an ATM and a quick bite to eat and headed back to Kreiders. Did some wash, dried out gear, and relaxed for most of the afternoon. Caught an overnight bus towards Puno at 10pm.

12.30.04 - Arrived early in the morning in Puno to realize that Rachel's camera had been stolen during the night. We did our best to look for it, but it was already gone. Because of the rain and circumstances, we decided to push on to Copacabana, Bolivia. We passed smoothly through the border and arrived in town late morning, found a hostel, ate a trout lunch, and spent some time exploring the church, markets, and aroundthe town. We split up for the afternoon and went up the Cerro Calvario to watch the sunset. We returned to our hostel, cooked a pasta stir-fry dinner, and called it a night.


David P. Landis & Eric S. Kennel

July18, 2004