Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Peru will be "breathtaking"... literally!

"Little by little one walks far."
---- Peruvian proverb 


After much research and planning, I've finalized a journey for Sal and I this summer that will be Inca-redible... we're heading to ¡PERU!

OK no more Inca puns.  Promise.

I've embarked on a serious training/exercise regimen, with a physical trainer even!  That's because Sal and I are gonna arrive at Machu Picchu the same way the ancient Incas did--- by trekking the famous Inca Trail !!  YIKES, I'm n-e-r-v-o-u-s!  The hike's kinda, um, grueling .... 26 miles over 4 days through some steep mountain passes and rough terrain. Not to mention the high altitude + thin air.  I'm gasping for air just thinking about it! 

OMG, am I loco ?!?  I know that Sal can do it, he's in great shape.  Me tho?  Not so much.  But my trainer has me on a path to fitness, building my strength and endurance gradually. Gotta admit that I'm not really a "gym person", never have been... I'd rather play tennis or swim... something outside in the beautiful sunshine rather than stuck inside a stuffy gym. But those activities won't get me ready for serious trekking, I need targeted training.  I've gotta do what I've gotta do because I plan to be READY for this!!  (your words of encouragement are welcome anytime, btw!) 

{Just. Do. It.}

I'll have a ton of incentives as I ache from the training (gasp!).... along the Inca Trail, we'll be passing through incredible Andes Mountain scenery, pristine Incan ruins, and cloud forests filled with colorful wild orchids.  Not a bad way to pass 4 days and 26 arduous miles while huffing and puffing, right?  We'll have help tho!  Our trekking package includes several porters who'll not only hike along with us, they'll carry all the camping gear! And they'll cook our gourmet (vegetarian) meals!  Those men are in amazing shape!  I've gotta get in shape or they're gonna wind up carrying ME !!!  And this is special.... we were also able to arrange a 'homestay' for the night before our trek begins.... we'll be guests in the home of one of our porter's families.... a real slice of Peruvian village life!  Because some things you just can't Google.

Of course, after all our trekking effort, the pièce de résistance will be arriving at the wondrous, fabled ruins of Machu Picchu!  

And OMG I was able to schedule our trek such that we'll be exploring Machu Picchu--- one of the Seven Wonders Of The World!--- on our wedding anniversary !!!  How special will that be?!? ❤️

And overall, Peru looks like an amazing destination!  In addition to the Inca Trail, we'll explore Peru in other fabulous ways....

STROLLING the beautiful cobblestone streets of colonial Cusco...  

EXPLORING the colorful street markets in the quaint towns of the Sacred Valley....  

ENJOYING a remote (yet luxurious!) jungle lodge in the Amazon while spying incredible wildlife during nature excursions deep in the Amazon Basin.  And the lodge even has a spa -- YEP!  And I'll need (ahem, I'll DESERVE !!) some pampering with all that trekking!
To continue our anniversary celebration, we opted for the lodge's "Romantic Adventure In The Amazon" package... complete with sweet surprises!! ❤️  

VISITING "floating" villages on Lake Titicaca, where everything is made from the reeds that grow in the lake--- from homes to boats!  Our visit will include staying for a night with a local family in their "floating" home, made entirely of reeds! 

(We'll also spend an additional night with a family on another lake island (Amantani) to give us a true sense of high-altitude, remote Peruvian living.)

MEETING the artisans who so skillfully craft the famous (and stunning!) Chulucanas pottery in northern Peru.  I first encountered this incredible pottery many years ago at Pier 1 and fell in love with it... I have several pieces (ha!) that I display on top of our china cabinet:
After I bought them and read about how they're made, I vowed that when we go to Peru someday, we'd visit the Chulucanas region to meet the talented artisans.   Well, 'someday' has finally arrived !!  It's in a rather remote part of northern Peru --- it'll take some effort to get there... another flight and a car down tiny dusty roads --- but we're going, just as I promised myself!
{Make. It. Happen.}

To celebrate our plans and introduce ourselves to Peruvian culture--- and because 'travel anticipation' is just plain fun!--- we recently ate at a Peruvian restaurant that I found near campus.  The food was delicious (complete with vegetarian options!)... we chose a quintessential Peruvian dish, tacu-tacu.

And we enjoyed delightful conversation with the native Peruvian staff.  They were excited about our trip!

Our journey through Peru will be an EPIC adventure!!!  It'll be our first visit to South America and our first time in the Southern Hemisphere. 

I am STOKED !!! 

(photos courtesy of various Peruvian travel websites)

Monday, January 6, 2014


For me, travel (and planning it) is so restorative.  It might be just the ticket (make mine a window seat please!) to help me after a traumatic year.

So....Sal and I are gonna do a little island hopping in late spring ..... I've booked a trip to 3 magnifique islands in the French Caribbean/Leeward Islands.... St. Martin/Sint Maarten, Anguilla, St. Barth's.  Oui !!
Apparently St. Martin & St. Barth's are like being in France, French villages.... with the stunning backdrop of the Caribbean Sea--- très bien!  And Sal has been learning French (languages are his hobby!); he'll get lots of practice there! 

For years, I've wanted to stand on one particularly incredible stretch of sand in St. Martin--- Maho Beach, near the airport.  Here's why:

Just. Too. Cool.  I love 'planespotting', and this is one of the most ULTIMATE places to do it in the world !!

I hope Buddy & Aruba are happy for Mommy & Sal....