La Campana National Park, Chile

La Campana National Park is located in Olmué, Chile. Charles Darwin actually hiked here after his visit to the Galápagos Islands. It’s a must-see if you’re in the area!

Juan and I hiked the 7-kilometer trail, but only made it to the 5-kilometer mark since it was the most difficult path. Going uphill was incredibly difficult and put my physical and mental stamina to the test. With that said, however, going downhill was even worse on my hips, knees and ankles.

The hike itself provided Juan and I with a modest 6.5-mile exercise! In total, we walked 12.4 miles yesterday, and boy am I feeling it today…

Pro tip: don’t go hiking if you have the flu. This made my hike much more intolerable than it needed to be!

Pro tip #2: go hiking with someJuan special. It’ll be double the fun! 🙂

Machupicchu with Mom (July, 2018)

Looking back at these photos is bittersweet; we really miss this trip but still cherish every memory and are grateful for the opportunity that we had together.

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The trek up to the old civilization was an adventure in-and-of itself!  Our bus driver was winding through the narrow roads like nobody’s business, abruptly dodging other tourist buses on the way up!  I was too excited to be nauseous on the way there, but the way back down was another story…

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We had the BEST group on our tour and our guide was amazing.  Jamie (pronounced “Hi-May” in South America) was the perfect combo of educational and entertaining!  He joked and said he hiked the Inca Trail at least once a week to get away from the world; part of me thinks he was serious because you could tell he was at home here at Machu Picchu.

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What still amazes me the most about the Incas is how forward and advanced they were, especially for their time.  The way they worked collectively, farmed with innovation in mind, and how they utilized everything they had astounds me.

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The views, no matter which direction you faced, were beyond impressive.  As soon as I uploaded this photo, I was shocked that I was physically standing there not too long ago; I am truly blessed. AND I got to see some llamas in their natural habitat, which obviously made my dreams come true!

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My mom and I were exhausted on the way back home, but our train ride fashion show kept us fairly engaged 🙂 I recommend Machu Picchu, Peru, and South America for anyone who loves cultural immersion, friendly people, and adventure!

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First Day in Lima, Peru (June, 2018)

I’ve been missing my mother-daughter travels and have been holding off on posting photos from my Canon Rebel.  Early this morning I’ve finally uploaded them and am ready to share them with all of you 🙂

My mom and I were in no rush during our first full day in Lima; we decided to walk in gardens and explore off the beaten path.

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We admired how bright and colorful everything was!  We truly knew we were in a new place that was very different from life in Michigan.

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After visiting a local garden, my mom and I chose to walk toward the coast and visit some parks.  It was the perfect day: not too hot, not too cold, not too bright!  Seeing families and dogs at the Parque del Amor (Park of Love) reminded us of Chicago.

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Although the colors at the park were admirable, the architecture was also impressive.  I was never able to visit Barcelona when I was in Spain, but I felt like I was at the famous Park Guell!

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Even though Parque del Amor was surrounded with romance, I am thankful to have shared this experience with my mom.  We both enjoy walking around and soaking in new culture, which made Lima a great destination!

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Machu Picchu, Peru in iOS (July, 2018)

Being with my mom was obviously the best part of Peru.

The second? Walking the steps of Machu Picchu (llamas are the third)!

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My favorite movie growing up was The Emperor’s New Groove (lets be honest, it still is!) and being here made me feel like I was alongside David Spade and John Goodman. I’m so happy my mom found these Kuzco shirts!

More importantly, I have been fascinated with The Inca Empire since the sixth grade. I had a teacher who had been to Peru many times and shared his experience and stories with us in great detail. Plus, my fiancé is Ecuadorian and I somehow felt closer to his culture and past.

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Our guide, Jamie (“Hi May” in Spanish, Jamie in English) was THE BEST! He provided us with unique information that we otherwise wouldn’t have learned. We also had a phenomenal group with us (one guy lives ~30 minutes away from me)! The experience as a whole was incredible. My mom and I also felt like Amazon women walking through the ancient city, standing at 5’8” and 5’10”!

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After our amazing day, we had to take a bus back down to the city centre. Unfortunately, I was a bit car sick and my mom had a killer migraine! We relaxed in town, then headed back to Cusco via train. Our Machu Picchu Train was awesome and I was even able to dance with the god Carmen during the staff’s “fashion show!”

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Lima, Peru in iOS (June,2018)

Toward the middle of June, my mom and I FINALLY decided to visit Peru! We were on the fence for a while, given the fact that I’m starting a new job in September and getting married in November…but our better judgment prevailed!

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I mean c’mon! Look at that itinerary (courtesy of my mom)!

We mainly stayed in Lima to become acclimated to the altitude change; however, we really enjoyed it! Aside from my mom feeling the initial culture shock while departing from the airport, all went smoothly!

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We had so much fun in the city! The Starbucks barista’s spelling of “Dawn” was my favorite part!  At the hotel, we even made friends with the pet guinea pig!

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From strolling through Parque del Amor to eating and shopping at Larcomar, Lima didn’t disappoint 🙂

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Ecola State Park, Oregon

Friday, July 27 (continued)

After our time relaxing at the beach, Al and I knew we had some hiking to do!

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Our walk to the state park wasn’t all flowers and sunshine though!  We had to walk up to the entrance of the park, which consisted of walking uphill for ~30 mins-1 hour and made us short of breath even before the “real” hiking began!

Once we arrived at the entrance, the guide helped us pick which trail we wanted to hike.  Since we craved high, ocean views, we chose to head west and felt the ocean air.

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Prior to heading back uphill to continue on our path, a huge bug landed in Al’s mouth as he was talking! I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t even walk back up on the trail!

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Even though I couldn’t get his bug incident on camera, I’m happy we took the above pictures 🙂

The views were incredible, the stories were endless, and the laughs were much-needed after a long day of hiking!

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