Exploring Cusco, Peru (July 2018)

Lima had its highlights, but Cusco had a flare of its own!  Aside from the turbulent plane ride and altitude sickness, my mom and I really enjoyed ourselves (and wish we could go back)…

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The city center had a lot to offer!  The architecture was a mix of what you’d envision in places like Spain or Portugal with South American charm.  There were terraces and balconies on almost every building, especially the restaurants!  We were in this valley surrounded by mountains, tourists from all over the globe and many friendly street vendors (AND pups).

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The narrow streets really fascinated my mom and me because there were so many cars AND so many people weaving through them.  We would chase after the sun because the wind and cool air picked up in the images you see above.  I’m also lucky that I didn’t twist an ankle because the fitted sidewalks were incredibly uneven!

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My mom and I saw TONS of friendly dogs and bright colors while walking in the evening.  We also heard beautiful music and were able to see a fun parade during one of our nights in Cusco.

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Many consider Cusco a tourist trap, but I hope these photos prove otherwise.  My mom and I really immersed ourselves in the culture and didn’t want to come home!

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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Cusco, Peru in iOS (June/July 2018)

Although my mom and I enjoyed our time in Lima, Cusco was our favorite!

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Spending all of this quality time meant the world to me! The only downside about Cusco? The altitude adjustment (or lack thereof on my end)! I instantly felt hungover, even when I was only drinking hot water. Being with my mom and petting/holding baby animals made me feel better though!

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Our first night in Cusco consisted of me puking and the two of us watching old Denzel Washington movies 😂 At least the next day I seemed to make a full recovery…

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We ate at the chocolate museum (twice!), saw amazing parade floats, visited more animals, climbed the cathedral for the best views, ate more incredible meals, and met some of the kindest people. Cusco, we’ll be back for sure!

Sharing this experience with my mom is indescribable. We brought back lots of memories (and llamas)!

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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 awhile, 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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Cannon Beach, Oregon

Friday, July 27

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Al and I took a bus from Portland to Cannon Beach early on Friday (that way, we could spend a full day at this gorgeous place)!

We ate a great lunch at the Pelican Brewery in town then went straight to the beach.  The air was fresh, the water was freezing, and there were dogs EVERYWHERE!  I was in heaven!

We had both been to California on separate occasions (Al in San Diego, myself in San Francisco), so being back on the West Coast meant a lot to us.

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I was worried that everyone was going to think that Al and I were a couple (especially because 1. I have an engagement ring on and 2. we were talking a long walk on the beach together…), but no one did!  We still wanted a picture together though!

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I prefer the photo that the kind stranger took as opposed to our poorly-attempted selfie!

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On our walk, we were remembering some of our favorite family trips from our childhood (Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Florida…).  Exchanging those memories and funny stories was something I’ll never forget.  We also found some interesting wildlife along the way…

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Full disclosure: I thought I was stepping on a plastic wrapper filled with water, when it was actually a piece of a washed up jellyfish!!!

 

Aside from the jellyfish scare, our time at the beach was perfect!