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I have to admit. I only wanted to come to Peru to hike the Inca Trail and see Machu Picchu.

I didn’t have much interest in indigenous life, local customs, gnawing on cooked rats wearing crowns or literally crapping my way around the country.

I really had NO interest in Peru in general but was so glad I had joined this tour and was able to see and experience more than just Macchu. Sure, I wasn’t going to love everything I did.

But that’s all part of travel. Travel is 50% experiencing other cultures and 50% appreciation of home.

As I crouch over my laptop at 5:30 in the morning in my freezing bedroom, desperately searching for a hat to cover my frozen ears, recapping my adventure, I realize I am the Cynical Traveller.

I am a cynical person in general, looking hard for something, anything to poke fun of. Making sure the glass is always half empty. And I’m fine with that.

Why not poke fun of other countries and not just my own??

The day before we started the trail, we spent time at the ruins at Ollantaytambo, which was built as the personal estate for Emperor Pachacuti.

That’s all I felt like Wikipedia-ing.

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Uh oh! We were winded after only 15 steps! This wasn’t a good sign for the 26 miles of Incan steps we would soon be traversing.

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I was still not feeling well at dinner, which took about 76 hours to finally arrive after we ordered. Captain’s pizza was cold so she asked our tour leader, Fernando, if they could reheat it.

Instead, he grabbed the pizza and shoved it in the brick oven himself! Captain commented that his tip was slowly increasing.

This was a Lomo Saltado sandwich (A Peruvian beef dish encorporating Asian flavors)

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We began the Inca Trail early Sunday morning. It all started inocuously enough. A flat, rocky path. My walking sticks in hand (borrowed from someone who had decided she was too ill to be able to complete the four day trek – Thanks Jen!)

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We took a break at this really great vista, overlooking some more Incan terraces. Instead of taking a picture of it, I took a picture of the animals we found there.

We originally thought this horse was dead, as A.K. and myself snuck over to poke it’s corpse.

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This cow clearly was on a Quinoa soup only diet!

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One of the lovely Squat toilets we had become accustomed to. Leg muscles required, people!

I don’t know how old people relieve themselves in Peru, I seriously don’t!

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When we stopped for lunch in someone’s back yard, we got our first taste of what every meal was to look like for the next four days. The porters would set up this tent and cook us soup and meat and rice and bread.

It was actually not bad. The Garlic bread bits they made were fantastic.

Here’s us escaping the rain.

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Here’s us chewing on a little something to help with altitude sickness!

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Here’s a group shot of all the porters who helped us throughout our journey, carrying EVERYTHING on their backs while running past us on the slippery, treacherous Incan steps wearing rubber sandals!

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Here’s how we slept each night. The tents began to smell after day 2 due to lots of rain and people not bathing.

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Until tomorrow folks!

peru nigh