Salkantay Trek and Machu Picchu

We arrived during a hot midday in Cuzco after some rather cold evenings around Lake Titikaka. It was day two of my raging strep infection, which I hoped meant that soon things would start to clear up, but little did I know the swelling would follow me all the way to Machu Picchu. The thing was...we had a 5 day hike before we would get there.
Our trek through Salkantay pass is named after the highest peak in the Vilacamba mountain range near Cuzco, Peru. We decided to do this more nature inspired hike, rather than the more popular 3 day Inca trail. Despite my illness, I am glad we endured 5 days of hiking prior finishing in Machu Picchu, because it made the city feel all the more mysterious, awe-inspiring, and spiritual. Although, the photos are a tad more sweaty.

Alright, but let's go back to the beginning. After a restless night of sleep, our trek began with our hotel pick up at 4:15 am. Restless because apparently celebrating Catholic saints in Peru means lighting off firewo…

Lake Titikaka

Alright. So it has been a while since we last posted. In the spirit of full transparency, we are not in Lake Titikaka anymore, but sitting in the La Paz airport waiting for our flight to Tarija. But I will pretend as if this post was done in a punctual matter.
Lake Titikaka. The shimmering jewel of the Andes. At 3,812 meters it is the highest navigable body of water in the world and at 8,372 square kilometers it is the second largest lake in South America.
The expansive waters were used by ancient cultures for irrigation and were seen as a source of vitality and life. This combined with the majestic deep clear waters surrounded by the lofty snowy peaks, it is no wonder that the lake was at the center of Andean culture mythology. The lake itself has been inhabited for several mellennia. Small villages gave way to kingdoms which consolidated into empires which underwent fracturing and reshuffling. The dominant empire that took hold on the lake was the Tiahuanaco. They reign…

World's Most Dangerous Road

Hello Friends!
So when we last left you, we were gearing up to take an epic bike ride down death road. As you can surmise, we did survive the expedition. We started the expedition on what is now referred to as the "new road", near the top of the mountain pass. The section was paved, but probably slightly more dangerous as you could pick up significant speed, had to dodge the occasional pot hole and car, and were easily distracted by the absolutely beautiful scenery.
Majestic, rugged and snow cap peaks surrounded us as we raced down into the valley below. We passed a "narco check point" and luckily my record did not follow me to Bolivia. Coca leaf cultivation, which is an ancient practice, was made legal by the newly elected president, Evo Moerales(first indigenous president in Bolivia) about ten years ago, but people still smuggle in chemicals necessary for cocaine production into the valley, and produce the stuff in "cocaine shacks", as our gui…