A Travellerspoint blog

Day 12

Puno to Lima

overcast 10 °C

Today we started the day at Lake Titicaaca, the highest navigatable lake in the world. From our hotel we boarded boats that took us to the world famous Uros Islands which are made of reeds and float on the lake. The people who live on the islands are almost self sufficient on the reeds and the lake. The houses are made of reeds built on top of frames made with Eucalypt timber for floors. The houses have no windows. The boats are also entirely made of reeds. They live on fish they catch in the lake, chickens they keep and some market garden vegetables they grow themselves. They even use the middle of the reeds as food as well. The women make beautiful handmade goods they sell on the mainland or to tourists..They live an extremely basic lifestyle. They invited us into their homes which consist of one room about the size of a moderate bedroom back home. They have a bed made from reeds topped with some blankets, pegs on the walls where they hang their clothes, and perhaps a cupboard to store things. They have solar panels now and that runs a tv and perhaps lights. They cook outside and their cooking pots and utensils are kept outside as well. They loaded us onto one of their reed boats and took us to a second island, which is a bit more commercial and had a modern building made with modern materials. A very humbling experience indeed. We then boarded our boats and back to the hotel where we boarded our bus and off to the airport to Lima where we have another overnight stay. We were all super excited as we no longer need to take the altitude medication. Some of us suffered a few minor side effects but well worth the inconvenience. The airport we left from called Juliaca was very interesting but growing. Another day travelling tomorrow to the falls in Brazil.

Hope everyone is well as we ar

Love to all.

Posted by Nors Stephens 19:40 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Cusco to Puno

Day 11

sunny 22 °C

Up early today and on bus to Puno. We left Cusco hotel at 7.15AM. It was a long journey and arrived at 4.30ish. Some of the scenery was similar to Southland in NZ very dry. The colour of the adobe the houses are were a different colour, much darker colour not so red and shorter houses. We saw alot af tethered cows in paddocks as no fences and often a lady sitting nearby knitting. As you see the pictures in books etc of the clothes the women wear is exactly right. We also visited the a chapel the same as one in Italy. Amasing. . Our 2nd bus hit a sheep on the road but we were safe. As we passed a paddock there was a black sheep just born born. We were at the highest point so far today over 4500 mtrs above sea level. Go back to Lima tomorrow so no more altitude pills. Yah no more headaches. We passed people on push bikes, in the back of trailers altogether, walking along the road. climbing the tracks so many different people. A man was selling maps and infomation about the area when we stopped at the chapel so hopped on the bus and drove with us until he finished and we stopped and let him off. The toilets over here are very interesting. Some have paper some not so tissues come to the fore. You sometimes have to pay others not but you csn request a receipt. No paper to be out in toilet even in hotels. A real mystery in the time of need. Will go on Lake Titicaca tomorrow morning then fly back to Lima for the night then onto Rio for 2 nights.

Till next time hope everyone is well.

From us all.

Posted by Nors Stephens 19:38 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 9 & 10

Cusco both days.

semi-overcast 17 °C

Having trouble with WiFi so really short . I typed out last night and again tonight and loose before posting. Couple of busy days in a way but making the most of whats around.
Went on city tour yesterday with tour and a city sights tour in a double decker bus today. We got to top of hills around city and it rained then hail. We all made a dash for the bottom of the bus. Was a laugh. John and Greg went to the salt pans today and said it was interesting and everything done by hand. We leisurely walked the streets today and looked in nooks and crannies. Saw a McDonalds KFC AND STARBUCKS . Not very visible as blend in with same colours. Great place. Have a look st the 2 guys working and the health and safety aspect. Taking a photo of the city square from top of bus a bus went passed. When uploaded the photo I saw whst was on top. It was a passenger bus. There were police everywhere today as protest against the gas prices. Yesterday there were religous prosessions dont know what though.

Closing now before the WiFi goes off again. Up early for trip to Puno and Lake Titicaca.

Love to all

From the 4 of us.

Posted by Nors Stephens 19:34 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Machu Picchu

07 09 2014

semi-overcast 18 °C

Hi everyone
Today we had a free morning in the village below Machu Picchu. We opted to do an optional walking tour of a local sanctuary where they had beautiful orchid gardens and they are a habitat for a number of local bird species including humming birds. There were a couple of different hummingbirds including an endangered local species. They were so close we could almost touch them. It is extremely difficult to photograph them as they move so quickly and their wings flap at a couple of hundred flaps per minute. But we all tried anyway. Afterwards we did some quick shopping at the local markets. For those of you who know Bali, they are the same, but the vendors are not as pushy. We then boarded the train back to Ollyantaytambo (hope I got that right. The train trip is pretty amazing with spectacular scenery from corn fields to snow capped peaks (a lot like Canada), glaciers and fast paced rivers with really fast rapids. They do not allow rafting as it is too dangerous as there are too many rocks. Then onto the bus to Cusco where we will be for a couple of days. Going by bus is great. You see so much of the countryside and can get some idea of how the locals live. So many are so poor but we certainly get the impression that there is a very strong sense of community with everyone helping each other out and looking out for one another. The Peruvians are also quite religious with the majority being catholic. There are little chapels and shrines on the sides of hills, beside the road and in many public places. Till next time.
Noreen, John, Barry and Marjolein

Posted by Nors Stephens 19:16 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Machu Picchu


all seasons in one day 17 °C

Yesterday was wow today was oh my god. Early rise 4.30am breakfast 5.15am then on to Ollyantaytambo to catch the train. Raining. So beautiful and different landscape from dry Andes to rain forrest with Snow capped mountains and glaciers to similar scenary as the Otira Gorge in New Zealand Along the way there are tiny villages and lovely corn fields. Some places can grow 2 crops of corn in 6 months. Sun came out as going along in the train. Thank you Vanessa and Cathy for ordering that for us. Another big tick for Helloworld Strathpine. We arrived at Machu Picchu and walked to the hotel to check out the location of the hotel incase we stayed on top of Machu Picchu as buses run every 10 - 15 mins and neaded to find our way back on our own. Even gave us tags each. Oh my god Stuart the road, 30mins up narrow dirt roads and had to stop and back up or stop to let buses past. Cannot explain the view it is different depending where you are but was scarey and no seatbelts. Wow wow wow when we arrived at top amazing beautiful sunny little bit of cloud so amazing. The whole site is amazing and all the different buildings and technology they had before their time. There traditions and beliefs are amazing they worked so hard. Even today the people work so hard and not alot of modern equipment. People are so polite and love to help. We have a guy who calls himself Kevin Costner following the tour to sell us his jewellery. He is so cute and when we arrived today he was there. So funny ah. He will be at Cusco he said.
I can only upload photos I have taken on my camera. Some photos will be repetitive but want to show all followers their special people. Greg had an absolute ball with his camera don't know how many he took but used a battery. John and Greg climbed up high but us girls had enough climbing as we were in and out up and down for 2.30 hours. Fabulous guide we have, very passionate as are all the guides. Barry couldnt do alot of walking but was happy to sit snd wait then gradually others came back and joined him. He had 3 cakes in one day yesterday for his birthday. After we had walked enough we went to the cafe for cold drink it was soooo hot then all of a sudden it started raining quite heavy. John and Greg had just finished taking photos and coming down and got caught but had ponchos. Ponchos are everywhere so funny seeing them all. It has been such an amazing day but when we get to the hotel and the porter checs us in it is 4 floors up for us and yes climb the stairs 4th storey. Ouch says the legs.. Have a nice dinner tonight then tomorrow morning going to see humming birds with a walk around the gardens.

Till next time stay safe.

Noreen John Marjolein and Barry.

Posted by Nors Stephens 20:45 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Sacred Valley


rain 18 °C

WOW what a day today. We went to a place today called Ollantaytambo, the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the Americas. We visited the incan fortress that overlooks the town. after climing to the top and back we then purchased fruit and bread and off we went to a local school. I would love every one of our children over snd show them how lucky they are. Most of the children dont have much and it makes you feel guilty how we live in Australia. All the kids of the school sang us songs and we all sang Waltzing Matilda. A couple of kids told jokes in there language then was translated back. Wet today but did not interupt anything. Alot of riot police atOllantaytambo today as the word is there will be a protest which is not allowed in Peru. Roads pretty scarey today in some places and the streets in the town are so narrow but the 26 seater buses go down. The photos wont do justice to what it is in real life. Tomorrow off to Machu Picchu on the train. We are enjoying all the comments people are making, thankyou.
Cathy our travel agent has been really missed after leaving us at Lima. There was so much confusion at Lima airport some of us never got to say goodbye, so Cathy as you should just about be home we will have a Pisco Sour tonight for you. So sorry we missed you but will make it up to you the best travel agent anywhere. Must away now to celebrate Barry's birthday.

Till next time from us all.

Posted by Nors Stephens 15:39 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Lima to Cusco

04 09 2014

sunny 18 °C

Left Lima and on to the Sacred Valley. The scenery is spectacular as we are ine Andes and in amongst very rugged mountains.We saw terraces that were built by the Incas and are still used for farming today.We went to an Alpaca, Llama, Vicuna farm today. They are gorgeous. We heard about how they dye the yarn using natural products, also how they spin and weave it. There was of course a shop, but a bit expensive. We also visited a local market in Pizac. All the goods are locally made but much more reasonably priced, although obviously not the same quality. We all had a ball shopping and it was lucky we were still able to fit in the bus, once all the parcels were loaded. We drove through the countryside and saw a lot of traditional adobe housing, many of which are not completed to avoid paying taxes. We had lunch at a bakery and had pastries, and local corn wine, but declined the guinea pig. A bit hard to eat when they have the live ones in a cage lookong at you. Our hotel tonight is an old monastry.

Till next time.
John, Barry, Noreen and Marjole

Posted by Nors Stephens 19:57 Archived in Peru Comments (1)


03 09 2014


Hurried entry today.
Early morning rise and a trip around the city. Another very populated city with very different standards. Tried to show difference in some of photos. So sad to see young people selling things in the stopped traffic. Saw a boy bent over and another on his back juggling in front of all traffic. Visited a working monestry, stopped by the pacific park kissing statue in photos. Visited the main square in Lima where there are police on every corner with riot gear. So much security here. Visited the Pachamacic ruins today. Very interesting as the ruins cover pre Inca, Inca and post Inca civilisations. Lima is cloudy for 9 months of the year, but only has a rainfall of10cm per year. Everything has to be irrigated and outside the city it looks like a moonskape. Go figure.Yet they had absolutely beautifulnparks and gardens. Till next time.

Noreen, John, Barry and Marjolein
lovr Barry Noreen Noreen xxx7

Posted by Nors Stephens 19:42 Comments (0)


Day 3

overcast 18 °C

Not raining in Santiago today but very smoggy. Glad we had the rain to give better views. Arrived in Lima peak hour traffic Brisbane traffic nothing to here. No one follows rules take life in own hands. Glad we in big bus. Lima right on water Pacific Ocean. Havent seen much as was getting dark when arrived in hotel. When flying here today you could see the mountains above the clouds. We are staying in a safe part of city. 10 million people live in Lima. Cloudy 9 months of year but only 2 inches of rain a year. There is no rail system and buses and taxis seem to be a life risk free for all.They dont have storms or lightening. Shops open in this area until 10 pm at night. Went walking tonight and found a local restaurant and had a typical Peru meal and another Pisco sour. Must say Peru Pisco sour better than Chile. A full day tomorrow city tour and ruins. Dinner out after the big day.

till next tme have safe time everyone.

John Nors Barry and Marjolein.

Posted by Nors Stephens 04:58 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Santiago Chile

Day 2

rain 14 °C

1/2 day Tour of the city of Santiago today after a very nice breakfast. Mainly kept in the city limits except for a trip up a to a view point above the city which wasn't as high as the new shopping centre. The ride up the hill was very much like going up Mount Cootha with new exercise tracks everywhere because of growing obesity here. The shops are quite spread out little clusters everywhere. Dogs roam the streets just dumped dogs but they seem to know when to cross to the lights lol. Very densly populated (6 million people) with highrise apartments everywhere but most buildings very dull grey looking. They're called condominiums. Loved the guides accent. We missed going on the funicular railway today as closed for maintanence however, were lucky enough to see the changing of the guard at the presidential palace. Was very interesting. All government buildings surround the palace. Not alot of ancient buildings beyond the late 1800 because of earthquakes but they have been building with technology that resists damage for along time. New buildings being built in lots of spaces but safety much different, almost no scaffolding at all just some timber in places scarey. Snow on mountains around the city and rain today but there has been drought so they need it did't stop us checking some boutique shops though. Not many people speak English and at shops yesterday when a lady from group asked for help at a shop assistant turned her back and walked away.

Went to Chilean restaurant for dinner, great service and food. On to Lima tomorrow not sure if we will have Access to WiFi like we have here.

Sorry no photos yet as havent worked out how to save from camera. Will surprise you all soon though.

Love to all

Marjolein Noreen John and Barry.

Posted by Nors Stephens 06:02 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

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