Trekcapri's Travel Adventures Traveling allows me to see the world through my eyes Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:15:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2013 Peruvian Travel Adventures: dos soles Wed, 16 Oct 2013 14:20:43 +0000 With a little over 2 weeks before I leave for my 2013 Peruvian Adventures, I worked a bit more on my trip over the weekend.  I have all my lodgings confirmed, at least one of the two days entrance tickets to Machu Picchu purchased (still haven’t been able to successfully purchase the tickets for the second day) and finally yesterday I ordered my Peruvian currency.

Last year I had no issues using my ATM Debit card in Argentina and I suspect I won’t have any in Peru, but since I’m staying in a small town called Ollantaytambo rather than a big urban city like Buenos Aires,  I’m not so sure how widely or dependable these machines will be. I decided to take a bit more local currency than I usually get and ordered $800 US dollars, which is roughly $2214 Peruvian soles.

I think the lodging and airline costs are similar to other international trips I’ve taken to Europe, but like Argentina other local prices are a bit less expensive.  For example, the taxi fares were cheap in Buenos Aires as compared to the prices I’ve paid for in Europe.  Their cost for food also seems to be very reasonable. I’ve been reading this traveler’s blog about her trip (My Travels: Peru) and for a lovely meal at a restaurant called Mayupata where she dined on a lovely meal of fresh trout with fried sweet potato and a cocktail for only $12 dollars ($33.216 Soles). This restaurant also serve oven cooked pizza.

My hotel includes breakfast each morning so I won’t have to buy breakfast and I can usually get by skipping lunch with a big breakfast and can splurge at Mayupata for a nice dinner. At $12 dollars a day for meals, that’s not so bad.  Of course, I’ll have to factor in buying bottled water not just for drinking but to use for brushing my teeth. I know that’s kind of weird but that’s what the guide books and all the internet research recommends to do. Apparently, people have gotten sick when ingesting their tap water. They even recommend not to order ice in our drinks which means it’s pretty bad.  I’ll try to be careful, but I’ll be bringing some medications with me just in case.

So even though in this funny video, street food can be had very cheaply at “dos soles”, I don’t plan on eating that cheaply during my 2013 Peruvian Adventures. :)

As a traveler we have to plan what our budget will be like and make choices on how we want to spend our hard earned money.  For me, I will spend my money freely on entrance tickets to places I want to see (and for the transportation to get there).  In Olly where I’ll base for most of my trip in order to acclimate to the high altitude prior to going to see Machu Picchu, the hotel has recommended about three tours around the Sacred Valley. The costs are around $60 ($166.44 soles) and I’m pretty sure I’ll take two or maybe even three of the tours plus do my own exploring.  For me, I’ll try to minimize trip costs for my souvenirs and food.

The one really good thing about my hotel in Olly is that they have an ATM machine right in their lobby. How convenient and safe is that? Which reminds me I need to contact my banks to alert them to my travel dates!  😉  Awe, the joys of travel.

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2013 Peruvian Adventures: Pisco Sour and Peruvian Cuisine Sat, 17 Aug 2013 14:38:00 +0000 Peruvian Cuisine seems very inviting to me. I think more so than the Argentine cuisine.  It consists of local influences from the indigenous Inca as well as those brought in by immigrants from Spain, China, Italy, Germany, Japan and Africa.  The three staples include corn, potatoes and chili peppers which are all ingredients I love.   Although I’m not a huge fan of ceviche, I’m hoping to try other great seafood dishes from the local fish that are caught in the area.  The only two dishes that I am certain that I will not be sampling is Cuy chactado (fried guinea pig) or Apalca (those cute llama animals found in the Andes).

There are some travelers who pride themselves on trying the local cuisine of the places they visit. Some have made a great living and have their own travel shows demonstrating their bravery. I say kudos to you!  I am willing to try new food/drinks while traveling too, but to sample what was once a cute furry animal is just not high on my bucket/curiosity list.  And just so you know, I never tried haggis in Scotland either.

I am not a vegetarian and I do eat chicken/turkey/fish, so why not try some cuy.  Well, because they are not these cute furry animals that look at you with their big brown eyes. Nope, I shall visit Peru without the pleasure of sampling this very popular Peruvian cuisine and I make no apologies for it.

On the other hand, here is a Peruvian drink that I am definitely looking forward to trying for the first time.  Pisco sour is a refreshing drink made w/Pisco (kind of grape brandy), egg white, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura Bitter. Can’t wait!

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Travel Thoughts: The changing tides of Travel Tue, 09 Jul 2013 14:01:06 +0000 Over the weekend I read a cool book called “Cusco Calls” by Robert Karp which is more about a journey of enlightenment rather than about Peru, but it was an interesting book and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.

In his book, Robert Karp mentions a book called “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield.  A fiction novel which isn’t necessarily about Peru.  It is a story line about understanding why we are where we are in life through these insights teachings from a manuscript that is found in the jungles of Peru.  I don’t completely agree with everything but found it interesting to read.

Sometimes I do think about why I have this need or “calling” to travel.  Starting when I was so young, then 30 years later rediscovering it again as I am at a place in my life to do more traveling.  The whole notion about trying to understand the reason we do the things we do and why we are in the place that we are in is intriguing.

I saw this Facebook Feed and video of a group of pilgrims doing the Camino de Santiago at this albergue and in a circle singing Hallelujah as a group.  It brought chills to my skin and warmed my heart.

For some reason, I am drawn to seeing Machu Picchu in Peru.  I was also determined to visit Argentina to see the Perito Moreno Glacier and Iguazu Falls.

Are my travel adventures becoming more about finding myself and less about just visiting and traveling other countries?  Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling for the sake of traveling.  Seeing other places in the world, experiencing their culture, history, art, food, music, dance, etc. gives me great joy.  But there is this emerging side of me that feels compelled to also fulfill a more spiritual journey when traveling .

I consider my trips to Peru to see Machu Picchu and to Northern Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago starting in Astorga more of a spiritual self-defining travel adventure and I think it will have a significant impact in my life.  Travel is fun and entertaining and for those of us who have had the opportunity to travel we know that it is also a life changing experience that changes not necessarily who we are but how we see and live our lives.

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How to Travel Outside of Your Comfort Zone Tue, 18 Jun 2013 19:41:31 +0000 Last year, I traveled to South America for the first time and I can still remember how nervous I was during my trip planning. I had never been to South America before, I speak only a  little bit of Spanish and then during my trip planning I had read several reports from a few travel  community forums of travelers who were victimized while visiting Buenos Aires. I had read stories of pick pockets, scams, robbery, kidnappings and even assaults. Needless to say, it struck “fear” in me and put a huge dent in my confidence as a female solo traveler. At times the feeling was so intense that I nearly changed my travel plans.

I came so close to letting “fear” take over my sense of adventure and my confidence in myself. And then I thought back to the year before and how I got over my fear of hiking alone and decided to hike the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast. And what did I learn from that experience? I learned that overcoming my fear allowed me to enjoy a wonderful hike and the ability to witness some pretty amazing scenery that one can only experience while on the trails.

I decided to take control of my fear and once I did I was more relaxed.  I ended up having a blast in Argentina and now I’m heading back to South America to visit Peru.

Conquering my fear of going outside comfort zone while traveling has opened up the door to so many more possibilities of places I want to see, things I want to do and dreams I want to fulfill.

Here are some tips on how you can travel outside of your comfort zone.

1. First accept that fear is not an option.

2. Educate and learn as much as you can about your destination and/or activity you want to do (ie., safe neighborhoods to find lodging, tips to avoid being scammed and/or pickpocketed, etc.).

3. Be prepared (ie., learn a few key phrases in the language of the country you’re visiting and do your research).

4. Remember that some things are best done with others.  While in Buenos Aires, I really wanted to watch a La Boca Jr. Soccer game, but I didn’t feel safe going by myself so I signed up for a group tour.  It ended up being fun because I could just relax and enjoy the game, because I was with other tour members, some of whom were male solo travelers :).

5. Finally, have confidence in yourself, be adventurous, be smart, allow yourself to be open to experiencing all things new and/or different and finally  have fun.

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American Pilgrims on the Camino Wed, 29 May 2013 02:33:54 +0000 Here’s my second patch for my backpack.  The American Pilgrims on the Camino is a group made up of members who have done the Camino and who are planning on doing the Camino. I belong to the latter.  😀

I can also send my request to this group for my Credencials (Pilgrims Passport). This is what is needed to get the Compostela in Santiago de Compostela.  Each Pilgrim wishing to obtain their Compostela must obtain at least two Selos (Stamps) per day while walking the last 100 miles.

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Camino de Santiago: Words, Thoughts, Pictures, Action . . . Thu, 09 May 2013 13:42:37 +0000 So lately, I’ve been feeling a need to document every tiny step I take to prepare for my Camino de Santiago, but I didn’t want to break my tradition of only blogging on my main blog once I purchase my airline tickets for a trip.  I tried posting on my other sites like google plus and Twitter, but it didn’t feel comfortable because most of it will be banter, ideas and technical posts which I may not really put much effort into.

And then I remembered that I have this amazing blog on my website (which I haven’t had much time to work on lately) and voila!  Problem solved.  I’ll use this blog and my website as a personal journal and trip planning outlet as I prepare for my Camino.

I recently attended a screening at the Newport Beach Film Festival of the highly anticipated documentary, Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago.  I enjoyed it so much I wrote a review of it on my main blog.

The producers gave out these cool patches to put on our backpacks. I’m waiting for one more patch and then I’m going to sew them on.

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2014 Camino de Santiago: Equipment Decisions & New Found Inspiration Mon, 29 Apr 2013 14:57:36 +0000 I have been struggling with my decision on whether the backpack I purchased for my Camino is too big.  It is an Osprey 65 liter bag, but my friends think that it is too big.  Yesterday, we went to REI and looked at the smaller 48 liter version.  I have decided to return my backpack and exchange it for the smaller 48 liter version, because I believe that they are right. I want to keep my weight down to the bare minimum.

As I did more research this morning I stumbled upon this video shared on a FB page for Pilgrims planning on doing the Camino and let’s just say it put me to shame.

I loved seeing fellow pilgrims join in helping to pull their fellow pilgrim along. Inspiring!

I know that my Camino is more than a year away, but I’m just so excited about this trip and I can’t wait.

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Starting over . . . Fri, 15 Mar 2013 13:29:17 +0000 Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, the Incas, Pisac, Wayna Picchu, Chicheria, Sacred Valley, Peru Rail, Plaza de Armas, llamas . . . . and the list goes on!  It’s all new, it’s all interesting and it’s all good!  Getting a buzz from the excitement of starting all over again!  :mrgreen:

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Is there another pilgrimage on the horizon? Sun, 10 Mar 2013 01:11:59 +0000 So now that my Camino de Santiago has been postponed to September 2014, now what!  And I was so ready to hit the Camino trail.  I even purchased my pack and everything.

 I even decided what special token I was going to leave at the Cruz de Ferro.

Of course, I had to make a slight change to what I wrote on the back. :)

So with my Camino plans postponed, my attention turns once again back to Machu Picchu in Peru!   Another place, another pilgrimage.

Stay tuned . . .

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Inspired and ready to start planning . . . Sat, 12 Jan 2013 15:25:14 +0000 Whoo Hoo!  I’ve decided (record time) that I want to go to Lisbon, Portugal this year!  And with 3 weeks vacation time, I may try to squeeze in a trip to Spain, specifically Santiago de Compostela, Spain.  I am so freaking excited!  Let the planning begin!

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