My aunt visited me in town for Thanksgiving and she really wanted to go see the Macy’s parade. I have seen it once before but not loving crowds I had little desire to go.
However I noticed a friend who is a Macy’s employee had extra tickets for stadium seating. I didn’t have to stand up the whole time? Sign me up. One catch, it will be the coldest parade on record.
We meet at 3:30 AM to get in line for the stadium seating. There are already many people in line. We try our best to keep warm.
We end up right up front at the beginning of the parade. It is lots of sitting and waiting and we are very cold. Our blankets and hand warmers are not enough. We might die out there. We watch them rehearse and tape the beginning of the parade
And as the sun comes up it gets even colder.
Luckily the parade starts. We hear all the announcements as the balloons line up.
We didn’t get to see any celebrities perform but we did see them go by in their floats.
Here is Diana Ross.
And then we reached the end and Santa. Despite the cold, the whole experience was a treat and we had a great time.
I was invited to stay in my friend’s cabin in Hunter Mountain on the weekend that coincidentally was my birthday weekend. Her cabin was so cozy and with the snow I had a chance to try out my car’s brand new tires (birthday present to myself – our presents tend to be more practical as I get older).
View of Hunter mountain
Well stocked fridge with booze, snacks and desserts
We were hanging with musicians so our evenings were full of live music as well as lots of game time.
During the day we did a snow hike. I brought my poles but was too lazy to put on my yaktrax. I sort of regretted that decision but I survived. We had a great view of the almost frozen Kaaterskill Falls.
Our our way home we stopped at Woodstock. It is a charming little town that gets to capitalize on its hippie past.
Day 2 in the amazon and my cold still won’t give up. I can’t miss out on the days activities so I take some medicine and go out. Today it is a boat ride to a nature walk to a lake where we do some fishing.
During one of our hikes we finally see a sloth. He is way up there hanging out.
We go on a boat ride to do some fishing. We see some birds, butterflies, and otters during our commute.
A piranha is what you will find. We are getting a demonstration of those teeth.
The women on the boat trip tend to be the excellent fishermen. This is me with my catch.
The chef cooks up our fish to enjoy. Not much meat but most of the fish is edible. It is like a crunchy snack.
Later in the day we do a hike to see the tree canopy from the fire tower. It is so peaceful from the top.
What breath taking views!!
Lastly before bed we do one more boat tour to see caiman (the amazon version of the alligator/crocodile). They are just sitting around and being lazy. I am sort of jealous.
This is pretty much the end of my trip. I start feeling progressively worse during the trip back (long boat ride, mini-bus ride, and flight back to Lima).
Once I got to Lima things got progressively worse. I tried to get some medicine but pharmacists weren’t very help. I think they ended up giving me a random antibiotic but only two of them. Plus my eyes was starting to get swollen and difficult to open. I was wondering how I was going to navigate the airport the next day if I was blind as well.
Last meal that was very difficult to eat.
Fortunately I was able to get home again but it took me about 4 weeks to finally beat this cold that I picked up. Oh what we will go through to travel!!!
I had one day of rest in my room of Cusco and then it was off again. This time I am heading to the Amazon. One of the downsides of organized tours that there is very little downtime and if you happen to get sick like I did then you need to just suck it up and push through (like I did) or go home early (like I should have done). We have a short flight to Puerto Maldonado where we store the majority of our luggage in an upstairs office of some sort of transportation center. I should mention that there are many times we just leave our luggage during this trip and at no time was there any fear that it would be messed with. I guess that is one of the advantages of tour travel vs backpacking and having to fend for yourself.
After our luggage drop off we arrive at the river embankment and board our boat for the couple hour boat ride to our lodge for the next two days.
Lunch is served in leaf bag and whatever it was, it was delicious.
After our lunch there are very scenic views of the river. As well as some wildlife watching.
We spot a capybara family hanging in the mud.
Also tons of butterflies trying to take a drink of water on the rocks.
Soon enough we arrive at the lodge.
We start at the main building and are giving all the rules and information we need for our stay. They are serious about conservation here so we are told about how generations are only on for certain periods of time. If you have things to charge, make sure you have them plugged in during those windows. It is warm but I am surprisingly comfortable in my lodging with the fans that are available.
Happy hour in the lodge!
My home for the next couple days – single cabin all for me.
Make sure you use the net at night!
Once we settle in we put on our boots and go for a nighttime nature hike. We see some ants, lots of spiders, and a stick bug.
Arriving back at lodge we are served dinner and I enjoy a caprihina from the bar. I am still fighting a cold so I head to bed early for the next day’s activities.
After our day at Machu Picchu we journey down to Aguas Calientes or Machupicchu town to meet for a celebratory meal and get our bags. I arrive early because I am beat and a cold is starting to take me down. I look around for some medicine and water and find a nice place to sit after wandering for only a few minutes.
Luckily where I chose to sit has a great view of a parade coming through town.
Soon it is time to meet up with the group again. There are pisco sours and there are congratulations.
We try some guinea pig. It is amazing.
For my meal I chose the trout. It was very good as well.
The tour leaders just discovered that we have a newly engaged couple (at machu picchu) in our midst. We toasted this adorable couple!
A couple drinks later and we are running with our bags to catch our train. From the train we take a bus back to cusco. Many got beers but of course I had a headache and was already buzzing so I skipped getting more drinks. Music was playing on the ride. We sang aloud. So much fun and great way to wind down. 2200 Steps
The next day in Cusco was a waste. I am so tired and so sick at that point. I did almost no sightseeing. Another one to add to the “I must return” list. We are now off to the amazon.
Last day was a 3:30 am wake up. This is to ensure a sunrise view from the Sun Gate. Fate had something else in mind for us. The rain from the night before continued throughout the 3 hour hike. We walked through puddles; I fell on wet rocks. Luckily it was no more than a little soreness as a result. Right before you get to the sun gate with that first view they play a huge cruel trick on you and make you climb these “monkey” steps. The steps are large odd steps that require your hands. I cursed like a sailor and climbed up the last challenge to get to the reward. However at the top there was no view really (see photo above). It was foggy and rainy still. No photo moments for me so we continued on to the next vantage spot where the view was a little better.
Everything about me is wet at this point
Finally when we get inside it clears a little. Just in time for our tour.
Everyone stops to wring out their socks.
The fog lifts more and more and the day turns out to be beautiful. What a great reward!!
After our tour we have some free time to wander around. Some climb back up to the sun gate. I am spent so I just wander around a little bit then go to the bus to take me to Aguas Calientes. I vow to come back and next time do the train option so I have the energy to do extra exploring of Machu Picchu.