Conquering Machu Picchu

Hello all! I am finally back stateside, which means I have reliable internet.The internet  was so slow in Bolivia I could barely load pictures. So for the next several posts I will get you up to date on my vacation adventures.

It has been a couple of weeks now, but I am in still in awe that I did it. I hiked the Inca Trail and made it to Machu Picchu in one piece YAY! It was the thing I was most worried about on my trip. Don’t get me wrong I love hiking, but hiking up to altitudes of 4200 meters for 3.5 days straight was a little intimidating. I definitely psyched myself out with all the blog posts I read and YouTube videos I watched. Here is a recap of my encounter:

Day One-  The anticipation had built up and I was a ball of nerves. I was going to do this…yikes! The first day of hiking was not too bad. Basically some rolling hills on a dirt path. A pretty good warm-up in my opinion. We made it to camp in the early evening and enjoyed a  beautiful night under the stars.

Day Two-  By far the hardest day of the hike. We hiked for about 7 hours straight and ascended around 1000 meters. Hours 1-4 weren’t that bad. The scenery was quite pretty and I had a great playlist on my iPod. It felt like any other hike I had done in California. Then hour 5 came. I hit a wall. I was getting dizzy and I felt I could not catch my breath. I had to stop every 50 paces or so to rest and convince myself not to quit. Thankfully there were some encouraging people in my group and they got me through the “Dead Woman’s Pass” to the summit of the mountain. The sense of triumph I had was unbelievable. I did it!

Day Three-  I could finally enjoy the scenery. Since it is mostly downhill, I could focus on what was around me rather than concentrating on all of the pain I was putting myself through. We got to enjoy some lovely ruins, snow capped mountains, and jungle-ish landscape. Aside from some blisters I was feeling good.

Day Four- So on Day Four you wake up really early…like 4:30 AM early to make it to the Sun Gate around sunrise (entrance down into Machu Picchu). As we waited at the park entrance in the dark, I began to reflect on our adventure and that feeling of excitement stirred in me again. This was the moment I was going to lay my eyes on an another UNESCO World Heritage Site :). Machu Picchu is notoriously foggy in the morning so we were praying that the site would be clear and sunny. Boy were we not disappointed. The sun came over the mountain and it was beautiful.

All and all I am so happy I did this. It was not something on my bucket list, but it was a personal achievement that I will always remember.

Stay tuned readers for some more adventure recaps!

Alpacas and Volcanos

Peru has been such a pleasure to visit so far. Recently, we visited Arequipa, also known as the “White City.” The nickname stems from the fact the most of the city has been constructed from white bricks made of volcanic ash. Arequipa was a little crowded, but it had some great architecture and 3 volcanos along the perimeter of the city.       The next day we took a long ride through the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Preserve on our way to Chivay. On this ride we reached super high altitude of over 3500 meters. High altitudes are no joke. I defiantly felt short of breath and had to keep reminding myself to walk slowly. In the park, we saw lots of wild Llamas, Alpacas, and Vicuñas. Check out the local Shepard woman spinning her alpaca wool using a drop spindle! 

     

     Chivay was just our stopping point to see the Colca Canyon, which is suppose to rival the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA. The Colca Canyon was really amazing. I felt like a tiny ant surrounded by giant mountains. We did a short hike along the ridge and spotted many Condors soaring along the cliffs. We also got some great views of the deep canyon and the surrounding flora and fauna.     

      During all of these long bus rides I have managed to knit quite a lot. I have one Jaywalker sock done minus the toe stitching. I did modify the pattern a little bit so that it would be easier to fit over my foot when putting on or removing the socks. I used the smallest sizing for the ankle ribbing, heel, gusset, and foot. However, I used the medium sizing when knitting the leg section. One sock down and one to go!  

The next leg of our trip is hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 😬. I am excited and  nervous about the trek, but I am sure we will have a great time.

Keep checking back for more adventures!

Lima, Peru

Lima has been busy busy. Much like Los Angeles, Lima is a sprawling city, which necessitates lots of walking and/or riding in a taxi. There are buses, but taking one when you don’t speak the language well can be a bit intimidating. While in Lima, we primarily explored the neighborhoods of Old Lima and Miraflores. 

Old Lima contained the architecture of ancestors past. Think colonial buildings in bright colors. In Plaza Mayor, we watched the changing of the guards, which was interesting to watch (and free!). The band played music for about 30 minutes and then the procession began. From there we walked to the Church of San Francisco. The inside of this church was very old and very Spanish. Think murals and tiles dated from the 14th century. My favorite part was the Catacombs deep in the basement of the Church. They contained old bones from centuries past. In the evening we headed over to the Magical Water Circuit. I have to say this park was the best 4 Soles (~$1.25) I have spent so far. There was music, fountains, and lights that provided some lovely entertainment.  We felt like little kids running and playing in the interactive fountains.

        

 
     In contrast to Old Lima, Miraflores contained many things new. Picture large skyscrapers, commercial centers, and fancy hotels. We strolled along the boardwalk for most of the morning taking in the stunning scenery. The sun even managed to come out for awhile. We walked through the famous Parque del Amor. Here there were fantastic  colorful murals with love quotes. C- Rex really enjoyed the view. For lunch, we stopped at La Mar. This is a famous ceviche restaurant that did not dissapoint. The food and service were outstanding. Best ceviche I have had so far!  With our meal complete, we left the restaurant and took the short walk to the Huaca Pucllana ruins. This old pyramid was constructed by the ancient Limas ( pre- Incas) as a worship and governmental compound. The entire structure was made out of mud bricks. The small museum on-site contained some artifacts including pottery and textiles. We took a guided  tour and walked to the top of the pyramid to take in the view.

            Well Lima it has been amazing! You have made out 1st stop in Peru memorable. ¡ Hasta Luego!

Quick Post

I can’t believe it is finally here! We are T-minus 1 hour until our first flight toward getting to Lima, Peru. We decided to add a bit of humor to our photos in the form of a dinosaur… basically our version of Where’s Waldo. Make sure to try and spot C-Rex in future posts!  

Hopefully he can clear customs!  

Hot Off The Needles

Well the Business Casual socks are done. Check out my Ravelry page for sock details.

To be honest it is not likely that I would make these again. Don’t get me wrong the pattern was well written and detailed. I just like my sock knitting to be relatively easy. The constant cabling made it a little difficult to knit whenever and wherever I happened to be. Imagine me in the car trying to keep track of the dang cable needle. (nightmare!)

IMG_6546 My favorite section of the project were the heel flaps. I was digging the subtle texture contrast created by the slip stitch pattern. It really was a nice addition to the design.

To bind off required the dreaded Kitchener Stitch. The stitch isn’t that horrible, it is my execution of it. I generally make the grafting too loose or it ends up looking sloppy. Check out these toes below. *sigh*

I think I need to set a goal for myself to master this tricky finishing stitch. When done right it makes sock toes look great.  Good thing my next project incorporates Kitchener stitch! Today we are heading out on our 6 week vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, Peru, and Bolivia! I decided to forgo a sweater and make some Jaywalker socks on our adventure. Socks are just so much more portable when you are limited on space. Lucky me I have two chances to perfect the Kitchener!

So dear readers please check back for my progress. Posts may be limited as I don’t know how reliable the internet is in South America. However, feel free to follow my journeys on Instagram (username: fabwhitty)!

 

A Monster Ate My Kindle!

About a month ago I finally broke down and bought a Kindle Paperwhite. Initially, I was pretty against an e-reader. The thing is I have always enjoyed the smell, feel, and weight of books. I thought having an e-reader would take a lot of these things away from me. However, my upcoming trip got me thinking about what a nightmare it would be to lug around books and/or try to buy English books in Spanish speaking countries. So a couple clicks on Amazon and I couldn’t be happier. This version has a built-in light, which is perfect for when I am on the plane or outside. I also love the one-click book access.This was a super smart buy!

Like and iPad, the Kindle does not come with anything to cover  the screen when you store it, which hasn’t been a problem as it mostly stays on my nightstand. Yet, my upcoming trip has necessitated that I get a cover. Rather than buying one off Amazon, I crocheted a cute monster case. 

    Isn’t it cute! I made it using some acrylic scrap yarn from my early knitting days. I am a little concerned about the durability of the case, but my creation is only suppose to act as a sleeve rather than a protective case. I guess I will let you know how it works out!

Happy Friday!