Sunday, May 1, 2016

Reflection: Never Stop Exploring

So here we find ourselves, one last post. This won't be long, I just wanted to let you guys know what kind of effect the trip had on me. I can't speak for Olivia, but I can at least share my thoughts.

Everyone who knows me knows I love to travel. Each new destination is like starting a new chapter in my life. Even if for just 10 days your entering a new place and getting used to all sorts of different ways of eating, getting around, thinking, and habits. This was my first trip to South America, and it was everything I had hoped for. 

I really recommend this location for anyone wanting some serious nature bonding. I never thought I'd climb a mountain that steep, nor did I ever imagin meeting an Alpaca. I also never thought I'd eat Guinea pig, and like it, let alone not be able to drink tap water somewhere (the tap water thing I knew about, but still). 

The whole trip was really exciting for me, as I also got to use my Spanish language skills. Whether it was simply asking for directions, or haggling with a shop owner trying to get a sweater for 30 soles instead of 45. 

I am also really thankful I didn't kill my traveling partner. Sometimes you never know if you can travel with different people in your life, and it doesn't matter how close you are. Traveling is a different kind of bonding. For example, I love my best friend Caitlin to death, but we spent just a week at the beach together once before and it did not work out. Olivia is great because she's very go-with-the-flow, but still knows what she wants to do. She also is a walking pharmacy, which is dope, and is always on top of the health & safety sector. You need someone like that to think of things that may not always cross your mind as a concern. 

Seeing the world always gives me a high thats so hard to come down from once you get back home. We met so many cool people, and saw so many amazing things up close, it just really makes you appreciate the opportunities you have. Not every young female in this world gets to leave their country to explore, let alone even leave their own house. Like my mom says in her recent blog post about my trip (click here to read, its amazing), "as a general rule, I believe we ought to be encouraging more of our young women to travel beyond familiar boundaries and broaden their perspectives.  So what do I look like promoting that for everyone else, yet scared to let my own daughter leave the house? "

There is going to be danger everywhere you go, even in the comfort of your own home. I'm not saying its wise to seek out danger, but we mustn't all hide under the covers. If danger lurks everywhere, then we may as well go everywhere and get what we can out of it. Just always be cautious, have common sense, and do your research. The easiest way to put yourself in harms way while traveling is ignorance. Just know where you are, as well as common customs, laws, and local threats. 

With that being said, I'll never stop exploring. I'll never stop trying to see the world from all corners. And most importantly, I'll never stop sharing it with friends. So as I close this adventure, I'm already planning my next destination. But for now, I'll just say thank you so much for tuning in to our adventures. Be sure to check out all our amazing photos here on Facebook, and as always, stay fresh.

Senorita Fuerte

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cusco! But More Importantly, We Found Alpacas

Cusco was a blast! After 3 days of excitement and activities, it's hard to piece together for you all in this post. I don't just want to ramble on, so I'll do my best to give highlights in a chronological order.

As we sit here in the Cusco airport, boiling very slow deaths, I recall our arrival at Cusco.

After leaving Machu Picchu, our train left Aguas Calientes (or Machu Picchu Pueblo) to go back to Ollantaytambo where we left our luggage. A lot of times, hostels know people are going to take the train to the ruins, which only allows one small bag. SO even if you've already checked out, they'll most likely let you keep your stuff in a locker. This is key, because after hiking up that mountain, we realized we definitely did not want all that weight on our backs working against us.

After getting our stuff, we took a shared mini-bus or "collectivo" to Cusco. It's basically a small van that waits outside the train station that charges you 8-10 soles for an 1.4 hour ride to the Cusco city center. It stars with a few people, then it picks up more on its way.
This is the best and cheapest way to get to Cusco from Ollantaytambo or any other neighboring villages.

The first day we arrived at our hostel, Pariwana Cusco, we tried to take it easy to avoid altitude sickness. So we basically just ate and walked around the town markets. The heckling was heavy here. Randoms offering you massages, deals at their restaurants, jewelry, and anything else around every corner. I recommend against even stopping, because a simple "no gracias" should be sufficient. Until they start shoving things in your face (including live baby alpacas), in which case I give you full permission to just shout "no!" In terms of haggling with pricing, a lot of markets will have the same stuff (and unfortunately they aren't always telling the truth about whats real leather, or whats 100% alpaca.  Very rarely will you find 100% alpaca anything at a market) Still, a lot of them do this to feed their families, so don't be too rigid. Just name the price that the item is actually worth and usually they will compromise with you. Or, if you say no thanks and walk away, they will usually succumb.

The markets in Cusco were similar to the ons we've seen in Aguas and Ollantaytambo, but we did find a very unique one in San Blas, which was about a 10 minute walk from the main Plaza de Armas. It's a beautiful spot to hang out, and the boutiques are a bit more upscale in terms of quality. The leather appeared to be very real, as it was more expensive. The store owners were also less into the haggling with prices, because a lot of stuff was handmade. I recommend it, because even though its not the cheapest, you can tell its genuine. For example, we ran into this local artist named Christopher Vergara Castelo who does mostly interpretive work with acrylics and oils, and his pieces are amazing. We chatted with him and basically heard how he began painting, where he paints, how long he spends on each one, etc.  If you're into authentic artwork, this is a really nice stop. It also makes you feel better when you buy locally and you actually meet the creator of the product.

Aside from shopping, we did a fair amount of eating. Or I should say, I did a fair amount of eating. Unfortunately Olivia wasn't as hungry as I, which didn't help my self-esteem at all. Our hostel had free breakfast, so we ate our weight in bread. We also mostly ate fries and chicken for some reason. If I don't eat chicken for a week after I get back, I'll be happy.
The "kitchen" in our hostel functioned like a restaurant. You look at a menu for food/drinks and go up and order it. You can pay up front, or they do this really cool thing where they add it to your tab that you pay when you check out. Honestly, we ate their most of the time because it was cheap and close. A plate of chicken with rice/salad or fries would be around 14 soles (which is a bit less than 5 USD) and a bottle of Cusqueña beer was 6.50 soles (around 2 USD).The hostel also had a separate room with an actual kitchen where you can store/prepare your own food. There were also hot showers (excluding the random water shortages while we were there), events every night, and a beautiful common area outside that let you get some sun while also maybe playing a game of ping pong. This hostel was a lot more inclusive than our other ones, as its very famous. Only 32 sole a night (roughly 10 USD) and you get a lot for your money. Because its such a famous "party" hostel we met a lot of cool people. I put "party" in quotes because they had activities and drinking games at night, but you were still able to sleep at night. This other hostel down the street, Wild Rover, is notorious for being crazy. We went there 2 nights in a row and we were glad to be staying up the street. Their parties are loud and go until 3am (so If you like sleep, I wouldn't stay here). The bartenders were drunk, the customers were drunk, the music is loud, and there are always people dancing on the bar without their shirts, including the staff.

In these kinds of hostels, it can be hard to make friends unless you're fairly outgoing. We had eaten and were just about to walk out of the hostel restaurant, when a guy at a table simply asked "do you guys want to play drinking games with us?" And just like that, we had 4 new friends. Alex from Australia, Melissa and Vanessa from Germany, and Dan from Israel. It's so cool to meet people from all over the world. I bore you with the details now, but we basically played drinking games while talking about where we're from and laughing/debunking the different stereotypes of our respective home countries. I need to say this for Alex's sake: They do not and never have said "shrimp on the barbi" in Australia. Alex said its that damn Crocodile Dundee movie that started it. They do say "croikey" however, for sure. We also met a guy from Nova Scotia, Ronnie, and two guys from London our last night; Stephen and James. That was really cool because with them, we got to try out each others accents and once again, confirm or deny stereotypes. They admitted that Harry Potter is pretty spot on in terms of language and what typical private schools look like in England (minus the magic and cloaks of course). Actually, they did say teachers wear cloaks once in a while, like on Parents Day for example. They also admitted the TV show Skins is fairly spot on as well in terms of British teenage delinquency. We had to teach basically everyone the dance to Cotton Eye Joe. We just assumed everyone knew it, because its been engrained in our memories for years. But as soon as it came on in the bar, me and Olivia ONLY started to do the line dance, and people just stared at us. We then had to teach anyone who wasn't American how to do the dance. The Canadians love it, because they have something similar, and our British friends Stephen and James though it was hilarious. They promised to bring it to England and make it the new dance craze. If it blows up there a year from now, we'll take the credit.

All in all, we continued to meet and develop friendships with these people. Though we were only there for 3 days, we learned a lot and hoped to show people from other countries that all Americans aren't what they see in movies and the media. We were accepting, fun, compassionate, and outgoing. We should all put our best foot forward when traveling, because its a great way to defeat stereotypes (though I did tell them the obesity thing and binge drinking were definitely true....I said put your best foot forward, not a fake foot forward)!

In terms of our own activities, we took a lovely nature hike the second day we were there. We wanted to see San Cristobal, which is the location of El Cristo Blanco, or literally the White Christ. It's a huge white statue of Jesus on top of a big hill. It's roughly a 2 hour walk up to the top from the city center (Plaza de Armas). You can take a tour bus, or a taxi then a horse, but those cost money. Also, we preferred to hike because We'll take any chances to work off all the bread we ate. It was a bit dangerous walking on the road #nosidewalks, but once we got to the actual trail, we were fine. Alos, if we hadn't have walked, we would have missed our chance at alpaca selfies! Check the facebook album and you'll see. We found random alpacas wandering free in the fields, which actually made us feel better than the ones we see being paraded around town in costumes #animalcruelty!
After we spent 20 minutes admiring, petting, and probably annoying the alpaca, we kept on trekking eventually got to the statue. There is an AMAZING view of Cusco from the top *Facebook album cough cough.* All in all, it was a 4 hour excursion there and back, but totally worth the work out. If you want a real challenge, and you're actually in shape, try jogging up there like our runner friends we met from the big apple; Kerome, Nick, And Sun.

All in all, we love Cusco. Lima is more of a New York city, busy, horn-happy kind of spot. It's nice, but I think our interests align more with the geography and activities in Cusco (and lets not forget about our favorite small village, Ollantaytambo).

Thanks for reading our blog and reading about our adventures, we really appreciate it :) Check back for one last post about our last night in Lima before our flight and personal reflections (they won't be too sappy, not to worry).

Stay fresh,

Señorita Fuerte and la Mujer Pequeña

Monday, April 25, 2016

Machu Picchu: The Lost City of the Incas; Huayna Pichu: Teetering on the Edge of Death

First things first: The photos I mention below are actually in this link on Facebook. Click here to access all the photos! Blogger was not letting me efficiently upload them to this blog, so unfortunately, from here on out, they will be posted to my Facebook albums. Don't worry, if you're not my friend on Facebook, you can still see them because I made it public.

Now for the blog!

Wifi drives me nuts! You really know you're a spoiled, impatient American when the wifi takes more than 5 seconds to load, let alone not work at all. We become uninterested and sometimes even give upon the task athand. Which maybe, if you think about it, means the task really wasn't that important top begin with? Not professional tasks, but for example, perhaps you don't even need to be watching that Drake and Rihanna music video for "Work." Maybe you can go the rest of today-nay-the rest of your life without ever seeing it. But I'm getting off topic.

After we took the train in the afternoon, PeruRail, from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Pueblo (1.5 hours); we found our hostel. Interestingly enough, Aguas Calientes wasn't even a thing until Machu Picchu started gaining serious tourist action. It used to be just a railroad town prior to the attraction, but now the town is only there to serve tourists who are staying the night to tae the 20 minute bus ride in the morning to the ruins. Though that is true, people do live here (because people also have to work here). We've seen a lot of residency buildings, a school, and even a futbol stadium right by our hostel.

Because it only caters to tourists, everything here is extremely pricey. I recommend eating out as minimally as you can. Make sure you choose a hostel/hotel with free breakfast, and you can bring snacks from whatever town your coming from on the train, they don't check bags. You also get snack included in your train ticket. Take these opportunities! If you're a frugle traveler like me, it'll cost you more to fix your mistakes.

Big news....we went to Machu Picchu today! Our main reason for this trip in the first place. We also had the Huayana Picchu trek included in our ticket. We have a few comments on that as well. Best way to do it is this: Get in on the PeruRail to Aguas Calientes at least the night before you plan to see the site. Stay there the night, then wake up early for the first trek (Machu opens at 6am, but the Huayana Picchu site starts at 7am) and buy a bus ticket at the booth for about 24 USD roundtrip per person. It's way better to go early to avoid the tourist rush in the afternoon, and even at around 11am.

Firstly you should know, Olivia and myself are fairly out of shape. We bought the tickets for Machu Picchu and Huayana Picchu without actually researching Huayana Picchu (the hike portion). Only after buying the tickets, did we see the death defying mountain we'd be climbing. Just search it in Google, as we were too scared for our lives to take pictures during it. It's mostly VERY steep and narrow steps going up roughly 1,180 feet higher than Machu Picchu. Or 8920 feet above sea level. It's not as high as it could be, it's just terrifying to climb up. There are ropes in most parts, but also there are parts with no rope and your right side is just exposed. Meaning from left to right it goes the rock wall, you on the stairs, then just cliff. You could fall right off. I]m not trying to scare anyone, because we almost bailed and we're so glad we didn't. It's a kickass workout and a great view. Especially if it's wet like it was today....good luck. Plus a milestone for those of us who don't hike as much :) Please do not climb Huayan Picchu if you:
Suffer from any heart problems
Have vertigo
Are chlaustrophobic
Are afraid of heights
Are very out of shape

Check below for the pictures we DID get. I also have to give credit to Olivia for unintentionally peer pressuring me to go. We got to the gate, and not only was I feeling scared, but I was having tummy problems as well from something I ate. She said "don't feel pressured, because if it was me with stomach issues, I wouldn't go. But I'm gonna go. I have to. You can just come back and meet me here. Wrong. So she told me to take the antibiotics the doctor prepared for me just in case, and I made it! Nothing terrible happened the whole time. Had she not unintentionally made me go, I wouldn't have this awesome experience to share with you today.

Machu Picchu was next. After triumphantly defeating the dreaded Huayana Picchu (which our avid Hiker friend even warned us was frightening), we made our way to the less-scary ruins. It's amazing what the Inca's built there. My biggest question is how? The stones are so tightly compacted and the structures are still so stable. How did they gain the resources, let alone the manpower to build such an amazing lost city on such a steep mountain?

A bit of history in lamens terms: Hiram Bingham III "discovered Machu Picchu" as the lost city of the Incan Empire in 1911. This was the first expedition of many. He is the grandson of Hiram Bingham I, a New England diplomat. His family wanted him to follow in those footsteps, but he was like "nah, I'm cool." So he went on a very dangerous trek to find this site, where he came across others such as Espiritu Pampa and Choquequirao. He originally though Choquequirao was the lost city due to their resemblance until he found Machu, so you can think of it as the runner up. Espiritu Pampa is an old refugee camp where the Incas stayed during their time is rebellion. Backing up as to why they were rebelling, Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizzaro invaded their Empire (naturally) and killed Athualpa (the current reigning Incan Emperor). He installed Manco Inca Yupanqui as a sort of puppet king after having Athualpa executed. Long story short, Manco was like "okay cool, I work for you," then later he was like "lolz, jk, sike!" and decided to lead the Incan citizens out of their empire in an attempt at self-liberation. Here we come full circle back to Espiritu Pampa, one of the refugee headquarters for Manco and his group of Incan citizens to hide from the Spanish.

The reason I put "discovery" in quotes, is because Bingham "discovered" the lost Incan city kind of like Columbus "discovered" the Americas. Bingham did bring an amazing lost civilization to the world that would have otherwise not had the chance at discovery, but he wasn't the first one. Feel free to research it yourself, but there were some before him. Another reason it's in quotes is because like all discoverers back in the day, they get credit for their finding based on material merit. So what did he do? Stole unauthorized artifacts from the sites he found and smuggled them out of Peru to display at his alma mater, Yale university, of course. Since then, he continued to unlawfully take artifacts during his expeditions, and when Peru did finally agree to give him permission based on the condition that they could take them back whenever they wanted, he failed to do so. To this day, Peru is still fighting with Yale in the court of law for their artifacts. Even former first lady of Peru, , brought up the lawsuit against Yale again in 2011 for the return of their lent artifacts. Lent is the key word here. Anywho, I have a lot to say on the matter, but I think this is sufficient for now.

An excellent book to read to find out more about the Incan history and it's relation to Hiram Bingham's "discovery" of Machu Picchu, is Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams. 292 pages of great narration, as well as a helpful glossary of Incan/Spanish terms.

All in all, we had a great day of adventure, fear, panic attacks (Olivia and I at the top of Huayana Picchu huddles in a corner), and sunshine. We were so luck it didn't storm like the weather said it was going to. I have some recs for this blog on hiking essentials you'll want to check out!

1. Ahnu Sugarpine Hiking Boot: These boots can be seen on me basically in every full body photo. Olivia is also rocking a different style of the same boot. I'm not going to lie, these boots. saved me.  I usually have foot muscle issues when I walk a lot,, but these are so comfortable and wereespecially appreciated hiking up. Huayna Picchu. Thanks Mom!

2. Squarebar Protein Bar: This can also be seen in a picture of me sitting on a rock after our hike. Perfect after workout snack #whenhungerstrikes. My mom loaded me up with these for my trip, and I have 0 regrets. They've come in handy on multiple occassions. Whether it be food budgeting, or just wanting to pack a snack to avoid hunger in a pinch.

Don't forget to check out my moms blog for a review on the Squarebar, as well as other great recommendations and life hacks in general. Click here for the link :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ollantaytambo: A Crowd Favorite

So we've had our first day in Ollantaytambo. One word. Gorgeous. See for yourself in the pictures below. os a beautiful, rustic town that sits about 2,000 feet lower than Cusco. So the air is still thin, and we get short of breath just walking the 10 minutes between our hostel and the town, but we ain't seen nothing yet.

It's hard to know where to start with these things, because I'm trying to avoid word vomit and just ranting incessantly about what we've seen and done. I guess first things first, our hostel. Mama Simona's is great because it's close to town, but not in the town plaza like a lot of the other hostels. You can sleep better at night just hearing the wonderful sound of the rushing river, rather than honking and yelling. Classic city problems. The town itself, like many other neighboring villages, is surrounded by mountains (obviously) which gives it this secluded feel. See pictures below for our hostel lobby, the garden during the day and night. There's wifi, and free breakfast, which is all one really needs. Unless you're stressing about laundry and free towels, in which case, this place may not be for you.

After we passed out for a few hours upon arrival, due to our harrowing taxi ride we mentioned before, we woke up at around 12:30pm. Lunchtime (my favorite)! We walked up to the town square, and at a lovely cafe attached to one of the hostels (very common) and it was very reasonably priced. I paid 23 PEN (about 8 USD) for beef with rice, a salad, avocado, and egg; a brownie for dessert, and a bottled water. Great deal. I can't recall if we mentioned this as well, but you can't drink the tap water here, so bottled water costs about 1.50 PEN (.30 USD).

After exploring town, we went nuts in the markets! If it weren't for the (idiotic) bag regulations on our train out of here, we would have bought everything. Alpaca sweaters, handsewn bags with beautiful prints, hand-made leather bracelets, the local artwork, jewlery, decor, hand-made rugs and blankets, and everything your heart desires! Not to worry though, there will be plenty of the same items in Cusco later in our trip, at which point we can bring as many bags as we want on our way back home. Also a word to the wise, you have to haggle with the sellers. One woman told me 40 PEN for a sweater, and I was weary, so she dropped it to 35 PEN. If you act like you're about to walk, they'll lower the price. Remember,  these people are very friendly, but they will try to up-charge tourists. Even still, I bought a machine-made alpaca sweater, box of chocolates, 2 hand-made alpaca souvenirs, a bracelet, and an Incan stone decoration for 60 PEN (about 20 USD). So haggle wisely, but don't be extremely cheap, because the locals put a lot of effort into what they make.

 Lastly, the Choco Museum (speaks for itself) is a store that manufactures and sells local chocolate that comes mostly from the mountains of Cusco. They give out free tours, and most importantly free samples. They have a location in Ollantaytambo as well as Cusco (so I'm waiting to buy my stuff in Cusco closer to when we leave so I avoid melting). The chocolate is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO damn good. Once they crack the coca bean open, they use the shell to infuse teas and licquors. So please stop by if you're ever in Peru, or you will forever live in regret (it's thats serious).

We had a comfortable nights sleep, except Mahlmann who spent her evening in fear of spiders in her bad (she found 2 prior). We woke up to enjoy a free breakfast of tea (Manzanilla is my favorite so far), bread with butter and jam, and freshly squeezed papaya juice. Not bad, but me being the hungry SOB that I am, I at lunch soon thereafter. Overall, Mama Simona's gets a 4.5 in customer satisfaction. They are even letting us store our luggage for 2 days while we hike, AFTER we've already packed. For free!

So currently, myself and Mahlmann are sitting at a table in the garden of our hostel, enjoying the beautiful views nature has to offer. No recommendations for travel products now, but when we start hiking, look back for more.

Stay fresh,
Señorita Fuerte & la Mujer Pequeña

p.s. watch out for the stray dogs. They are literally, everywhere. All up on you, just, all the time.

First morning after a plane and a taxi ride, someone's a bit loopy.

Ollantaytambo town square

Very odd artwork at our hostel

Free breakfast at Mama Simona's

Me in a hammock
Beautiful garden (with wifi) at Mama Simona's

Friday, April 22, 2016

Finally Got Stable WIFi: Can I get an Amen?

Hello there,

My, its been about 800 years since we last spoke. Jk. But really, we didn't have stable wifi at our first hostel, so my apologies. After an hour and a half flight from Lima to Cusco and a harrowing cab ride through the moutains (2,000 feet descent) we've finally reached our midway point of Ollantaytambo before heading off to Machu Picchu.
But let's backtrack to our first day in Lima.

We arrived not too much after midnight to be greeted by everyones favorite uncle in a red tank top, Francis. He is in charge of the hostel we stayed at, Miraflores House. We paid roughly USD 23 per bed per night. We stayed 2 nights and there were 2 of us. On, you only pay a %15 deposit, and an optional 2.00 for flexible booking (ALWAYS get flexible booking, its just not worth it not to). Our grand total for staying in Lima was USD 94. The rate in Peru is 1 USD = 3.27 PEN (The Peruvian Nuevo Sol). All in all, we give our hostel an 3.5/5. 1 being horrible, and 5 being "aww yeaah."

Lima is very bustling, and it almost reminds you of a bigger college park; or perhaps a smaller NYC if you will. The traffic seems to be a honk-whenever-you-want free for all, and in order to cross the street, you just have to either follow the locals or work up the courage.

When we did in fact get used to crossing the street, we walked all the way down to Huaca Pucllana, recommended by Francis our hostel owner. We initially had trouble finding it because it's a restaurant attached to the archaeological site called Huaca Pucllana. So worth the wait though! Not only was it delicious, but it made us feel really fancy (and as grody as we looked, we're honestly shocked they didn't turn us away). There's a picture below of cooked Guinea Pig or "cuy" that we ate. I approve!

We walked outside the next day, April 21st, in jeans, boots, and long sleeves; only to immediately regret that decision. We walked for roughly 20 minutes before returning to change. Miraflores, at this point, is roughly 77 degrees. Feeling much better about our costume changes (shorts, and tank tops) we explored the town. We walked all over, went to the beach, and most importantly, walked aimlessly for hours in search of the towns best churros; only to fail beautifully. If you;re on the hunt for Manolo;s Churros, best of luck to you. I think it's a Harry Potter situation where it only appears to you if you're worthy. It;s at the corner of Calle Schell and Calle Pinos. After suffering through empty promises of churros, we settled on a pancake place that was actually really good. 52 PEN for a giant pancake with Nutella, strawberries, bananas, and ice cream. Not b ad at all if you're sharing between 2-3 people. It's called Palachinke if you're looking for a good rep.

My personal recommendations so far for travel are as follows:

Scottevest SeV Margaux Cargaux Travel Pants. They are great for stowing away important documents for easy access, yet great security. I put my passport, boarding pass, and even money in the zipper pockets. It was a great find especially since it's such a hassle for me to wrestle through my bags for documents I'm constantly taking out.

2. Tortuga Backpack. This backpack is extremely popular, and actually created by two UMD alumn (go terps!). The fact that it opens like a suitcase and is perfect regulation size for carry on are priorities in my list. Nothing is worse than needing something at the bottom of your bag, and having to open it from the top.

3. Tortuga Daypack. This is to be used in conjunction with the larger Tortuga Backpack, and it's perfect for walking around during the day. Stretchy and light make this tiny pack ideal during the day (I know I sound like a brochure). One minus though is that because its stretchy and light, there no bottom or surrounding structure to keep it from taking shape of anything you put in it (careful of things with corners, they'll get you).

4. EZ Packing Cubes. These I LOVE. Even Olivia agrees, they keep all my stuff in check and by category. I have my stuff separated into clothing, socks/underwear, toiletries, and electronics. It's great for packers wanting to again, keep stuff in the right place when you need it.

That's all for now. We'll be sure to post another one hopefully in the next day. But as for now, we're tired, hungry, and wanting to just relax and enjoy the beautiful mountain town that is Ollantaytambo. See below for bomb-ass photos, courtesy of our resident photographer, Olivia Mahlmann. And don't forget to comment, I want to hear from you!

Stay fresh,
Señorita Fuerte & la Mujer Pequeña

Me at Miraflores House Front door

Around Miraflores

Fancy lunch at the Huaca Pucllana Archaeological site restaurant

We ate cuy....which is GUINEA PIG. It was actually really chewy and delicious. This one is sans head and feet though #plus

Statue of two people making out

Giant pancake from Palachike in Miraflores...speaks for itself

Miraflores House Lobby

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Night Before: Short & Sweet like my friend Xavier

Hi there.

If you've followed my travel blogs in the past you'll you know three things about me:
1. I'm not a writer. So I tend to write as my thoughts come out, and sometimes it can be confusing.
2. I tend to not proffread, so I tend to make some grammatical/punctuational errors along the way.
3. I LOVE pictures. I want to be able to do more than just write about it. I want you to get as close as you can to where I go as possible without actually touching it. So pictures and videos will be ample.
4. (suprise!) I'm honest in my writing.

Now that those points have been made, welcome to our travel blog! Me, and one of my best friends Olivia, will be traveling Peru for 10 days starting tomorrow. She'll be resident photogrpher, taking all the stunning photos you'll be feasting your eyes upon.

We arrive in Lima, then make our way to Cusco, where we'll climb Macchu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. We will also visit some cool cities along the way like Ollantaytambo for example. Check our blog every day/every other day for some amazing pictures, stories, and products we're using. *Shameless plug cough cough* I'll be alluding to my mom's blog, The Well Chick Project, a lot as well because she's given me a lot of the travel items I'm using like hiking boots, my backpack, snacks, etc. It's actually a great lifestyle blog and she's a really talented writer (check it out here!)

To make our first post short, I just want to say thank you again for reading, and never stop traveling! It's good for the soul, and it relieves acid reflux.

(I'm actually not sure about the acid reflux thing, but I figure I don't know that that's wrong either....I just wanted you to keep reading).