721. Peru Trip | Visiting Machu Picchu!

leftbanked despacito Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is without a doubt the most iconic image of Peru and the Inca civilization. Nestled high up in the Andes mountains, it was constructed in 1450 and abandoned just under a century later due to Spanish conquest. It is now one of the 7 Wonders of the World. It was one of the (many) highlights of our trip. With Cusco as a base, we travelled there and back in the span of a day.

To get to Machu Picchu from Cusco, you have to take a train lasting roughly 4 hours to Aguas Calientes. From there the only way to get up to the ruins, other than walking, is a crowded bus of roughly 45 minutes. I LOVED the train journey over. It was just as enjoyable (maybe more) than the actual destination. I loved passing by all the local villages and observing daily life in the Peruvian countrysides. The four hours just flew by. The second part of the train ride was a lot of beautiful scenery. Here we were starting out, with a view over Cusco:

view over Cusco
journey to Machu Picchu
Passing by little towns

Cusco Peru
train to Machu Picchu
We booked a Vistadome train which we thought would be nice with the glass ceilings. But it actually made parts of the ride annoyingly hot with the sun shining through. & it didn't make a huge difference in terms of the view anyway as the windows are large. The train ride overall was very nice and comfortable though.

train to Machu Picchu
Sacred Valley
Sacred Valley route
Aguas Calientes
Arriving in Aguas Calientes! So we ran into a bit of a stressful situation here. Machu Picchu is an extremely popular attraction and requires advance timed tickets to be booked. We booked our tickets for a 12pm entrance I believe.

We hadn't thought to purchase the bus tickets as well, as we were under the impression that the train brought us straight to the ruins..or at least close enough to walk there. After getting off the train, we had lunch then started heading over when it was nearly 12pm/our entrance time. Then we saw a HUUUUUUGE line to get on a bus to go to the ruins. The longest line I've ever seen in my life. It also hit us that we needed to purchase bus tickets which there was also a long line for. I think we waited half an hour in the line to purchase the bus tickets. The line to get on a bus, if we were to wait, looked like it would be at least 3 hours. Walking up would have been the last resort but it is a strenuous mountain hike that would last a couple hours. Taxis and other cars are forbidden to drive up there so the only option is the bus.

We got super lucky in the end. We spoke with the bus company explaining our situation and showing that we were already past our entrance time to enter Machu Picchu. So they let us skip the entire line and go on the next bus! We were sooo relieved. We otherwise wouldn't have made it and probably would've had to spend the night at Aguas Caliente..since we only had a few hours' window before we had to take the train back to Cusco.

Anyway the whole transportation system to get to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes is quite a mess and you really have to be fully prepared and allocate hours of waiting around. We took the 7am departure train from Cusco which we thought was early enough. I would highly recommend going at an off-peak time but I'm not sure when that would be. I wish I took a photo of the long never-ending line, but I was so stressed out at that point I didn't even think of it lol.

Aguas Calientes market
Aguas Calientes Peru
Machu Picchu view
Machu Picchu mountains
The weather was so perfect that day. Apparently it rains a lot there. I'm glad it didn't for us..of course it's best to come here when it's nice and sunny but I think the rain would have made the bus situation 100x worse lol.

Machu Picchu Peru
Alpacas Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu Peru
leftbanked Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu stone
I'm not sure what was going on here lol.

Machu Picchu alpacas llamas
Machu Picchu
llama Peru
Machu Picchu leftbanked despacito



720. Peru Trip | Huacachina

leftbanked Huacachina
During one of our days staying in Paracas, we took a day trip to Huacachina. I was really looking forward to this part of the trip because we were going on a sunset dune buggy tour. I've never seen the desert or sand dunes before and I was super excited. I loved the dune buggy ride a lot. It is such an adrenaline rush and I would do it every day if I could hahah.

Huacachina Oasis
Huacachina is an oasis. The town is pretty small. The main reason people come is for the dune buggy rides.

Huacachina oasis
Huacachina restaurant
Ica Peru
Huacachina Oasis Peru
leftbanked despacito sand buggy
Ready for our desert adventure! So glad we got the front seats.

Huacachina sand buggy
Huacachina sand buggy tour
Huacachina desert
Huacachina sand dunes Peru
Huacachina Peru
We stopped at a couple hills for sandboarding. I was nervous about trying it at first but then decided to go for it at the last minute. Unfortunately I don't have any pics of me sliding down.

Huacachina sand boarding
Huacachina drone shot
Some drone shots!

leftbanked despacito Huacachina
Huacachina buggy tours
Huacachina Drone Shot
Huacachina Sunset
leftbanked despacito Huacachina



719. Thanksgiving Weekend + Autumn in Toronto

Tommy Thompson Park Fall
I think Fall/Autumn has now become my favourite season. When I was younger, my favourite used to be summer since it meant a few months of no school. Now I love this time of year when the weather becomes cooler (but not too cold) and the leaves start changing colours. It just feels so cozy. I also have an obsession with pumpkins.

This past weekend we went for a walk in Tommy Thompson Park which is just east of downtown. I've never been there before (or even heard of it). It was really nice. We also got some nice drone shots:

Toronto skyline from above
despacito Tommy Thompson Park
leftbanked despacito Tommy Thompson Park
mini pumpkins
leftbanked pumpkin
Picked up a little pumpkin!

leftbanked pumpkin
organic pumpkin
Also made a pumpkin cake.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery Fall
I love walking through cemeteries. I find them so peaceful and beautiful, especially in the Fall. Last weekend we had a stroll through Mount Pleasant.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery Autumn
Mount Pleasant Cemetery Fall
Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Toronto view from CN Tower
Thanksgiving dinner at the CN Tower's 360 Restaurant.

360 Restaurant beet salad
Toronto view from CN Tower
360 Restaurant CN Tower
360 Restaurant Elk
I had elk. It was delicious but the portion was quite small.

360 Restaurant dessert
Caramel apple dessert.

Toronto view from CN Tower
The view at night!

Toronto view from CN Tower

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