Cusco & Machu Picchu- South America Part 4

Machu Picchu! We made it!

Hola my friends and welcome back to part four of my South American adventure.

In my last post I was in Bolivia, this part of the trip is heading to Peru, where we got to see beautiful Cusco and the majestic Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was the main reason we had decided to visit South America. I must admit that the entire trip had been amazing, but I was excited to be heading to our next destination!

To get to Cusco we continued the journey by overnight bus with Bolivia hop. We had been told that it was safer and more convenient to travel across the border with a tour group. That way if there were any complications with the border crossing you had a Bolivian tour guide to help you out. The Bolivian and Peruvian border crossing wasn’t too far from Copacabana, it was a long process, but we breezed on through.

Hola Peru!

After the border crossing we hit the road for the overnight journey we had ahead. We had one stop in Puno for a meal and then there was no stopping until we arrived into Cusco, our destination!

Cusco is a beautiful city, it is full of well preserved colonial architecture and Inca history. It is inspiring to wander around the city and take in all the history it has to offer.

Plaza de Armas (Cusco square).

During our first morning in Cusco, we were lucky enough to see celebrations for the Peruvian Independence day. All law enforcement and national police were marching and celebrating in the Plaza de Armas (Cusco square). It was great to see how passionate and patriotic they are about their national Independence day.

We spent a couple of days enjoying Cusco, we went on a walking tour and learnt about the history of city and viewed Inca ruins that are found throughout the City. Some of the sights we saw and visited were; the 12-sided stone, Calle loreto, San pedro market and the witches market. We also visited the Qorikanch museum and the Choco Museo (chocolate museum). Now if you know me well, you know I love chocolate. The chocolate museum offered a pretty cool experience where you could make chocolate from scratch, starting from the cacao bean. It was a lot of fun, there was a lot of chocolate taste testing and of course we got to take home the finished product.

After a lovely few days in Cusco, it was time to embark onto our next adventure, our trek to MACHU PICCHU!!!

I had been waiting four years for this part of our journey and I was excited to be actually living it. I had set a goal when I first became unwell with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), that when I recovered and got better I would visit Machu Picchu and complete a walk while being there. It was actually happening!!!!

Around 4 am in the morning our friendly guide Hector from Head Expeditions turned up to take us on our trek to Machu Picchu. We caught the shuttle bus with him from Cusco to Ollantayambo, were grabbed a quick breakfast and then made our way down to the train station, to jump on the train to our treks starting point.

The train ride offered beautiful views of the mountain ranges. The roof of the train was a see-through dome, which made the views on offer more enjoyable. Our train ride finished at the 104 km Inca trail point, which meant this was where we started our hiking adventure!

View from the Inka Trail.

Hector checked us in at the check point and then we were off on our hike. It was a beautiful day to be out walking, the sun was out and the temperature was lovely. The trail was incredible, most of the actual trail is still in its original form from Inca construction. We reached the Inca site of Winay Wayna (Forever Young). It was so fascinating learning and seeing how the Inca’s lived. The views during the hike were spectacular, we saw small rural farms, mountains, waterfalls, Inca ruins, there was also evidence of where a few landslides had been. I felt like we were pretty high up, we had climbed roughly 600 meters. The highest point we hiked up too was 2750 m, this was at Inti Punku (Sun Gate). After 10k’s of hiking, completed in record time according to our guide Hector, we climbed up the final stairs up to Inti Punku (Sun Gate). This is where we were treated to our first view of the majestic Machu Picchu.

It was absolutely breath taking! We had the best view of this beautiful ancient city. We made our way down to Machu Piccu and enjoyed a little bit of time down there before heading down on a 7km trek to Angus Calientes. When we arrived at our hotel in Angus Calientes, a shower, meal and a good rest was much welcomed.

We wanted to try and catch Machu Picchu at sunrise, so the next morning we were up at 2.30 am to line up for the bus that would take us up to Machu Picchu for sunrise. Unfortunately that morning it was quite cloudy, which meant we were unable to see the sunrise. What we did see though was low cloud over Machu Picchu giving it a misty and magical look. It was a completely different look from yesterday’s sunny skies.

Our tour guide Hector gave us a guided tour around the beautiful ancient city before the crowds arrived. After the tour we said our goodbyes to Hector and then made our way over to Wayna Picchu aka Huayna Picchu to climb.

Wayna Picchu was one steep and challenging climb! The stairs were a lot like those we had experienced the previous day on the Inca trail, however the climb was much steeper. By the time we had reached the top of Wayna Picchu, the low cloud had lifted a bit. We were almost up in the clouds and had been rewarded with the most amazing views.

After enjoying our snackbox lunch and the beautiful views from Wayna Picchu, we made our way back down. On our way down we came across an elderly lady on her way up. She was almost at the top, it was so inspiring to see her giving it ago. Just goes to show you can do anything if you put you mind to it! After we made it down from Wayna Picchu we made a couple of llama friends and then it was time to leave beautiful Machu Picchu.

The look out from the top of Wayna Picchu aka Huayna Picchu.

When we got back down to Angus Calientes, we had a little bit of time to wander around and enjoy a meal before catching our train and shuttle back to Cusco.

I loved every minute of our time in Machu Picchu. The walks were hard work at times, but I enjoyed every moment of it. It was challenging, rewarding and great a learning experience.

When we arrived back to Cusco we only had a day left, we made the most of our last day there and enjoyed some delicious food. My favourite places to eat were; Mr Soup, Jacks and Orginika. Fresh, healthy and just delicious!!!

We made sure to get a well deserved massage and then spent the rest of the day relaxing and wandering around the city.

Peru you were amazing! I loved Cusco and Machu Picchu you made my dreams come true!

Adiós Peru, it’s time to head to my final destination!!!

Lennae xxx

Looking out over Cusco.
Winay Wayna (Forever Young).
Selfies at Inti Punku (Sun Gate).
Machu Picchu!
Machu Picchu the next day.
Llama Friends.

Hola Buenos Aires! – South America Part 1

The Obelisk, Buenos Aires.

 

Hola my friends, how are you all? I hope all is well! I have been a little delayed with getting back to my world of blogging, but am now back to catch up and fill you in on all my on goings!

I have loads to catch up on and fill you all in on. The most important thing I want to share with you all now, is my awesome adventure to South America!

As some of you may know travelling to South America has been a goal of my ever since I became unwell with ME/CFS. The fact that I was able to get to this point and visit was huge!!!  I will be writing about my adventure over a few posts, so let’s get started and onto the good stuff……

After a 12 hour flight, from Sydney to Santiago, then a 3 hour delay at the Santiago airport and getting to know it (spoiler alert it’s not that big), then our connecting flight of 2 hours to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We had finally arrived at our Destination! Welcome to BUENOS AIRES BABY!

Feeling very tired, foggy minded and only just managing to keep our eyes open, we jumped into a taxi and headed to our hotel in downtown Buenos Aires. The drive was an experience, but we were yet to learn that was nothing compared to the Bolivian drivers in La Paz.

Luckily, we arrived during the evening, so as soon as we arrived at our hotel it was heads to pillows. Due to travelling through 12 time zones in the opposite direction, our body clocks were all over the place, this lead to a lot of ridiculous early rises over the next few days.

The weather was mostly wet and rainy and it was the middle of Winter. Thankfully we invested in some waterproof windbreakers and made good use of them, by hitting the city and exploring the streets of Buenos Aires.

Some of the attractions and areas we explored were;

The colourful suburb of La Boca, worth a visit to enjoy the atmosphere and markets. If you’re a football fan this is definitely the place for you with this suburb being the home ground to the famous Boca Juniors.

Plaza de Mayo, the government square, usually there are protest’s etc. It appeared we had missed the on going’s, however when we visited, the riot squad were still lingering around.

La Recoleta Cemetery, the famous cemetery where the rich and famous are buried. This cemetery is located in the suburb of Recoleta, it is a lovely suburb to visit and looks a lot like New York city in the movies. The tombstones at the cemetery are out of this world!

Palacio Barolo, it has beautiful views of the city. It has a lighthouse on top of the building that is worth climbing up the tiny staircase and into as the city views are amazing. During this visit we enjoyed a tour of the building and this is where I started to really learn about the Spanish and their inquisition.

Puente de la Mujer Bridge, enjoy a walk along the river set among some lovely restaurants.

Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world. The road has 7 lanes running on each side, whilst also having trams and buses run through the middle.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, the beautiful book shop that once was a theatre. Having lunch at the cafe on stage was a lovely treat, while admiring the beautiful store.

Floralis Generica and the Obelisk are also must see attractions.

One of my favourite things about Buenos Aires was the cafe culture. I don’t usually drink coffee, but I found myself indulging in coffee and enjoying the cafe culture the city bought. I have heard people say Buenos Aires is the Europe of South America and I can now see why.

Buenos Aires, you were a real treat, you were friendly and chilled out, you were patient with us while we struggled with our Spanish! You were the best start for the beginning of our South American adventure. You also introduced us to Dulce de leche aka caramel sauce (which goes on everything),  Maté Tea aka yerba and proved that Argentinians know how to do amazing Steaks.

Until next time, Adiós Buenos Aires and Adiós my friends! I need to get writing about the next part of my South American adventure!

Ps: Here’s a couple of snaps below.

Lennae xxx

 

La Boca.

 

Puente De La Mujer
El Ateneo Grand Splendid.
Plaza de mayo.
View from the top of Palacio Barolo.

Goal kicking 4 years on!

Photo by Farid Askerov on Unsplash

It occurred to me that I’ve just hit my ME/CFS anniversary and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve kicked it to the curb! This past year has been filled with a bit of goal kicking and it’s not stopping anytime soon! Yeooow!!!

Four years ago, I can still vividly remember how my health went downhill fast.  The first year was the hardest, I barely had wins and as much as I tried to keep positive it was hard.  I held onto goals and put up pictures of things that symbolised my goals. I convinced myself that I would achieve these goals one day…….even though at the time, it seemed hard to believe. I held onto the idea and kept it for when I needed it the most.

Finally, I have achieved a number of these goals. I am extremely proud, to say four years on I am celebrating and smashing my goals! The hard work has paid off and most of all, the illness is no longer ruling my world.

A huge victory is that I am heading to South America in a few days, yep you heard right!!! It’s literally days away. South America became a long-term goal of mine when I become unwell. Most of my close family and friends know this and probably got sick of me saying one day I’m going to go when I get better! Haha well that day has finally arrived and I am pinching myself! I really can’t believe it has arrived.

It is very random how it all came about, it happened to be in my very early days of my illness. At the time, the doctors still didn’t know what was wrong with me.  I was trying to keep positive throughout the whole ordeal and I decided to make an inspiration board of what I was going to do or work towards when I got well enough. The picture of Machu Picchu came to me, I had no desire to visit it before. But that image of Machu Picchu stuck with me and I thought to myself ” I’m going, when I’m well enough.”

And it’s been with me ever since.

City2surf is another big thing that I have been working towards, which I’m excitedly fit enough for. City2surf is happening in August which I am excited to be competing in the event and I have also been fundraising for it. The charity I have chosen to fundraise for is emerge, they are an Australian based charity that dedicates themselves to raising awareness and funds to research for ME/CFS.

Returning to work and working like a normal person would, was another big goal. DONE! This also includes other living “like a normal person” life goals again. DONE!

My next ass kicking goal will be a tough one and means heading back to school! Bring it on!

It’s not until you lose something, that really puts things and life into prospective for you.

Any way my friends it’s time for me to love and leave you, I need to go pack!

Can’t wait to tell you all about my South American adventure.

Much love

Lennae xxx

Photo by Abraham Osorio on Unsplash

Wrapping up 2016 and Bringing on 2017!

Photo credit @a.m_banks- Instagram
Photo credit @a.m_banks- Instagram

Welcome to 2017….. Where on earth did 2016 go!!!

I know I’m a little late to the party, but I can’t help myself I love wrapping up a year that’s passed and looking forward to the beginnings of a year ahead! I don’t know about you guys, but a new year just brings a whole lot of exciting and endless possibilities!!!

Although I can’t say I have completely recovered from ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome) I am more functional and active than what I have been in a long time. 2016 was a good year for me, my health turned it up a notch and showed me that my days with ME/CFS are becoming more like it was all just a bad dream.

Throughout 2016 I did have a few issues with my health, but they ended up not being ME/CFS related. How good is that!
2016 showed me a normal and active life, that I am more than welcoming back. I was able to work my way up to working 15 hours a week and maintain that. I will increase the hours more at some stage, but right now I am happily enjoying this work life balance. I also enjoyed a bit of travelling, going interstate, as well as heading over to Singapore off on a cruise. I remember feeling on the cruise like I wasn’t a sick person (how amazing is that). I was also studying some of last year, however I did have to place my studies on hold. I hope to continue them at some stage, possibly in a years time. Putting my studies on hold allowed me time to complete my main goal of returning to work and also allowed me to focus more on my fitness. Which Snowy and I have been loving!

Anyway enough about 2016, we are now in 2017!!!

Whoohoo, bring it on!!!

This year one of my main goals that I will achieve, is dedicated to when I first became unwell. When I first became unwell in 2013, I could barely move. At the time all I could do was lay in bed or on the couch. I did a lot of soul searching and googling online about ME/CFS and came across mostly negative stories. This did not help my frame of mind, I needed something positive. I had no idea when I would get better or how long it would take. However I needed something to look forward to. I decided to make a vision board, it was something I hung on my wall, where I looked every day and helped when I wasn’t feeling the best (which at that stage was everyday). My vision board consisted of destinations that I wanted to visit and stuff that I wanted to be doing once I finally started to get better. The one thing that stuck out to me however was Machu Picchu. I have no idea why, it just did. I decided when I was finally well enough and able too I would go there someday. Thankfully my beautiful friends I am well enough to get my butt over to that amazing place and show ME/CFS who the boss is now!!!

To some it may not seem like a big deal, but to someone that has been suffering with a chronic illness it means having your life back. Suffering from a chronic illness is hard work, but recovering from one is even harder. Achieving your goals is rewarding, here’s to a year full of achieving your goals and setting new ones.

Have a happy 2017 my friends! I hope you all have a fantastic year ahead, sending lots of love, hugs, spoons and positive vibes your way.

Lennae xxx

Photo credit @a.m_banks- instagram
Photo credit @a.m_banks- instagram
Photo credit @a.m_banks- instagram
Photo credit @a.m_banks- instagram

Just a Casual 6 KM Walk at RUN WOLLONGONG!

Walking with a view.
Walking with a view, City beach, Wollongong.

For a long time now I have been patiently waiting for my body to cooperate and say “yep I’m ready to move it and be active again!”

I have maintained regular walking throughout my illness with ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/ Chronic fatigue syndrome). In the beginning it started off with only walking to the mail box, because at the time, that was all I could manage. Over time I have increased accordingly to what I could manage, slowly but surely I have made progress with this.

This brings me to where I am today….. Today I entered into the Run Wollongong running event and registered myself into the 6 km walk. Yep it was a little scary to think that I was taking on normal active life again, but also amazingly brilliant that I was at this point where it was an option and I didn’t have to worry about my illness or symptoms of getting in the way of it all.

Cameron and my Dad joined me, Cameron entered himself to run the 12 km race and Dad walked the 6 km race with me. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was out, blue skies where upon us and the temperature was warm. A lovely light breeze swept through towards the end of the race, which helped with keeping cool.

Proudly I can say that I kept a fast pace up throughout the whole course, finishing towards the front of our group. I felt completely in my element! I have always enjoyed walking and right before my illness, I had started to get into walking/ running events.  I have been longing to get back into living an active life for a while and it feels fantastic to be able to do this sort of thing again! Thanks body, thanks for working with me! Whoohoo!!!

Celebrations were called for and we made a pit spot at a healthy cafe that I had been wanting to try out. I celebrated with a Acai bowl!

Every proud moment or milestone is always worth celebrating! Do you have any proud moments or milestones that you should be celebrating? Make sure you celebrate them!

Much love

Lennae xxx

 

 

Start line fun.
Start line fun.

 

6 KM walk group photo.
6 KM walk group photo.
Free fresh fruit to re-fuel with after the race. A great idea!!!
Free fresh fruit to re-fuel with after the race. A great idea!!!
6 KM's done, Whoohoo!!!
6 KM’s done, Whoohoo!!!
Acai bowl celebrations!
Acai bowl celebrations!

 

Road Trippin

 

 

Eden Wharf, NSW.
Eden Wharf, NSW.

 

Over the  long weekend, the Mr and I decided to road trip down to Melbourne.  I was pretty excited about the roadie, though after a full on week I was also a little concerned as to how I would pull up. I wasn’t planning to take time off for the trip but long journeys can tend to wipe me out. After a good night’s sleep I still felt a bit exhausted, mentally and psychically. However after a little pep talk and the realisation that it would probably still be good for me to get away, I got myself sorted and we were good to go. We also had Mr spoon joining us (for more about Mr Spoon click here), he had arrived into my possession only a couple of days earlier from his previous road trip (he gets around).

Our journey went via the scenic route, cruising down the coast of NSW stopping in Eden for the first night (the bottom of NSW). Keeping an eye out at Eden for whales while enjoying the gorgeous views. What I love about Australia is that there are so many beautiful coastal towns, each one just as gorgeous as the next.

We then headed down to Victoria hugging the coast as much as possible enjoying the beautiful national parks along the way, I love a good national park. We stopped off at a couple of spots along the way and enjoyed a nice walk and then ended the day in Yanakie, which borders Wilson’s Promontory National Park. The next day involved exploring Wilson’s Promontory National Park and enjoying another lovely walk. We also got to drive on the most southern road on mainland Australia. After a bit of National park exploring, we headed to Melbourne, cruising through rural Victoria and ending my part of the trip in Melbourne. Rural Victoria, the Gippsland region reminded me a lot like where i’m from in New Zealand, loads of sheep, cows, farmland and  lush green grass.  All up a total distance of driving  was just over 1100 km (not by me of course)!

Some delicious food was eaten and I think those country Victorians definitely give Melbournians a good run for their money when it comes to good food. I sensed there was a bit of competition in that area.

After spending a lovely night in Melbourne and conquering the square glass floor up the Eurka tower (it’s one way to test my fear of heights), I flew home the next day and managed everything just fine. It’s moment’s like this, that remind me that only not too long ago I wouldn’t have been able manage any of this, mentally, emotionally or physically!

Wowee it feels good to be living life and enjoying the simple things! Bring on life!

Sending lots of love and positive vibes to you all, do you have a road trip planned anytime soon? I’d love to hear about it!

Much love,

 

 

Lennae xxx

Mr Spoon whale watching in Eden.
Mr Spoon whale watching in Eden.
Rotary look out, Eden.
Rotary look out, Eden.
Cape Conran, Victoria.
Cape Conran, Victoria.
Cape Conran, Victoria.
Cape Conran, Victoria.
Birdies at Tidal River, Wilson's Promontory National Park.
Birdies at Tidal River, Wilson’s Promontory National Park, Victoria.
Over looking Bass Strait, Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria
Over looking Bass Strait, Wilson’s Promontory National Park, Victoria.
South bank, Melbourne.
South bank, Melbourne.

 

Singapore Cruising Adventure

Sunset on the Malacca Sea.
Sunset on the Malacca Strait.

Hello beautiful souls, long time no hear!

Apologies for the lack of posts, I’ve been off and on with the online world over the past few months. All has been going well, I actually returned from my cruising holiday over a month ago (I know, so slack that I haven’t posted about this already).

I really want to share this experience with you all. This was a huge milestone for me, filled with a lot of surprises and happy memories to go with it. It’s amazing how well you can cope when you are out of your daily routine and comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong there were a few curves balls, but its part of the experience and how you deal with it at the time. You can either fight it or roll with it.

A good friend of mine turned 30 this year and it was decided that we would along with another friend, do a 7 day cruise from Singapore. Our cruise set sail through the Malacca Strait up into the Andnaman Sea, stopping off in Langkawi (Malaysia) Phuket, Krabi (Thailand) and Sabang (Indonesia). With also spending a bit of time in Singapore, either side of the cruise. All up I would be away for a whole 14 days and I would also be flying to Singapore and back. That’s an 8 hour flight one way!
I must confess, this trip sounded scary to me, but deep within I knew it was achievable for me. I had a bit of anxiety about this trip in the beginning, as my health had been playing up when I made the booking. But I was committed to seeing this through, especially for myself. Thankfully the health issues I was experiencing were not ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) related and towards the time of the cruise, I was ready and embracing this trip with open arms.

I won’t bore you with all the details…… but here’s a little summary of how I got on. I’ll leave the rest up to the holiday snaps, they speak for themselves!

The first few days were spent enjoying & exploring Singapore. Naturally I wasn’t able to see everything, but you never can see it all in just a couple of days. After spending a lot of our days walking around shopping, eating and exploring my legs were about to fall off. I had pushed things to the limit and if all the payback I was getting was from my legs, I’ll take it! Gardens by the bay are a must, we visited them at night, but I would definitely go back to see them during the day.

Next was time to board the cruise, by then I was needing a good rest. It’s hard work being a tourist! Thankfully the first day on the cruise was just a sailing at sea day. I was able to bounce back well.  I enjoyed the luxuries on the boat and had everything right at my fingertips. A few party nights here and there with a sneaky drink or two in between. Dancing the night away like I was a care free 18 year old again, that’s what it’s all about. Yep the old body pulled up well.
Day trips weren’t too hard, I opted for the easy options and that seemed to work out well. I was extremely surprised with how well I managed it all. I guess when you’re on holiday, you don’t have to worry about day to day things or anything else for that matter. The biggest worry is what to eat, there was so much food to choose from!

The last few nights of our trip were spent winding down in Bugis, Singapore. Enjoying the local sights and exploring the area, including visiting the Meomi cat cafe. Conveniently located across from our hotel.

This nears the end of my Singapore cruise adventure, I had a wonderful time and have proved to myself that my ME/CFS days are now more like a distant memory. Bring on the next adventure, I hear South America calling!!!

I’ll love and leave you with a few of my holiday snaps, enjoy!
Do you have any holidays planned? I would love to hear about them!!!

Much love

Lennae xxx

Sunrise view from our apartment in Singapore.
Sunrise view from our apartment in Singapore.
Playing tourist, heading down to gardens by the bay.
Playing tourist, heading down to gardens by the bay, Singapore.
Gardens by bay, Singapore.
Gardens by bay, Singapore.
Breakfast at the Meomi cat cafe, Singapore.
Breakfast at the Meomi cat cafe, Singapore.
Pacific Eden, in Sabang, Indonesia.
Pacific Eden, in Sabang, Indonesia.
Langkawi, Malaysia.
Langkawi, Malaysia.
Krabi, Thailand
Krabi, Thailand
Enjoying the beautiful sunset.
Enjoying the beautiful sunset.
Walking the plank.
Walking the plank.