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.

Sporting my SKINS!

 

Hello my friends,

How are you all? I hope you’re all well!

During the past week, I was lucky enough to be contacted by the lovely Naomi at SKINS and received a pair of SKINS DNAmic Compression 3/4 Tights and a Remote T bar tank. I was super stoked to have received a pair of SKINS, I have always heard about how good they are and have been wanting to get my hands on a pair.

Over the weekend we had some lovely weather, this felt like a good time to try out my new active wear. The husband, Snowy and I headed down the coast, just a 30 minute drive from where we live and went on a beautiful coastal walking track up along the cliffs.

I had my new SKINS on and at first I noticed that the tights were very skin tight (I guess that’s why they’re called skins), but also felt light. I don’t usually like tight or fitting clothing, but I thought I would see how they go. The T bar tank was an instant hit, as I like to have loose fitting wear.

During our walk, I was surprised with the compression tights. They felt extremely comfortable but also felt very supportive. My movement didn’t feel restricted. I did a lot of walking up and down the hills, running in parts and stretching.

This left me wondering about the compression tights and what the benefits of them are. Here are a few points that I have learnt about SKINS compression wear below;

  • Increasing blood flow velocity and muscle oxygenation.
  • Reducing blood lactate at submaximal intensities
  • Increases power by increasing force production and lower body proprioception.
  • Reduces risk of injury by reducing swelling, as defined by limb circumference

 

After trialling out my SKINS, I have to admit I am a huge fan! It helps that they look good too! You should always look good and feel good in your active wear!

If you like the look of my SKINS wear or want to check out what else they have, you can invest in a pair by clicking here. They are great quality and well worth the investment. SKINS cater for men, women and children. They offer a great range of items ranging from compression tights, socks, sleeves to tops . Make sure you use my discount code LW20SKINS, to get 20% off all full priced items. This is code is only valid until the end of October. I can assure you they a worth the investment, nothing beats comfortable exercise wear.

 

Lennae xxx

 

Walk for ME!

Taking in the view.

 

Hello beautiful readers, I hope you’re all well!

Can you believe it’s May already? Where has the year gone?!

As some of you might be aware for a few years now I have been suffering with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). My health is a lot better now and my days with ME/CFS feel like more of a distant memory, however May 12th is International awareness day. As we are approaching awareness day pretty quickly, I want to put it out there that I will be dedicating a huge goal of mine to raising awareness and fundraising for ME/CFS.

Back in 2012 I participated in City2Surf for the first time ever, l had a fantastic time and was eager to participate in the following years event. Unfortunately that year I became unwell with ME/CFS and haven’t been able to enter since.

Well friends, I’m extremely excited to announce that this year is the year, that I will be taking on this goal!  Exciting isn’t it! It’s been worth the wait! I have always vowed to myself that, when the day arrived I would dedicate/ fundraise my race to the Emerge charity to help fundraise for ME/CFS.

If you’re not familiar with City2Surf, let me tell you a little about it. It is a 14 km race from the Sydney CBD out to the famous Bondi beach. The event is held in August and usually attracts more than around 80,000 people, making it one the largest runs of its kind in the world. It is a fun but challenging event that is suitable for most people with a bit of a fitness level, whether you are entering for the competitive race or just for fun, dressing up is always optional. You can find all types of entertainment along the race, it truly is a fun morning out.

I am super thrilled to be entering this year, this has been something I have had my heart set on doing for a few years now. I have built up my strength day by day from being bed ridden to where I am today.

I have meet many wonderful people online, world wide who suffer with this illness. They have all helped make what was a very difficult journey a much happier and brighter one. This one’s for you team!!!

I have started an everyday hero page through the City2Surf website, this page is where you can join me on my journey. You can view my training that I will load up a couple of times a week, with my number one trainer Snowy.  I will also keep you posted on my Instagram, but for my everyday hero page click here. I would love for you all to pop over to my page, share it, donate or just say hi, Snowy and I would love the encouragement!

 

Much love

Lennae xxx

 

City2Surf 2012.

 

Walking with ME

Walking with a view, Woonona beach, NSW.
Walking with a view, Woonona beach, NSW.

During the early days of my illness with ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/ Chronic fatigue syndrome) moving proved to be very difficult, my body was weak and heavy. I’m in my third year of recovering with ME/CFS and here is how I have managed to get moving again. Please note that although I have found this to help me, it may not be ideal for you. Everyone is different and this illness affects everyone differently.

When my doctor referred me to an exercise physiologist to help with my recovery, I was confused and didn’t understand why… “how could I exercise if I could barely hold myself up?”  This being my only option from my doctor, I went and gave it a go.

At the exercise physiologist I was given a couple of exercises and was told to start walking, this sounded like pure torture. I did want to get better, which meant I was willing to give anything a go.

The exercises I did off and on, but the walking I have kept and maintained since day one.  I started off with a walk down my driveway; to the mailbox and up and down 2 small flights of stairs. That was me done! I struggled up the stairs, while breathing heavily. Gradually I started shuffling a 5 minute walk to the beach. It was literally two blocks away and took me 10 minutes to get there. I started this walk with someone each time,  I was too scared to go by myself  and scared that I would fall over and be too weak to pick myself up if I ever needed to. I would stop when I got to the beach and get a chai latte. Usually I would need to rest for around half an hour before  heading back again. When I got confident I started do this walk on my own, I remember the first time I was out on my own and I was shuffling along and an elderly man passed me, I was so disheartened. The old me would have lapped that elderly man, twice!

I started to walk around 2 – 4 times a week, this become the highlight of my day and even week.  I would look forward to it, it became good for my physical health and mental health. If I could manage a small walk on my struggle day’s, then that was something and something is better than nothing. There were days where I didn’t want to do it though deep down I knew that if I got out into the fresh air I would feel better for it and I always did.

I remember one occasion I was having a bad day, I was feeling down and had no motivation to face my walk. I was mentally struggling and it was late in the afternoon. I thought to myself I need to do this walk today, I got myself together and slowly made my way down to the beach. When I finally got there, I ordered my chai latte, sat down and looked out over the ocean. I was rewarded with the beautiful sight of whales splashing around in the distance. I was so happy and proud that I had made it down, it was such an amazing reward.

After almost a year of this, things got easier and we moved into a different area.  We lived close to some shops that were under a 5 minute walk. I would walk up there, run an errand or two, have a chai latte and sit down then walk back when I was ready. Gradually I didn’t need to sit down and rest, I would find that I would be walking around for 20 – 30 minutes easily.

That’s when I took on a new challenge of walking Snow. We only had her for a few months, after a bit of walking practice around the backyard.  I started to feel comfortable walking her. We started our walks and got into a habit of walking 2 – 3 times a week, walking around a few streets in the area that would take me around 20 – 30 minutes depending on how I was.

When I returned back to work I had to make sure not to push things. Usually when I went for a walk it would be on my days off and the walk would range from 20 – 30 minutes. I took her on longer walks when we would go to the beach, they were always at a strolling pace. Beach walks were good to add in as the terrain is a bit harder to walk on. This helped build strength, we would bring Snow along to the beach and I started off by walking a quarter of the way and then back. Every-time I would go, I would assess how I felt and then turn around and walk back. Eventually after doing this for just over 24 months I made it to the end and back comfortably.

I have managed to build up a solid pace from the shuffle that I use to do back in my earlier days.  I now can complete regular walks weekly ranging from 2 – 5 times a week. I always assess how I am each day and during the week, if it feels like too much then that’s ok, I limit what I do.

I recently completed my first walking event since illness, it was 6 km’s and I completed it in 54 minutes (click here for details). My goal is to complete CITY2SURF I did it back in 2012 and loved it, due to illness I haven’t been able to do it since. It’s 14 km’s, fingers crossed next year is my year for it!!!

I believe walking can help on so many levels, do you enjoy walking or find helpful at all? Have you noticed any progress over time with your walking? I would love to hear all about it!

Lennae xxx

Walking and resting,
Walking and resting.
Snowy and I at the 3k Million Paws walk 2015.
Snow and I at the 3k Million Paws walk 2015.
We love walks when this is the view, East Corrimal, NSW.
We love walks when this is the view, East Corrimal, NSW.
Snowy in her element.
Snow in her element.
Walk selfies at the park.
Walk selfies at the park.

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.

 

Get active with ME!

1

I like to keep active when I can, however living with ME/CFS can limit my activities. The key is all about balancing what you can, when you can!

I think its important to keep active, that may mean changing or limiting your exercise activity to what is suited best for your body and it’s needs. Small movement is better than no movement, our body needs movement to get the blood pumping. There are so many different ways you can incorporate exercise into your day, so here’s a little insight of what I do to get active.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that my pooch Snow Bear likes her walkies! Especially at the beach!

Snow Bear and I like to go for a couple of 30 minute walks a week. If I have the spare energy we might push it a bit longer or even fit in another walk. But we always make sure we hit the beach for a walk, the sea air is so refreshing and does wonders for the soul.

Stretching and yoga is also a huge part of my exercise routine. I make sure I keep this up everyday, the amount of time I spend stretching depends on how my body feels. My stretching time usually ranges from 5 – 30 minutes, incorporating light stretches, restorative yoga and more challenging poses when my energy levels are high. I occasionally attend yoga classes when possible, but mostly my stretching routine is done in my own backyard.

I enjoy my exercise activities, it may not seem like a lot but it can definitely be challenging for me at times. It suits my current lifestyle whilst still pushing and motivating me.

You should always look good and feel comfortable while you’re getting active. If you like the look of my Cheeta Recovery compression tights you can invest in a pair by clicking here. They are great quality and very affordable. Cheeta Recovery cater for men and women, as well as all shapes and sizes. Make sure you use my discount code LWCR05, to get $5 off your purchase. I can assure you they a worth the investment, nothing beats comfortable exercise wear.

What type of activities do you do to keep active?

Namaste

Lennae xxx

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