I´m in Peru! Ok I´ve been here for over two weeks, but I haven´t had much interent time. First I arrived in Lima for a quick stop before flying to Cuzco. Hopefully we will have time to actually see Lima at the end because all I saw was the hostel. I went to Cuzco a few days before our scheduled Machu Pichu hike so I could get used to the altitude. Its really high there, about 11,000 ft and it took some getting used to, so I was glad I arrived early. Eric and his parents then came and we started our four day trek to Machu Pichu on the Inca trail. It was the four of us plus 5 people from Argentina in our group, which was fun, though we split up a lot and basically had our own guide for a lot of it. The trail was great, that mountains are beautiful and we leaned a lot about Inca culture from our guide. We had porters to carry most of our stuff and a cook, it was fancy and fun. It rained the last day and we were worried we wouldn´t get any good view of Machu Pichu, but the clouds lifted in the end and the view was great. After our tour of the Machu Pichu we went to the hot springs in Augas Calientes, which was great after the long hike.
After heading back to Cuzco on the train, we spend one more day there. We went to the Inca Museum to get some more perspective on Inca society and also went to this crazy dance-play that night that was pretty fun. Eric´s parents then headed up north while Eric and I flew to Puerto Maldanado which is right by the jungle. We signed up for a 5 day 4 night jungle lodge tour that was pretty awesome. You had to get to the lodge by boat and each day we did different boat rides or hikes. It rained some, but not too much so that was good. We saw a lot of really cool animals, birds and plants including monkeys, toucans, macaws, a baby anaconda, it was great. We decided that maybe 5 days was one too many, but the lodge was really nice with cute little bungalows and hammocks which was fun.
Then back to Cuzco, but we went straight to the bus station and took a bus to Puno which is right on lake Titicaca. Puno is a nice little town where we spend a day getting used to the altitude all over again, haha. Its even a bit higher up then Cuzco. The next day we did a tour of some of the island on the lake. We have been doing a lot of tours, but sometimes its the only was to actually see things. The islands were crazy, first we stopped on one that is called a floating island. The people who live there were trying to get a way from the Spanish and they build island out of reeds from the lake to live on. The use the reeds for everything including building houses and boats and to eat. Plus they fish and now have some tourism, it was pretty cool so see. We went to two other islands both which are fairly isolated and have their own cultures. It was really interesting and we stayed with a family on one one of the nights. I was worried about getting veggie food with the family, but it turns out they almost never eat meat so it worked out really well. The food in Peru has been good, sometimes not tons of veggie options but lots of fresh fruit and there is always something good that is veggie. Yesterday we took the bus to Arequipa which is the second biggest city in Peru. We spend today wandering around a huge old monetary that was really nice. Next we are going to try to see Colca Canyon and then start heading back to Lima!