December 25, 2005 to January 6, 2006

It has been our dream for years to visit the ruins of the magical Incan city of Machu Picchu, and we finally have made it.  Our usual method of visiting a foreign land is to book the flight and land at the airport, Lonely Planet, Eyewitness Travel Guide and other travel books in hand .  We then either rent a car or find lodging and start to make plans on the spot.  To book anything two weeks in advance is "long-term planning", at least in our way of doing things.

So when we decided in September to finally visit Machu Picchu three months in the future it was quite out of character and even more so when we also decided on a packaged tour.  We chose G.A.P. Adventures, a Canadian company that boasted many different tours throughout the not-too-civilized world.  As the title suggests, G.A.P. caters to the backpack crowd and often expects its tour-takers to do much walking. 

We chose a tour that included hiking the famous Inca Trail (3 1/2 days), Machu Picchu (1 day), Amazon jungle (2 days), Cuzco (1 1/2 days) and Lima (2 days) for a total of 10 fun-filled days.  We were both in fabulous physical condition so the Inca Trail did not seem to pose a worrisome challenge.  But then unexpectedly Donna sprained her ankle and Norbert developed an ingrown toenail and we regretfully had to substitute for the hike three days in Cuzco and Aguas Caliente, the town at the base of Machu Picchu.

We had been warned from all our reading that Peru was full of thugs and brigands who were just waiting to murder, or at least, rob us.  And we were also told that during our sojourn in the jungle we could be infected with many fatal or incurable tropical diseases .  I am pleased to report that by virtue of cowering in fear at the approach of any stranger and getting innoculated for everything we avoided these

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Aguascaliente market.



Tropical Diseases!

Waiting for bus up the mountain to Machu Picchu.