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Of course this post would start with food pictures!

My 10 year anniversary with my husband is actually tomorrow.  We wanted to take a big trip without the kids, just the two of us this year to really celebrate such a big milestone.  We had originally thought of going to an all inclusive beach resort but changed our mind and decided to knock off one of our bucket list trips.  Peru!  Both of us have wanted to go to Peru and Machu Picchu for a while now.  When I was delivering my first child almost 8 years ago, my dad was in the middle of a month long trip to Peru.  Thankfully, he was able to help us plan everything out with ease.  Its crazy how much living you can fit in to a week long trip and how many things you can experience.  There was so many things we saw and experienced during this trip but I will just share some of the highlights.  These photos are a mix of iphone pictures and my professional camera pictures.  I tried to just live in the moment more and it wasn’t always the safest place to pull out my camera.

We started in Lima.  After a full night of flying we arrived in Lima excited and ready to go.  Our first stop was the market to get some of that famous ceviche that Peru is so well known for.  We pulled up a seat at one of the many food stalls in the market and enjoyed our first taste of Peru.

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After leaving the market, we saw a street vendor with some antichucos.  I am not always the most adventurous of eaters but I made a decision to try all the things while I was here.  The plate above is skewered beef hearts and intestines and boy were they good.

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We walked around the city and went to the main center of town called the Plaza de Armas.  Most of the cities we went to had something very similar to this.  Beautiful old buildings and architecture.

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These bicycle things with big baskets for transporting people and items were all over the place.  I saw 4 young kids being transported on one in the midst of crazy Lima traffic.

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My first pisco sour of the trip and it was amazing.  I love Pisco sours and couldn’t wait to get them at every place I went.  I also felt safer drinking those then many of the other drinks.  Peru isn’t a place you want to drink the water, unless its bottled.  Me and my husband Dave figured that out the hard way.

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Our first hotel.  It was freakin hot in Lima.  High 80’s with 95% humidity.  Way hotter then we expected.  We had to look up the word for fan in spanish and call down to the office and luckily they had one to give us or else I don’t think we would have slept through the night.  The word is “ventilador” in case you were wondering.  We woke up the next morning and my faithfully mormon husband wanted to go to church in Peru so he did.  After, we headed to Miraflores.

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Miraflores was super nice and looked like a typical California beach town.  We went to a place called Larco Mar and it was the fanciest place we visited.

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Even though most taxi rides cost us only $1-$2 we did a lot of walking.  There is an ancient pyramid structure right in the center of Lima.  In that first picture you can see it just pops up in the middle of the street.  This structure pre-dates the Incans.

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After visiting the pyramid, we went to La Mar for what was supposed to be the best ceviche in town.  It was pretty amazing.  We had tiradito which is similar to sashimi with a Japanese influence.  We also had our first taste of Mate de Coca (Tea made of Coca Leaves)  In Lima altitude wasn’t an issue though.

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Anytime we sat down to eat we had to do research and take advantage of the Wi Fi they had at the restaurant because or phones did not work well at all.  Dave found that there was a museum exhibit with the works of famous photographer Mario Testino.  We learned that he is from Peru and had some of his fashion work on display as well as some of the photos he took of the natives.

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After being in awe of Mario’s work, we headed to a beach town of Barranco.  It was a super cute town with adorable streets that took you down the cliffs to get to the beach.  We enjoyed our one and only sunset watch with a bunch of other Peruvian people.

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I mentioned before that Lima traffic was crazy and I was not exagerating.  It is mainly one way roads with about 4-5 lanes of just insane driving.  The cars and buses get so close to each other and there is honking all around.  I am always super nervous riding or driving in cars.  This was so beyond anything I have experienced that all I could do was laugh and try not to worry.  Some of these taxis we rode in were pretty broke down and didn’t have seat belts.  Many times, our taxi driver did not know where our hotel was or where the street was that it was on.  We had a little map, it wasn’t that helpful, but this image above is our taxi driver pulled off on the side of a crazy busy street trying to read the map from the light of his one working headlight.

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After many flight delays, we finally arrived in Cusco, my favorite city of the whole trip.  Peruvian airlines was no beuno, they rescheduled our flights and caused us to sit in the airports for many hours, so don’t use them.  We checked into our hotel called Mamma Cusco.  The photo above is a view of the city from the roof top terrace.  Pappa Cusco was super helpful and we really enjoyed that hotel.  Cusco is when the altitude got crazy.  Getting off the plane you could feel it immediately.  We went to go eat and of course I got a Pisco Sour and a Mate de Coca.  We also ate a Guinea Pig (Cuy) at this restaurant.  Those photos are on my husband’s phone.  The tea didn’t really help either of us at all, I had a super bad headache.  We went on the hunt for some Coca leaves because supposedly they work better but you have to get this ash stuff that helps make it more effective.  We found the leaves at all the stores but no ash, apparently you could only get it at the market.  The next day we found it and it made the world of difference.  The altitude is crazy and there are so many stairs and hills and you are just out of breath for the first few days.  Unless I was chewing coca leaves I had a headache and didn’t feel well.  The leaves don’t make you high or anything, they are not cocaine.  If you ever go, do yourself a favor and get some pronto.

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The picture above is one of the many streets in Cusco.  The stone bricks on the right are from the Incan times.  Most of the streets and buildings in the part of town that we were in all had the original foundations from the Incans.  Pretty cool to just walk and touch these ancient stones.

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I freakin love Alpacas!  They are so dang cute.  There are plenty of ladies in traditional clothing with their pet Alpacas that are posted up on the corners ready to take a photo for some money.  It was worth it!  Some of them had baby goats that they tried to act like were alpacas.  They are so soft and well behaved, I want an alpaca farm now.

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I love taking pictures on vacation of the various sites, but my favorite thing to photograph is always people.  Portraits are my fav.  You are supposed to give them money if you take a photo or we asked this lady above after we bought a necklace.  I love all the colors and everything about the way they dress and look.  I could have spent all my money just paying people to take photos of them.

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There was 2 random parades on a regular week day in the middle of the afternoon when we were there.

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See that baby animal above?  Goat, not Alpaca, but they still looked pretty dang cool.

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We set up a tour to visit 4 Incan ruins in Cusco.  It ended up being the heaviest rain of the whole trip.  We went to saqsaywaman first.  It was pretty huge and lots of stuff to see but it was raining hard and I couldn’t take much in the way of pictures.  Lots of ponchos everywhere.

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We visited several other ruins that day as well as an Alpaca factory where they make the various garments and scarfs etc.  Super fun but super wet.

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That interesting looking motorcycle taxi thingy above, they were all over, especially in the smaller towns.  We rode one.

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Our next stop was Ollantaytambo.  Much smaller town with a quieter vibe.  The day we arrived there was a double rainbow as we sat outside for lunch.

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In the photo above we are outside of the ruins at Ollantaytambo.  We got there an hour before it was going to close and didn’t go in.  It looked amazing, but entry fees get expensive, so we decided against it.  We could see the ruins from our hotel window though.  Almost as big as Machu Picchu.  So many things to see everywhere you look.

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In the photo above, just my husband walking down the street with the Andes mountains surrounding us, no big deal.

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Lots of dogs everywhere.

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Selfi on the train to Machu Picchu, we were so excited.  We brought a selfie stick but it broke and we didn’t get much good use out of it.  The train ride was about an hour and a half through the Andes mountains.  You could just stare out the window for days.

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Above is the sight as you exit the train in Aguas Calientes.  You then take a bus for 30 minutes all the way up a mountain to get to Machu Picchu.  That bus ride was terrifying.  You go up so high and the bus is wobbly and there are huge drop offs just outside the window.  But, it was worth it, to see this…

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It was so weird to actually be there, very surreal.  Being at a place that you have seen in so many photos and looks so amazing.

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My little stinker of a husband surprised me with a poem that he had written me for our anniversary.  He had it laminated in case it rained.  I was completely surprised.  We had sat down in this perfect little grass area with a great view and then he pulled this out of his bag.  I will never forget that moment.

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Lamas!  Although Alpacas are way fluffier and cuter, the Lamas were pretty cool too.  They were stealing everyone’s food.  People were trying to feed them grass and they were like nope, give me your hot dog buns.

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Dave got a little freaked out when one tried to steal his snack.

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On the way out they have a stamp for you to stamp in your passport to commemorate your trip to Machu Picchu.

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In pretty much all my photos I have a coca cheek.

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Our favorite restaurant in Cusco called Marcelo Batata.  We ate their twice and it was the first time we tried Alpaca.  They are just as delicious as they are cute.  The second night we sat on the terrace upstairs overlooking the whole city.  Pretty fancy.

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On our last day we went to the market in Lima and got a big old bag of my absolute favorite fruit, the Cape Gooseberry.

The trip was amazing, I am so thankful that we were able to go and experience such an amazing place.

XO-Jamie

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