After a very busy 4 weeks working during which I learned a lot and met all kinds of amazing patients, it was time to take a break and so here are some trip highlights.
My parents were there for about half the time that John was with us, so we went to Macchu Picchu all together.
We left Coya at 5 AM to take a taxi to Ollantaytambo, where we caught the train to Aguas Calientes, and from there the bus up to Macchu Picchu.
Dad on the train.
We took a tour with a guide who sort of spoke English, though sometimes I ended up translating for the rest of the group when he couldn't figure out how to explain what he wanted to say.
It rained like crazy and we got some fierce looking ponchos. Look how cute my parents are.
Fortunately the rain cleared a little after a couple hours and we got a clear view.
At the Sun Gate.
Hiding out from the rain for a selfie on the walk to the Sun Gate
These clouds would roll in and completely obscure this view for a few minutes, then roll out again and we would have a couple minutes to try to take our pictures. There weren't very many people left because it had been raining for a while, so we were able to walk around pretty unhindered.
After that long day, we warmed up with dinner in Ollantaytambo. Not actually one of our best meals, but this was a pretty good quinoa soup.
After finishing work for the week, on Friday John and I took a night bus from Cuzco to Arequipa. We got in at 6 AM and while our hotel let us leave our bags, we couldn't check in until the afternoon.
John wanted to selfie in the square and I was less than pleased.
When the Cathedral opened at 8 AM we walked through and it was really pretty.
It's called "The White City" because a lot of the historical construction is made from white volcanic rocks.
He finally convinced me to smile for a selfie.
We finally found a place open for breakfast. They didn't have a real coffee maker, but at least we had some instant Nescafe to tide us over.
We hiked up to a lookout over the city.
After that we went to the Monastery. There are still nuns living and working there, and it was incredible how much of the historical artifacts were preserved.
The square at night.
One of my favorite meals was also in Arequipa at ZigZag. I think we paid the equivalent of maybe $15 each for this whole four course meal?
The following day we took a guided tour to Colca Canyon. It's the second deepest in the world (the first deepest is also in Peru). It was gorgeous scenery from start to finish.
The condors catch the jet streams in the canyon and use them to float. We got to see a lot of them and it was really beautiful.
We also got a stinkeye from a llama, so our day was complete.
After a couple nights in Arequipa we caught a bus to Puno, on Lake Titicaca.
Unfortunately at this point in the journey the cough that John had caught from either myself or Dad had really started to cause a lot of congestion and a fever, so we weren't quite as active here. We pretty much just walked around town and went to visit the lake.
Before leaving, we took another bus back to Cuzco and spent a couple nights there. We stayed at the Palacio del Inka, which is a Starwood hotel. We used credit card points so our nights were free.
It's definitely one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in.
When we walked in they took our bags, led us to some couches, got us some tea and then someone came over to check us in.
The first night we had appetizers at a rooftop bar with a gorgeous view.
We hiked up to San Blas and San Cristobal. It was a gorgeous day with quite a view of the city.
We also went to the big market. It was very cool to see all the raw ingredients displayed.
Book sale on the street.
The Temple of the Sun.
Behind John is the grass with the Condor, the Puma and the Serpent which represent the three supernatural worlds.
Walking around the Plaza.
From San Cristobal.
The streets are so cool because they're still constructed from the original Incan rocks. Also that scarf I'm wearing served me really well - it has a pocket that I used for passports and valuables. #pocketscarf
This cafe nearby had good food and more importantly wifi.
It all went by really quickly, and before we knew it we were flying home. By the end of my 5 weeks I had a list of things I missed about home, but there was also so much I loved about being there that I didn't want to end.
I learned a great deal, and one of the best parts was getting the chance to leave town, see how it's done in other places and take a step back from the day to day of my program.
Now I'm just about done with this month of wards - 2 nights left. After that I go to the Emergency Room, and after that it's 3rd year.
I can't believe how fast it goes.
Hoping to write again soon.
Thanks for reading, see you soon.