Machu Picchu

Mom woke me up at 4:30, I did NOT want to get up. I was thinking in my head: “We’re going to Machu Picchu- wake up, wake up.” But I’m the kinda girl that needs a lot of sleep. I finally got up feeling half awake, half miserable, and half really excited (I know, I know, my math’s all wrong). We got our stuff together went down stairs in the hotel to go eat the bread, jam, and ham breakfast (of course not all together). Then we got up, left the hotel and started walking the short way to the bus station.The night before, we stayed in Aguas Calientes, a very touristy, expensive, little town situated below Machu Picchu. Our dinner that night was terrible pizza topped with what was supposed to be garlic (I felt very sick the day after). Anyway, in the morning, we walked down a street, crossed a bridge and we were at the bus station. We had gotten the bus tickets to Machu Picchu the night before (which I really recommend, because if you do it the day of you’ll be waiting for a very long time) and got straight in line for the buses to Machu Picchu (which come about every 10 minutes). We boarded the bus and started the journey (which was terrifying for mom, and so cool for me) to Machu Picchu. The bus ride was twisty and beautiful and kinda scary.
I’m not gonna share any of the pictures from the bus ride because they’re all blurry, but the bus ride consisted of very beautiful views, mountains, rivers, terrifying cliffs that you’re about to fall off, things like that. We then rolled up to the entrance of Machu Picchu. A hotel is situated right by the gates, which is a bummer because when you start climbing up, up, up, and up you can see it in your view, but it must be really nice to stay there, waking up to see a view of the surrounding mountains. Anyway, we got in the long line to get into Machu Picchu. Surprisingly,  the line moved pretty fast, we were soon in.

The whole reason for waking up early was to see the sun rise, so we walked up to the Sun Gate (where people often take the pictures of Machu Picchu for post cards). Usually it takes an hour or two to get there and we got there in seventeen minutes. Mom just happened to  “forget ” to tell me that fact. I have to admit though that it was pretty magical to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu. We sat down at the Sun Gate  for a while soaking it all in. After about thirty minutes we headed down.

We started walking around in the ruins of Machu Picchu. It was pretty cool- we were walking where Incas might have walked. It was pretty magical. After a while of walking around we decided to sit in the grass. We sat on one of the many terraces (which were used for growing crops during the time of the Incas), looking around at the alpacas (the only reason the alpacas are there is because they ‘mow’ the grass), the surrounding mountains, and the ruins of Machu Picchu behind us. I can’t really explain what it was like to be there. We were starting to feel a little toasty in the sun so we walked around some more, looking at the way all the stones fit perfectly together, hearing all the birds flying over our heads, feeling the sense of magic, tasting the fresh air, and smelling the freshly ‘mowed’ grass.

We sat down again to eat our snack, but was kindly asked not to sit on the wall that we were sitting on, so we got up and started walking again. We came to an alpaca. It was right next to a guy who was sitting on a bench thing (it wasn’t really a bench, it was more of a big stone that you can sit on) paying no attention to the alpaca (who was eating from a little patch of grass right next to the guy) and the alpaca was paying no attention to the him. On the other hand there were about three people taking turns sitting next to the alpaca taking pictures, the alpaca got sick of that and started walking straight towards me and mom, we started walking away to not be in its way but it kept following us finally we walked into a room (well it wasn’t really a room, it was really four stone walls with no roof) filled with so many people that we couldn’t be in there anymore without going nuts so we started walking to the door slowly and stuck our head out, the alpaca was a couple feet away eating grass. A women said to us “They won’t hurt you, you know.” Me and mom laughed we knew that but it was still pretty alarming to see this fully grown alpaca walking towards us with his teeth sticking out.

 

I was starting to feel pretty tired (we did walk up at 4:30) so we decide to walk slowly towards the exit. I felt pretty sad to be leaving for some reason. I looked back one more time and then it was gone. “If you ever have children, you have to promise me that you’ll bring me and them to Machu Picchu.” Mom paused “And you’ll pay too.” She said as an after thought. “Sure.” I said.

 

Pictures from Machu Picchu

Pictures from Machu Picchu

Iceland

Hi!!!!!!!!

It’s me!!!!!!!!

Ok, let me start off by saying that I feel like a a new person. I feel like I can do anything and everything now.

When we arrived in Iceland I kept saying to myself that this is a dream. I couldn’t believe that I was actually in Iceland! But I had the stamp on my passport to prove it. I was like WOW, and WOW is right! Iceland is beautiful and wonderful and brilliant. Iceland isn’t what Iceland sounds like at all, it isn’t icy, it’s cooler then lets say Portugal or Spain it’s about 50 degrees fahrenheit, and also it’s again beautiful. The lava fields and the grass and the mountains that you can see from every surrounding. Ok, enough of that.

Instead of renting a hotel room or a hostel we rented an apartment on AirBnB which is a site where you can rent apartments, houses, etc, all over the world. So we rented an apartment but we rented one with the person that owned it there, the person (named Halla) was very nice. She is a healer and a tour guide, she offers tours to people that stay with her for some money. So when we got there she had breakfast waiting for us and after that she gave me a healing and sent us both to bed, for we were very tired, as Iceland is four hours ahead then NYC. When we woke up we went to a swimming pool near by with hot tubs a saltwater pool and a sauna. It was very nice then we walked along the water back to her house (did I mention that her place is right next to the water?) When we got back Halla gave my mom a healing and we talked about what we wanted to do the next day, I would tell you but your about to read that part! After the talk we went to bed.

Me next to the water close to our apartment.

When we woke up the next morning we went to a small piece of land attached to Iceland with a big line of rocks and on the piece of land (Grotta) there is a light house. But Grotta is closed because it is matting season for the birds and they are a little aggressive, which was a bummer. We figured that out we kept walking till we came to a golf course and it was beautiful all the birds and it was right next to the water. When we were walking around the golf course all the birds were squawking at us because they had there nest there and one bird came soooooo close to us I thought it was going to poop on our heads! When we finished the walk around the golf course we walked to the city center of Reykjavik and saw the beautiful church.

Grotta… Beautiful right!

I think the church is beautiful and unique because the way the sides of the church look like stairs.

The church

After that we ate at this tiny seafood resturant and had lobster bisque, and we learned that Icelanders eat a certain kind of whale called minke whale, their side of the story is that there are 250,000 minke whales surrounding Iceland and that we are underusing the resource. I think that killing any beautiful animal isn’t right. I think that eating chicken isn’t right or eating lamb any kind of animal but whatever.

An Icelandic drink called Malt, tastes sooooo good!

Then we walked home and  got ready to go caving, hiking up a mountain, and going into hot springs. So we got ready dressed well brought bathing suits did everything we needed to do and left (did I mention that Halla is going to be our tour guide for this?). Then we got into Halla’s car and drove to the middle of nowhere in a sea of a huge lava field, then we got out and walked a while till Halla said “Here we are!” We looked down and saw an opening to a cave we put on helmets with lights on the front and climbed down into the dark cave.

The opening to the cave. SO COOL!!!!!

The cave was amazing! It was dark and low ceilings and it was completely quiet (we couldn’t talk because if we did there was a risk that rocks could drop from the ceilings) except for the sounds of water dripping from the ceilings. We walked and we climbed down things then we were at the end.

Going in!

Coming out!

Then Halla said “Now for the second cave!”

The second cave!

Going in!

In the cave! AWESOME!!!!! Right?

This cave had three levels we walked through the first level and then we came to a rope to the second level and Halla said “You can use this or you can use a ladder.”

The rope… (I tried it).

Or the ladder?

The second level that the ladder went to.

We all decided to use the ladder because the rope looked hard, we walked a little bit more and came to the wooden ladder that was missing a step and situated in a mountain of ice. Halla went up and I started to go up next, it was going fine until I got to the missing step. See, I am only 10, so I don’t have long legs as my mom or a grown up, I tried to get up but I couldn’t then my mom said I could put my foot on her hand so I did and put my knee on the next step but then I had no way to get up to the next step so I decided to go down because I started to freak out and it was beyond my comfort level but then I couldn’t get down so my mom brought me down. So anyway I didn’t get to the second and third level but it was fun and I tried my best. Then we went back to the entrance of the cave and walked back to the car.

Walking back to the car. Looks like were in front of a green screen right?

Taking a break at the car to drink hot chocolate and to eat Icelandic food!

Drinking hot chocolate with Halla

We drove to the mountain Reykjadular and stopped on the way to go into a gas station to put on our bathing suits (because we were going to a hot spring) and then drove a little bit more till we got to the parking lot, put backpacks on our backs and then started climbing Reykjadular.

The drive there. WOW!

We went up and up and up it was sort of tiring but as most people know I don’t get tired easily.

View on the hike

More view!

After a while of walking and sort of climbing we got to a part of the mountain were the path was a foot long it was slanted down and it was gravel and after the path it went straight down. So we went single file holding each other’s hands and slipping, if you read my moms blog post called Reykjadular, smoke valley, Iceland then you know that my mom thought we were about to die. I was fine, I just couldn’t look down. When we over that part we started seeing hot springs (again you can see more info about it on my moms post about Iceland) but the hot springs were over 2,000 degrees and mist that smelled like sulfur was floating over it so we could NOT take a bath in that. We even saw a hot spring (if you can even call it that) that was so hot that it was clay and it was bubbling! SO COOL! Then we got to hot springs that were safe enough to take a bath in so we got to one that seemed warm enough and to our liking and took a bath. Let me tell you only one thing it was AMAZING! The water was warm and clean and we had a beautiful view of the mountains surrounding us, it was one of the most amazing things ever! When my mom looked at the time it was 12:00 AM Icelandic time! And we had to leave at 4:00AM for the airport! So we had to leave the hot spring 😦 and head back. We got to the car went to a gas station and got a hot dog. Now the Icelandic hotdog is a specialty and it is very good, I have no idea what was on it but it was amazing! If you go to Iceland you have to try the Icelandic hotdog! We got back into the car (in the car Halla told us that Icelanders don’t go on the hike that we just went on, and she also told us that no kids my age ever go into the cave, so I felt very proud)  and went back to the house I slept for an hour and we packed and then we left.

THE END

So anyway, Iceland is amazing. You have to go there… You HAVE to go there! And let’s say you’re going to Paris and you want to first go to Iceland. Icelandair has a great deal where it’s cheaper if you go to Iceland and then go to Paris. Awesome, right?! That’s why we went in the first place and I’m glad we did!

Planning to go on the road

Picture by Kevin Jones

Me and my mom have always wanted to go on a long trip. One day we were staying in the house all day and I was wondering what she was doing on the computer. I asked her and she told me that she was looking at a blog and reading about a family who was on the road. She told me that she also  wanted to go on the road. At first I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but after a while I started thinking that would be pretty cool! My mom told me that if we really do go on a road trip we would probably go next year.

I am so excited! I would want to go to Italy.  I know a women from Italy and she has a very strong accent and she loves avocados!  And I mean she really loves them. She has them for breakfast, brunch, snack, lunch and dinner. She is one of the best people I know! She is funny and she laughs a lot and I’m in a good mood when I’m around her.  I love her so much!

If we do go on a road trip I would also want to go to India and ride an elephant and wear a sari. I know a girl named Reshma Zadda and she is about the same age as me. She was born in India but now she lives in Chicago.  She LOVES icecream- she just loves it!

 The only thing that I would not like about a long trip would be riding in a car. See, I get car sickness and it doesn’t feel good. I also feel sick on planes.  I actually don’t have many good travel options because I get sick in cars, planes, trains and buses. Maybe I wouldn’t get sick on an elephant.  I can’t wait for the Road Trip!  I really hope we do it!  Mom says we’re going to have to do some fund raising and work really hard so that it can happen.