How to make lemonade from a 7-Hour Layover in London

It turns out that the old adage of “When life gives you lemons…” comes in quite handy when your Norwegian Air direct flight from LAX to Barcelona gets cancelled. I chose not to allow this minor bump to put a damper on my trip (I did after all purchase a super cheap budget flight!) and chose to forego a bump to the same flight two days later. Instead, I decided to take the non-direct option the following day, that included a 7-hour layover in London. I had no idea what (if anything) I would be able to see in that amount of time, but I was willing to find out!

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Pisac

The town of Pisac (Pisaq) is one of my favorite places in the Sacred Valley.  I fell in love with Pisac the first time I came five years ago, and have fallen more in love with it ever since. It’s about 45 minutes from Cusco city and about 15 minutes from Casa De Milagros. Pisac is known for its amazing ruins, and for its popular artisan market. The entire town is lined with ancient Inca agricultural terraces that are still in use today, and the ruins provide an impressive backdrop to the town below. I’ve visited the ruins about 3 times, and there is still so much more for me to see and learn…

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Qoyllurit’i: My Magical Journey to the Lord of the Snow

Preface

Two years ago, when I was living in Cusco from end of May to end of August, I was lucky enough to experience the full force of Cusco’s most festive months. June and July are filled with celebrations of Andean and Spanish origin; most of which are a unique and fascinating hybrid of both. I was in the throes of Corpus Cristi festivities when a local musician friend told me he was heading to Qoyllurit’i that next morning, and asked if I wanted to join him. I had never heard of it, and as he began to tell me more about this spiritual pilgrimage, I grew more and more curious.

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Spring Updates & New Beginnings

Last November, I went back to Peru for my grandmother’s 80th birthday. It was my first time back in over a year, and it was a full two weeks of mostly family, but also a short but sweet visit back to Casa and the kids.

As usual, leaving Peru was very hard, but that time it felt even harder. I really felt like I was leaving behind where I was supposed to be…when I got back I had a very clear message that I needed to go back – not just to visit, but to begin building a life there. Ever since I can remember, I have dreamed of having a life in both worlds; a lifestyle that allowed me to divide my time between Peru and the states. My trip to Peru 3 years ago planted a very big seed, and I came back from that trip being very clear about the 3 things I needed in order to make my dream happen: acquire my citizenship, finish my college degree, and build a virtual business that I could run from anywhere in the world…Check, check, and pretty much check ;-) Read More

5 Reasons I Love Cusco

Oh Cusco how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

1. The Energy!

Whether you are in the city, or in the Sacred Valley – the energy of this land is palpable.  It is called the Sacred Valley for a reason.  There is something about being high above in the Andes, 13,000 feet above sea level, nestled amidst these huge, magical mountains…it’s a power… and a closeness to God that I’ve never felt before. Or maybe it’s just the oxygen deprivation…;-/

One of the Breathtaking views of the Valley

2. The Beauty

Everywhere I look it is a Kodak moment (hence the 500 photos I have taken on this trip thus far).  The drive between Cusco and the Casa through the Sacred Valley can start to wear on one’s body after awhile – particularly when you do it too many times in a week.  But when I start to feel worn down – I remind myself where I am, and take a moment to stop along the roadway to soak in the glorious scenery…and I suddenly feel so much better ;-) Read More

The Road to Abancay

My crazy Irish friend, Aiden, decided we needed to take a road trip. So we decided to head out of Cusco and to the state of Apurimac, to the town of Abancay. I knew very little about this region of Peru, but Aiden had heard about some great ruins and a natural preserve that were supposed to be pretty cool.

So off we went…The adventure started with us getting a bus ticket at the Cusco terminal – which has now been moved to very far outside of town…we finally found it, and got the last ticket for the day aboard a double decker tour bus.  We braced ourselves for an always-exciting bus ride through the Peruvian Andes. Despite the constant fear for my life – I couldn’t help but be in awe at the amazing beauty of the scenery. I had never driven so far out of Cusco – the ride was four hours of winding down the Andes and one visual splendor after another… Read More

Inti Raymi 2010

I have dreamt of being in Cusco for Inti Raymi for many years, and it is surreal that I am here now! For those who don’t know, Inti Raymi, or “Festival of the Sun” is a week-long festival that culminates on the Winter Solstice, and marks the start of their new year.  The Inca worshipped the Sun as their main God, so both the summer and winter solstice were very important times of the year – in particular the winter. Read More

I LOVE NEW YORK!!

I finally made it to New York City!! It was everything I dreamed of and more…can’t even put into words. It’s New York baby!! I knew I would love it, but I think part of me was a little afraid – I am a Cali girl after all! :-)

But once I arrived there, I felt strangely right at home. I felt like I just fit right in – and felt totally…empowered. I spent a lot of the trip sightseeing on my own, and didn’t feel afraid whatsoever. I was especially impressed by my subway maneuvering skills…no sweat. Actually, I lie…lots of sweat – it’s frickin hot down there!

I think what I loved more than anything was that there are so many different kinds of people – from every walk of life, all sharing the same space. Not even San Francisco is as diverse…there are silos here that don’t exist in NYC. People and life in New York are so real…so raw. It’s awesome and so refreshing. The history and culture there were incredible. It felt like Deja Vu everytime I turned around – so many sights captured in scenes from movies – I felt like I had been there before!

5 days flew by – definitely not enough time, but still fabulous and more than I could have dreamed. I did very little “touristy” things, but prefer it that way. I was able to see all of the people I wanted to see – and I got to see a lot of different parts of the city – not just Manhattan. Here are some of my highlights:

1. Blockheads $3 Frozen Margaritas w/my man Daron in Hell’s Kitchen
2. Movin’ on up to the Upper East Side and reminiscing on old times w/ Krissi
3. Times Square and Grand Central Station
4. Pancas Peruvian Restaurant w/ Mr. Cugo in Greenwhich Village
5. Expertly navigating the Subway – and the incredible people watching to be had there ;-)
6. A night out in Fort Greene w/ D and Laurie
7. World Trade Center Site…unforgettable.
8. Stroll from the Financial District through SOHO, West Village, Greenwhich Village
9. Maracas Margaritas and catch up time w/ my girl Sonal
10. CENTRAL PARK Bike Carriage Tour
11. Dinner Party with D and her cool ass peeps in Fort Greene, Brooklyn
12. A bike ride tour of Brooklyn and Prospect Park
13. A glimpse at the Beautiful side of Queens with my man Christopher – and a bomb margarita! 14. Barely making my plane and getting a seat in FIRST CLASS. WHAT!!! ;-)

Like I said – not everything I wanted to do, but more than enough to make me fall in love… I have decided that I must live there at least once in my life – putting it out in the universe and very sincere about making it happen! Click Here to see my Pics!

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