Travel Journal Entry, Part 1


Every now and then I face the unwelcome task of retrieving an item from the back of the closet. The good news is that I often find something that I wasn't looking for, but am glad that I saved -- like a stack of my travel journals. I thought I'd share a few entries on GUTSY as part of a series.

While my photos tend to remind me of a beautiful, optimistic trip, the journals remind me of the hard details, costs, and discomforts encountered. I'm glad I have both.


Aguas Calientes --> Cusco, Peru

Another early day. We've been traveling really hard. We caught the train back to Cusco (1st class again; 25 sol or $8) but this time we weren't guaranteed seats and didn't get them until about 2.5 hours into our trip. It was the craziest, most crowded train I've ever been on.

It was so packed. And again everyone had an incredible amount of baggage. I felt a little sick because we were close to the bathroom and vendors were continuously bring food through the aisles making it difficult to stand. They also sell to you through the windows of the train: water, pop, chokla (big-kernaled corn), empanadas (like calzones), tamales, fruit, bread, etc.

A woman near me had put about 20 papayas on the luggage rack overhead and when the trian lurched, they fell on her head. Ow! To get all her papayas and other stuff off the train, she passed it out of the windows to waiting relatives. It was a pretty miserable trip over all, but we made it.

We arrived in Cusco and found a hotel which was pretty low-end. Very dirty. The bathroom was really gross and the bed was made out of cotton rags. But it was really cheap. We headed out to the cathedral in a "bus", which was privately-owned and looked like a Toyota mini-van. It was packed.

There were some beautiful paintings in the cathedral like a Last Supper featuring guinea pig as the main dish (a very popular entree in Peru). Also a crucifixtion by Van Eyck (supposedly a masterpiece... but there was little documentation). Next was another harrowing but cheap bus ride (.5 sol or 15 cents) to Sachsayhunan, an old fort and ceremonial ground. These ruins were very different from Macchu Pichu with beautiful zigzag walls.

We walked down to the center of the city, Plaza des Armes (I'm told most Peruvian cities have them) and had dinner at a pollo restaurant which was kind of like a fast food joint. We each got 1/4 chicken, fried potatoes and salad for 5 sol or about $1.50.

Little sleep at the hotel -- loud and cold and a very uncomfortable bed.

Rusty Mitchell, Aug 15 2005 11:29PM

Wow, thanks for encouraging me to travel more.

mark, Aug 19 2005 10:08AM

lap of luxury.

reminds me of a time in milan at a 1/2 star "hotel." instead of having frosted glass in the room door they had replaced it with wrapping paper. the door locked however. the bathtub drain had an awkward habit of bubbling over every time i flushed the toilet. wore shoes everytime i bathed.

sue, Aug 23 2005 8:42PM

Did the fact that it was cheap or exotic make it any more bearable while you were there or would you have paid $20 a night for a comfy bed?

sandie, Aug 24 2005 4:25PM

honestly, i would have paid more for a few comforts. i had enough exotic adventures during the day to make me long for a comfy bed and clean bathroom at night. in the small cities we visited there wasn't an option of a nicer hotel and in the large cities nice accomodations were quite expensive.