Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Celebrating Christmas in San Diego

Buenos dias! As you can see, uploading Peru footage has been slow... sorting through 7,000 pictures and ??GBs of video is daunting and the holidays have us in a very laid back mood. We meant to do some serious sorting through Peru pix last weekend but we got caught up in our Christmas'ing! On Friday, it took me 3 hours to get to San Diego. It was raining and I had left LA at 4:15pm. I was tired from the drive and not in the mood to cook so we picked up DiGiorno and White Castle sliders. Ignas added fresh bell peppers and mushrooms to the pizza and it came out very yummy.

Kate O Sessions Memorial Park
For breakfast, we ate pumpkin bread and cream cheese spread that I had made earlier in the week (delicious!). Then, we made our way to Kate O Sessions park. The sky was beautiful, the clouds were fluffy and the air was crisp... just a typical December day in San Diego :)

I'm fascinated by how scary I look. Jumping picture fail.
Next, we headed over to Ocean Beach to walk around and eat. We took pictures and ate lunch at Hodad's, which claims to have the World's Best Burger. It was pretty damn good. We got a single bacon cheeseburger (YUM), a chocolate malt (soo good), fries (amazing), tuna sandwich (meh). While walking around town, we stopped by two stores that were exactly me and Ignas. The first store was a seashell/ocean-decor store - Ignas was in love. He bought a few sea stars and some other beach stuff. He was inspired to decorate his apt more after hanging out in there. Then.. we passed by an old school video game store!! Oh my goodness, they had Atari and a classic NES, a SNES, Sega Genesis, Gamecube, Dreamcast, N64, Xbox, arcade machines... I didn't want to leave. So nostalgic being in there! On the other hand, Ignas was more entertained by my excitement than anything in the store haha.

Our first time ice skating together!
Saturday evening was spent walking around Coronado, cooking Christmas dinner, and watching Christmas movies! For dinner, we made lasagna (the best lasagna I've ever had) and beef stew. The first thing we did on Sunday was head over to Best Buy to pick up a new cell phone for Ignas. It took forever and I got antsy so Ignas agreed to go ice skating next. I found one of those holiday-outdoor rinks in Gaslamp and it was so much fun! It was cold and drizzling but that added to the holiday spirit! We headed over to Cremolose for dessert, snacks, and tea. Then, we made our way to the USS Miday to watch the San Diego Bay boat parade! After, we drove to Clairemont and walked through a neighborhood decked out in Christmas lights.

Click here for more pictures from our Christmas weekend! Feliz Navidad!

So up until now, we haven't been adding captions to the pictures in our photo gallery but I think for 2013, we'll be putting them in. Actually, I already started with the pictures from our San Diego Christmas :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Peru Itinerary

The first blog I wanted to write when I got back home was our itinerary. I planned on creating a similar map to the one I made for the Costa Rica itinerary. But let's be honest, my work in Adobe Acrobat isn't that cool. I figured that there has to be some kind of itinerary/map-maker somewhere on the internet... and voila! I stumbled upon Tripline.

Tripline is basically an interactive map. I've only spent about half an hour playing with it but so far, it's awesome. Check out the itinerary I made below. From what I've seen, you can get really creative with this thing: animate your traveling on the map, upload pictures from your trip, import check-ins from your Foursquare, and of course, share your maps with your friends and family.

Once I spend more time exploring Tripline's features, I will probably write another blog on it. For now, here is the itinerary that me and Ignas did while in Peru! The map is not an image! It's a video! Don't forget to PRESS PLAY in the top right corner. :)

If you zoom out on the map below, you'll see that we only got to spend time in southern Peru. We were sad that we couldn't include any northern destinations, especially Ignas since there's really good surfing there.  

We were debating on including Lake Titicaca or the Amazon but we decided not to do either. We felt that we would lose too much time traveling and we didn't want to exhaust ourselves by constantly moving. Although we really only visited the regions of Arequipa, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley, we were happy that we had as much time as we did. And as always, we also wished we had more time at each place! There was just so much to see and do!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hola Los Angeles

Plaza de Armas - Cusco, Peru
We're back home and I'm sad to report that I'm sick. My invincible boyfriend, on the other hand, is on an extended vacation due to an incoming swell and all of the waves coming with it. So while I stayed home sick today, he went surfing this morning before work! Then again, I just finished making the best congee in the world and I'm uploading pictures from the S95 so I guess things aren't so bad.

Santa Catalina Monastery - Arequipa, Peru
Peru was definitely an experience I will never forget: breathtaking landscapes, delectable cuisine, friendly people, and a culture overflowing with history and pride. Looking back, I'm really happy with the itinerary we choose. I felt that it gave us enough time to see all of the touristy attractions in each region we visited while embracing a bit of the local daily life.

Colca Canyon, Peru
In comparison to Costa Rica, I would say that Peru is NOT relaxing. There's just too much to immerse yourself in. In Peru, I wished that my stomach was bigger so I could eat more of the delicious food. I wished that I had more muscle and stamina to trek through the mountain ranges and valleys. I wished that I paid more attention during my college art classes to have a deeper understanding of the art and architecture. And of course, I wish we had more time. We barely scratched the surface with our 2 weeks.

Machu Picchu, Peru
I hope to upload pictures and blogs as soon as I can. Ignas will too, he promised! (Writing that in here as insurance ;) Thank you Peru for an unforgettable experience!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ciao Peru!

We are at Lima airport right now, hanging out at a Starbucks. We will both miss Peru so much! What an awesome trip!! We aren't a tired as we look in this picture. We stayed at a beautiful hotel/home last night called Second Home Peru and it was probably the most charming place we have ever stayed at. I'm sad that we are going home but I can't wait to go through the pictures and videos!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Last Night in Peru

Ignas and I are at in Lima's Plaza de Armas. We are trying our best to soak in our last bit of this beautiful country. I'm sitting in front of Peru's "White House" and Cathedral. It's a gorgeous evening. Ignas is sitting across the street on a curb. We asked a police chic to take our picture. Here it is!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Buenos Dias from Cusco

Just wanted to do a quick blog update because I found a spot in or hotel room that gets wifi! We are leaving the Tambo Del Arriero today, a lovely boutique hotel that we spent the last two nights at. Here is a picture of our hotel room door. There is a beautiful courtyard right in front. Today, we will be heading into the Sacred Valley where the Machu Picchu is. Peru has been absolutely unforgettable and we will be blogging more about it soon!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Colca Canyon

Oh my gosh. Me and Ignas just came back from one of the most unforgettable experiences ever: a 2-day trek in the Colca Canyon of Peru. Both of us agreed that it felt like one of those things you have to do before you die. Personally, I went through so many emotions trying to get through the actual trek. It was quite a challenge, both physically and mentally. Here are the stats:

On the first day, we hiked a total of 17 kilometers to get to the Oasis at the bottom of the canyon, where we were spending the first night. It took us about 7 hours. On the second day, we climbed all the way back out of the canyon, a 5 kilometer climb with a 1,100 meter elevation gain, in 3 hours.

Needless to say, I have never done anything so physically strenuous in my life and I was THIS close to renting a damn mule to take me up the canyon. On the other hand, the whole way through, my Trojan boyfriend kept commenting, "This isn´t that bad!"

Apart from the trek, the actual canyon gave me a whole new meaning to the word "grand." Colca Canyon is truly grand. It´s huge and the canyon walls are menacing. You can still see traces of how the lava dried.

The most interesting part for me was seeing the villages within the canyon and learning about the people there. They have a bartering system with neighboring villages but by neighboring, I mean that they have to trek out of the canyon while bringing all of their goods, exchange everything, and then trek back home. Each village within the canyon only has about 5 families with 2-3 people each.

While walking through the canyon, I thought to myself that it was like walking on another world (specificially, a Halo ring - excuse the nerdiness). The canyon made me feel so small and I couldn´t believe that people live within the walls of this enormous canyon.

We had lunch at one of the villages and it was the first time we tried alpaca meat. The Oasis was beautiful. It´s so lush at the bottom of the canyon.

We woke up at 4:30am to start our trek out of the canyon this morning. It felt like I was climbing a never-ending staircase made out of loose rocks and gravel. It just kept going and going and it never got easier. Can´t believe I did it!

After the getting out of the canyon and having breakfast, we took a bus around the canyon and the views were absolutely breaktaking. I´m getting butterflies just thinking about it. A signature characteristic of the canyon is the terracing done by the Incas and pre-Incas. The terraces and farms added so much to the scenery. Honestly, the best writer and the best photographer couldn´t do justice to the canyon's greatness.

At the end of the day, we relaxed in the hot springs within the canyon which was perfect after our exhausting trek. Then, we ate a buffet for lunch in Chivay, the capital city in the canyon.

We will definitely add pictures to the blog when we come back. I´m currently writing this from an internet cafe in Arequipa and I could only add a few pictures from my phone. So far, our experience in Peru has been amazing and I can´t wait for what we do next!
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