Day 308: Cusco, Peru
I started working at the hostel bar as a way to research the best trail for me to head to Machu Picchu. There are so many options and I need to balance hiking with my own innate laziness.
You know what I discovered:
It rains. A lot. Every day.
I’m not sure why I’m surprised, I know this is rainy season, people warned me to get to Cusco sooner.
I didn’t understand that every day would be cold, wet and miserable. That I would wake up to grey skies and fall asleep to rainfall.
So I made the big decision.
I’m not hiking to Machu Picchu.
If I could somehow summon the resilience of great adventure travelers I would see it as a challenge and push my way through it.
But I know myself. After one day of walking in the rain I would be cold, wet and miserable. More importantly I would be miserable to be with.
My kind of adventure is trying all the Peru fruit at the market or learning to make new Peruvian drinks at the hostel bar.
There are times it’s important to push your limits, to test your inner strength.
This is not one of them for me.
I’m taking the train. It’s still an adventure, after all Anthony Bourdain did it.
So don’t hate me because I’m not doing the route everyone thinks you should do.
I’m doing what’s right for me.
Always have to do what’s right for you. I took the train. I even paid extra for the fancy train. It’s potentially a once in a lifetime experience. Go for it! It’s YOUR adventure.
Did you go on the one Anthony Bourdain did with the dining car?
Could not have said it better. It is your life you are the only one you have to answer to.
Make your own memories, blaze your own trail and dammit, make yourself happy. That’s all any of us want for Ayngelina
I really commend you for being able to say you simply don’t want to. What the hell is the point of doing something “amazing” if you hate it? I personally HATE Colonia, Uruguay but everyone seems to think it’s this adorable, charming town that is so much fun to go to for a weekend. I hate it and I don’t care who knows it!
ha love it Rease!
The first rule of travel should be “know thyself” and it sounds like you do.
I applaud you for it. You don’t have to do something just because that’s what “most people” do. Who are those people anyway? Plenty of people take the train, no shame in that.
At least you get to GO to Matchu Pitchu and I’m jealous. I’ve always wanted to go, but haven’t been yet, so I look forward to reading about your experience.
Oh, and when I do get to go, I’ll be taking the train too, because I know MYself!
The more I outed this decision in the hostel the more people confessed they also just wanted to take the train because the weather was so miserable. Turns out a whole lotta people are lazy too.
Hey, just wanted to say that I was just there three weeks ago, and made the same decision. I’m so glad I took the train up instead of forcing myself to hike it. It was a gorgeous trip, and really a cool adventure in it’s own right. I broke the trip up in ollantaytambo and I’m really glad I did. Also, I took a later train out again and that gave lots of room for the weather to work itself out while I was up in the ruins, so I didn’t stress out when it started to cloud over and spritz… I knew I had all the time in the world. It was by far one of the most breathtaking things I’ve ever experienced… Can’t wait to hear what you think!
So glad to hear that! A lot of people have really liked the train so I’m looking forward to it.
Good going. Never bow to peer pressure or the expectations of others. It’s a sure way to become miserable.
Being yourself is so much more refreshing than being a clone of what other people expect of you 🙂
I may quote you on that some day.
Always do what’s right for you! 🙂 everyone has their own way doing things. I don’t hate u hehe
Personally for me I’d rather be slinging drinks at a foreign bar then hiking mountains in the rain.
For me the adventure is in meeting, and connecting with people 🙂
Good on you for being who you are, and sharing it…
That´s a really nice way of putting it, and also enabling me to spend more time in bars!
And there’s nothing wrong with that 🙂
Well said, David. I mean, when (WHEN, not IF) I make it over there I’d love to hike it too, but… I also acknowledge that for me, when it comes to travel, the adventure is about meeting people.
High and mighty travel types who get all up in the “don’t hang with hostel peeps, go meet locals, screw the backpacker trap” really irritate me. Locals are awesome, no doubt, but so are other travellers who are probably people you would NEVER talk to at home.
but yeah, great work Ayngelina. I’m not sure if I’m prouder that you’re admitting to your laziness or just doing what YOU want to do, not what everyone SAYS you should do… a very easy travel trap.
ENJOY. SO bloody jealous.
There’s nothing wrong with knowing your limits. I’d probably do the same thing. Taking a walk is one thing. Hiking up Machu Picchu in the rain would make me totally miserable as well.
If it weren´t raining every day I think I could do it. But not in the rain.
I have done travels by myself, but not the adventurous kinds until recently and just because everybody walks doesn’t mean I should (well ok I should walk to be healthy) but I have walking limits, so if I wanted to go see Machu Picchu I’d have no choice but to take the train.
Taking the “high road” does not make you lazy (the high road being train) now if you only did taxi/train all the time then I could see that being lazy but even I do some walking around.
Knowing what you want/need making the best of your adventures is the only right thing to do if you don’t like you said you will be miserable (and probably regret it).
Thanks Shannon, I don´t want my memory of Machu Picchu to just be happy it´s all over.
Lazy is sitting in your hostel watching TV all day. Choosing a different experience is just as valid as doing it the supposed “right way.”
Note to self: do not write about the time I stayed in the hostel all day watching movies… wait that was yesterday.
Haha, well I can’t claim total innocence on that front either. Only for me it was a full season of Stargate Atlantis (geek that I am).
I don’t blame you at all! I wouldn’t want to hike in the cold rain either. That’s what the train is for. Maybe you can return later in life during the summer and experience it by hiking. You never know what the future holds 🙂
I hiked it back in 2000 and it’s a far from enjoyable walk for little reward on the way. In exchange for a lot of high steps and altitude sickness the scenery doesn’t compare favourably to say Torres del Paine or Roraima.
That said, I would recommend just taking the short walk from MP up to the sun gate for the view down over the site.
I’m definitely going to hike within the site to get an overhead shot.
I can throw on a poncho for a day – just not 4 days!
At first I thought you were saying that you weren’t going to Machu Picchu at all! Phew! Who cares how you are getting there, in my opinion. I could see myself choosing the lazy route too!
Definitely don’t do something just because you feel you should, or because everyone else does it! Like you said, if it’s right for you, then don’t do it, it is YOUR trip afterall!
I would be exactly the same though, I hate the rain and know I would spend the whole time being grumpy and not enjoying it! I’m trying to plan my RTW trip at the moment so that I visit everywhere in Summer and can avoid cold weather!!!!
Watch out with that: you should als try to avoid raining season.
In Argentina for example summer in the north means rain, it’s warmer but it can rain a week without stopping
Yeah I’ll be here the next few months in rainy season. I don’t normally mind the rain but combine it with cold and I’m miserable.
When I first started traveling I really did try to do all the hiking but then realized that on a good day I’m just not that into it. I decided not to do Cuidad Perdida in Colombia because of the rain and I really don’t think my life is that much worse off.
I don’t think it’s lazy at all. I can imagine how wet and cold it would be during the hike. Nothing worse than walking around with wet socks. Ugh.
How about cold, wet socks!
Splendid decision. Always aim to do what makes you happy. Ps – can weather really be miserable? Maybe the clouds like watering you 😉
It’s not so much the rain. I actually like rain but because of the altitude it’s really cold so once you get wet it takes forever to warm up.
What a shame it’s rainy season. As much as I enjoyed my visit to Machu Pichhu, I preferred the three day hike to get there. For me it’s about the journey not the destination so hopefully you’ll get an opportunity to return and do the hike when it’s not rainy season. Best of luck with your travels, Peru is a magic place.
In my head I had always planned to do the hike despite my innate laziness because so many people love it. But after a week of really cold weather and rain I just don’t think it’s right for me.
When you first told me you were going to hike to MP my eyebrow raised since you had also told me you hated hiking and I believe the inca trail (or any other trail) are some of the most challenging ones.
I’m glad you’ve made a decision for you. It’s your trip and you can do whatever you want.
The people who judge you for that are the same ones that sit around the hostel comparing how little they paid for a bottle of water (20¢ vs. 25¢), scoffing at anyone who carries more than a 17l backpack and walking barefoot everywhere. okay now i’m ranting.
back to positive thoughts.
Good for you Revengalina, although i think i should re-name you Avengalina instead.
But Revengelina makes them wonder why they shouldn’t be slightly afraid of me and I like that.
Good for you. We’ve all been there – forcing ourselves to get up at the crack of dawn in miserable weather to do something just because we’ve always had it on our mental itinerary. But what the hell, laziness sometimes pays off and at least you’re still getting to see it!
I would definitely not miss it, I just hope that I’m not missing out on more.
I don’t think that’s laziness. I think it’s sensible. Why make yourself (and potentially others) miserable without good reason?
Seriously, when I get sulky no one wants to be with me!
Do what feels right, hun. 😀 I hear you about the rain though. It hasn’t stopped here in days. (Lovely South Wales weather :S )
Good to know, will not be visiting South Wales any time soon!
Put your boots on Brogan. I would argue that the Inca trail was easily one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done, rain or shine. It averages rain one day out of two, but you might be lucky. How many times in your life when you are fit and young will you have this opportunity? Now put those cards away, man up, and get up that hill x p.s where is the article on Guinie pigs?
Love it that you call me fit and young.
Guinea pig in Ecuador can be found here:
I’m also going to have Guinea Pig in Peru to compare it.
I agree it does taste like chicken, but the one i had was quite fatty, nice and crispy though. Your as fit and young as you’ll ever be again; besides a year of travelling, you should be as lean as a goat. x
Yeah they are all pretty greasy, roasting it helps a bit.
Are goats lean? I may look like a goat…
Well a Peruvian mountain goat would be lean, from all the trails it goes on
“I’m doing what’s right for me.”
It says it all and it goes hand in hand with your personal bio on your sidebar. No hate coming from this direction 🙂
Keep doing what will make you happy, I know you will.
Is that REALLY laziness? Because I would do the same, for sure! I would make it up to 2 hours under the rain, not more. After that, I’d get sick for a week!
Yeah I’d just rather come back and say it was fantastic, instead of saying I was cold, tired and wet the whole time.
You go girl and thanks for the shout out. Don’t worry about not hiking to Machu Picchu. You are absolutely right, you have to do what is right for you. Travel is not about being miserable, it is about enjoying yourself and seeing the world the way that you want to. Do what makes you happy. You are going to love it! I hope that the sun opens up for you while you are up there. Enjoy!
Thanks guys, I am a bit bummed that I won’t have the blue sky llama photo that you have but you can’t have everything.
Cloudy crappy weather photos are sometimes even more interesting & unique!
I think that’s a good call, Ayngelina. The misery could outweigh any pleasure you’d ever get from saying you’d done it. Plus, you might get sick in the rain, and then that could really take you down for a while and prevent you from doing other things you’d really like to do. You’re right – do what’s best for you.
I never thought about getting sick in the rain, Sabina you’ve added another reason to my list!
I can’t say that a hike in the rain sounds very atractive, so I think you made a wise chose. And I guess you’ll see some awsome views sitting in the train, being able to enjoy the scenery (that is, if there’s not to many fog)
The most importing thing is to enjoy yourself!
I wouldn’t call it laziness.
Why do things that make you miserable?
Thanks Rob, I have started wondering the very same thing.
Not everyone is meant to go the same path in life….your path your choice.
Yup, have to do what’s right for you. I used to be all about the challenges (part of why I joined the military), but now it’s all about the pleasure. Sometimes a challenge is a pleasure, other times it’s a pain.
Do you still want to go, just not hike? If so, go for the train others have mentioned. I want to hear your report about that, because I’m thinking I’d like to take that option when I get there. 😉
Sometimes you have to make a hard decision and do what is right for you. It is your lifestyle and you have to be happy with your own decisions. I am sure the train will be an adventure in itself. Look forward to hearing all about it!
Why on earth would you hike a long trail because of what others may think? You chose to take a train, not travel like a Saudi prince, with an entourage of 20 servants on 8 gold plated helicopters.
Anyone who would judge you in a negative fashion because of this, is a bit of a douchebag.
Good for you. Ultimately, unless you are completing the original Inca trail (which has to be booked way in advance) – then you end up in Aguas Caliente the night before Machu Picchu anyway – the same as you will if you take the train! Except you’ve done a 3-4 day backpack before you have to walk around the famed site! I personally love mountains, scenery and backpacking – but that was my motivation…you don’t get anymore out of Machu Picchu just because you hike days beforehand! Enjoy yourself!
I don’t think this is laziness, Ayngelina, I think it’s practical. You know you’d be miserable hiking in the rain, so why do it? And if you did do it, what if you caught cold or pneumonia from being cold and wet every day? Personally, I’d have made the same decision you did. As you say, the train will still be an adventure.
oooohhhhh your still going though!! I thought you weren’t going at all! haha Oh ya I’m definitely taking the train whenever I get there! screw the hiking! haha Have you heard of all the stories of people that fall off of cliffs when they hike there?!? Train all the way for me! 🙂
I agree…it’s your adventure….you define it. It’s not cheating, it’s doing what makes sense at a given moment…to you! Hope you enjoyed that train ride!
There’s no right or wrong way to go to Machu Picchu. Or anywhere else. I think there are too many rules in the backpacking world.
I will never hate someone for being lazy, because then I’d have to hate myself. 🙂
Hopefully the weather will clear up.
We forgive you (only because of the Anthony Bourdain comment)
Just kidding. Love the blog.
I didn’t do the hike either, although in my case it was a time issue. I had one week off from classes when I was studying in Santiago and could either do the hike or take the train and also have time to go to Mendoza, Argentina – I picked the latter and have no regrets. Machu Picchu still looks pretty amazing when you’ve arrived via train.
Exactly, you’re doing whats right for you. It’s your trip, it’s your life. I don’t think you would wanna tarnish an experience with a miserable trek anyways.
I actually think the train sounds A LOT more fun than the hike, and I’m usually the first to jump on any sort of physical endeavor. Then again, I’m also a complete sucker for train travel. Can’t wait to see snippets from your trip!
Anthony Bourdain is endlessly entertaining – but I’ve yet to see proof he takes amazing photos like these – so you’re already onto something – with or without Machu Picchu. 🙂
Do what you need to do lady! If you don’t feel the need to “rough it” there is absolutely no reason to!
Sedan chair, helicopter, who cares how you get there, as long as you go 🙂
Oh, heck yeah. Who cares how you get there? I would not be happy hiking in the rain either. Do what you gotta do, it will still be an amazing experience!
You don’t have to feel sorry, neither miserable.
That’s what I call Freedom! The possibility to choose. And to say ‘No’.
Sometimes it’s so much easier to simply say ‘yes’…
There is no way you are lazy. That is an incredibly tough hike. It can be a great experience but you also don’t want to die. So just enjoy the view when you get there! 🙂
It isn’t necessarily lazy to like being dry!
You do what’s right for you. I once started on an epic walk, that turned into a bit of a nightmare – so decided to take the train – and had a blast. And you know what, the only person who judged me for doing that was, you’ve guessed it, me!! Hope you have fun!
i’ve been told by people who’ve hiked it to take the train! bravo lady for examining your own true desires around it and doing it your way! 🙂
Whenever I have to make a decision about skipping out on something while traveling due to time constraints, weather or just being lazy, I remind myself that I will be back (unless the world ends in 2012)and if I want, I can do it then. Personally, as a fan of train travel, I think riding the rails to the top sounds great.
Don’t feel bad! We opted not to do the Inca Trail on our RTW trip because it was too expensive. However, we went on an amazing self-guided hike in the Colca Canyon, in the town of Cabanaconde, Peru. It’s a bus ride from Arequipa and the only expense is the tourist fee to enter town (which we avoided). It’s not crowded at all. It was dry and warm when we went in June ’09. Worth checking out!
he he, when I read the title I kind smirked, funny title. But yea, you’re right, you’re doing what’s right for you. I just found this blog, can’t believe I hadn’t found it on this tiny web world.
hope the weather get’s better!
Good choice. The train ride is scenic and it’s great to not be all smelly and dirty while you explore MP. When I was there, it was July, so I also enjoyed not freezing my butt off in some tent on a mountain in Peruvian winter. Definitely had plenty of opportunities to challenge myself in that part of the world, hiking to MP is not the only way!
The idea of freezing in a tent petrifies me, the only thing that would be worse is if it rained and based on the last week here I know it would.
I really want to go to Machu Picchu but I have no desire to do the hike. Just b/c something was an amazing experience to one person doesn’t mean it has to be or even will be for another. I totally agree that you should do what’s right for you & what makes you comfortable. I’ll be on that train too someday.
I’ll definitely let you know how the train was!
You should ALWAYS do what’s right for you while traveling. Just because hiking might be the “expected” route for backpackers doesn’t mean you have to do it, too.
I’m with you – I’d totally take the train, too! I’m not really a big fan of hiking (especially multi-day hikes), and I know I wouldn’t enjoy it.
The train journey will be just as much of an adventure, I’m sure.
So glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t get excited about hiking.
You are freaking hilarious! And smart. It sounds miserable in that weather. I remember I went to Tikal when the weather was brilliant. I had such a “peak” experience. A friend wanted to go, so I went back again. It was all fog and rain. It was miserable, and I regretted wasting my time and money.
You are a travel goddess and NEVER need to explain or apologize for your methods, motivations and modes of motion!
you go girl
There’s a train?? Why the hell has no-one mentioned that before? I only trekked through Nepal cos there were no roads and no transport but a train…well, that changes everything!
yeah, if anthony bourdain did it, then there is your greenlit pass to adventure! (sometimes i think i have a small crush on him)
Well, you’re going to Machu Picchu sooo that’s pretty amazing! Don’t let anyone else tell you how to get there!
I like to make the rain a good excuse not to do things too so there’s no point in making yourself miserable! 🙂
Haha I don’t think this makes you lazy! We really wanted to hike the Inca Trail last month, but when we found out it was the rainy season we said forget it, and were cold and miserable in Bolivia instead. Why purposely go on a trip when you know you’ll be miserable? BTW I love the photo in this post. It really does look rainy!
The upside was that it was warm so being in the mist wasn’t so bad.
what’s right for YOU! such important words to remember and that i often forget at times when traveling, and feeling the pressure to “do it right”. there is no right way. only your way. kudos. i’m miserable when i’m cold and wet too 🙂
I took the train and I don’t regret it one bit. It allowed me more time to see more of Peru. You never need an excuse for following your heart.
True Andi, plus if you had hiked in a dress that would have been insane!
You know I went on a tour in Argentina and I was explaining to the tour guide that they should build a cable car to let more ppl up the mountain and the lady went balistic!! Nature and the environment, bla bla bla… Im just like you! I’d rather take the cable car up! lol
Ha! I’ve become the posterchild for laziness!
Um, I’m pretty sure if you were lazy you wouldn’t be in Peru to begin with.
I get tired of the thinking that there is one “right” way to travel. As someone who travels with children, I’ve pretty much learned that thinking there’s only one way to do it goes out the window when little people are involved unless you want to stay home until they adults. Good for you.
I’m really inspired by people who travel with children. I always thought travel ended with kids other than the occasional trip to Disneyland but since starting this blog I’ve met so many amazing traveling families.
I don’t know why you need to apologize for taking the train. It’s your life, your trip. I’d probably do the hike but if it was horrible, I’d stay a few more days and do it again the easy way.
Could you just stay working at the bar until the weather improves?
Unfortunately it would mean staying a few more months and as great as it is to live for free I do need to move on – at some point.
Don’t worry about the hike…the only thing you missed was a lost toenail (my wife lost hers).
Have a Cusquena instead.
Jason eww… I’m sure your wife loves that you shared that.
If that’s lazy, then count me in! Why do what you’re ‘supposed’ to do by others? Nothing beats being comfortable in your own skin 🙂
PS Love the new blog look! So much easier on the eyes than reading text on a black background 🙂
Nothing wrong with no wanting to walk in the rain for days. I did that in Sweden past summer for a whole week. The thing that made it fine was the huts and the sauna that I could use at the end of the day. Not sure if I would have enjoyed it so much without them. The whole reason you do these things is to have a good time, nothing wrong with taking the train 🙂
If there were a sauna at the end of the day I would definitely reconsider hiking.
I’m totally reading your posts in wrong order but I agree. There is no way I’d be able to hike to MP either. I’d love to but I’d rather enjoy myself haha. Oh and I really like your pic on this post. I actually stayed at that hotel with the blue balcony.
I wondered what that hotel was like, I was so jealous of the people staying there at the end of the day when I was cold, wet and just wanted a hot shower.
I think I’d opt for the same, especially with kids in tow. I’m a rain wuss. In fact, I’m a wuss in the face of any kind of inclement weather…extreme heat, extreme cold, extreme dampness…
Ha I won’t hold it against you. I’m still on the fence with the whole hiking thing. Just completed the ‘W’ Trek in Chile, which was unforgettable. But we cancelled our hike planned for our only day El Chalten this morning because it’s bucketing down and don’t tell my mate, but I’m secretly stoked I’m sitting here next to the heater instead…
Sounds just like me!
Amen!! There were so many times when I tried to convince myself to do things and realized not only would I be miserable, but the people around me would be miserable, too. Good decision! And, a much drier one! 🙂
Never need an excuse to ride a train in my book.
Plus, I applaud your courage for doing what you knew would make you the happiest.
Why be miserable when you reach the destination?
Its not being lazy its about being you and what you want to do, not what the rest of the world believes is best for you – stick to your guns!:-)
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