Alexis M Spencer


Alexis M Spencer

I was an engineer on a long term assignment, first in Dubai and then in Qatar. During this time, I took advantage of my nice paycheck and proximity to other places to start seeing the world. After three years, I decided to take a much earned break and I am currently on sabbatical. And still traveling...

South America » Peru » Ica » Nazca February 12th 2016

My last morning in Arequipa was a lazy one, before I boarded my bus to my next location: Nazca. I booked online with Cruz del Sur because I had heard good things about it and I was not disappointed. The service at the station seemed a bit disjointed, but I was starting to get used to that. However, I had booked the VIP seat for an extra $12 and it was perfect. The seats were much bigger and more comfortable than on Tranzelo which I had taken from Puno to Arequipa, so I was starting to get excited for my next bus ride. First things first - Nazca. Leaving at 1:30pm, I got to see a lot of the scenery for the next few hours, but most of it quickly became isolated either on the mountainous ... read more
Flying over Nazca
Flight path over Nazca
Trapezoids everywhere

South America » Peru » Arequipa February 10th 2016

After getting out of Puno, taking an overnight bus, and landing in Arequipa at the wonderful hour of 4:30 in the morning, I managed to get a cab to my hotel. I woke up the receptionist at the hotel but he was cool. The room I had booked was not ready, but if I wanted an upgraded room for $20 more a night, it was available. Yep! And it was totally worth the splurge. I took a nice long shower, took a nap, and just enjoyed my smart move. The I took the next few days to take it fairly easy, but I still did a lot and so have separated them as below. Plaza de Armas My hotel is located very close to the main plaza and cathedral, amongst other places. To get to the ... read more
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery

South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca February 5th 2016

Right away when I got off my tour bus and into the lobby of the bus station, a man came right up and asked me if I needed a taxi. Usually I go past the first ranks to the less pushy guys, but I was exhausted. So I said ok: he didn't know where my hostel, Cozy Hostel, was located but I showed him on a map and agreed to the price. Then he asked if I wanted to set up a tour of the islands. Again, tired, but also want to get this taken care of before I go to bed. So, he actually had an office at the bus station and I felt much better about the whole set up. Plus, the price he gave me for the tour was the same I had ... read more
Puno - grilled trout and wine
Local women singing
Alex and Alex showing us the construction of the islands

South America » Peru » Cusco » Raqchi February 3rd 2016

It was time to leave Cuzco, (Days 13 and 14 were pretty lazy, so nothing to write about) so I did some research and found the Inka Express, which for $50 took you from Cuzco to Puno (on Lake Titicaca) via VIP bus seats and with various cultural stops along the way. It was hard to find their office and they did not respond to my email immediately. So, I asked my hostel to set it up and somehow I got snaked away and put with another company, Wonder Peru Expedition. I didn't realize it until the next day, Day 15, and the confusion I had felt when Inka Express finally returned my email but said I was not in their system was solved. Oh well. Their bus, and thus group, was smaller so the ride ... read more
Raqchi - terrace steps
Raqchi - Storehouse ruins
Raqchi - temple ruins

South America » Peru » Cusco » Aguas Calientes January 31st 2016

When I returned from Machu Picchu, I stopped first for lunch as I was starving. And thirsty! I picked a cute little restaurant which looked right out on to the river. I ordered a soda and a water, as well as a personal pizza and avocado vinegarette, the appetizer that I had the previous night that I just loved. Unfortunately, this was not nearly as good - it was smothered in a mayonnaise based dressing rather than a vinegarette. Yuck. Oh well, at least I got to check my email on the slow connection. Then I went next door to my hostel, where i had told the guy that morning I anticipated I would be back around 3. It took about ten minutes to get anyone to come see me at reception and even then, I ... read more
Aguas Calientes Main Square
Handicraft market
Love the drainage system here

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu January 29th 2016

Sophia and I woke up quite early to catch our shuttle at 5:30am, though not as early as Celine and the boys who had to leave by 4:30am to make it up the steps to Machu Picchu by our meeting time of 6:00am. When we walked to the bus station, I was amazed at the amount of people standing in line, even though we were a good 15 minutes early for the first bus! However, I must say that it is down to a science here and was relatively straightforward and easy. Soon we were on a bus, winding up the roads to Machu Picchu. I was trying not to show how giddy I was, but I was so excited! We were the first at the top and we waited for the rest of our group ... read more
Cloudy morning to start
Cloudy morning to start
Clouds lifted!

South America » Peru » Cusco » Santa Teresa January 28th 2016

I woke up early, nervous and excited for my three day "Jungle Trek" to Machu Picchu. It was actually happening! I left my luggage in storage at my hostel, and made my way with my smaller backpack and water skin to meet the tour group. Our group consisted of 9 people: a Portuguese couple (he from Portugal, she from Brazil), a South Korean guy, two Belgian girls, and five English guys, two of whom were only with us the first day. After getting our bikes and equipment, our bus made its way through Cuzco to the Sacred Valley. The two hour drive was incredible and I was immediately overwhelmed by the beauty of the Sacred Valley. We made a quick stop here to use the bathroom and get some snacks before heading up, up and up ... read more
Mountain pass
Only girl to finish!
old town center of Santa Maria

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco January 26th 2016

Flying into Cuzco was breathtaking and got me so excited about my next week or so in this beautiful place. I had originally intended to take a full week of Spanish lessons, but I had no or little feedback from the schools here, which made me less than enthusiastic to try. I figured I could just keep trying to speak Spanish while traveling on my own. My first test came as I exited the baggage claim. The woman at my hostel had emailed me some tips and told me not to pay more than 20 soles for a taxi. Well, the first place I came to, the "official" airport taxi, was going to charge me 45 soles! I told them (in Spanish) that my hostel said no more than 20 and they said no, look at ... read more
San Blas Plaza
Stuffed hot pepper dish
My hike up to the hostel

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores January 22nd 2016

I had been excited and nervous about coming to South America for a month on my own. Mostly, I wanted to expand on my Spanish, but also to try something completely different. And for the first time, I was doing a long term trip on my own with no one that I was planning to meet at any time. So, yes, this is a first. I was nervous. And my dad did not help my nerves. First things first: Dad drove me to Syracuse airport to catch my flight to Atlanta then Lima. Full on, lake effect snow storm. I was a bit worried our flight would be delayed or cancelled, but if anywhere is normal in such conditions, it's Syracuse (take that NYC!). I did make my dad drop me off though so that he ... read more
Causa rellena
Lomo saltado - yum!
Lighthouse Guesthouse Miraflores

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjav√≠k October 23rd 2015

On our last day in Iceland, Jamie took us to The Blue Lagoon. My dad was hesitant about showering in a room full of men or wearing a swimsuit but we successfully talked him into it! And it was fantastic! The drive itself was glorious. The lagoon is on a turnoff road on the way to the airport, so it was perfect timing for our afternoon flight. Along the way, you can see small discharge channels where the lava rock field is covered with silica and blue waters. A little history: this is not a naturally occurring lagoon. There is a geothermal plant nearby, which pulls the water from deep underground and which is superheated by a nearby lava flow. The hot water is used for municipal water use (note my first day, where hot water ... read more
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon

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