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Published: April 25th 2013
View from Machu Picchu
We travelled from Cusco by train to Aguas Calientes, seen in the river valley.
Machu Picchu exceeded our expectations because of its amazing, isolated location and the extent of the Inca ruins. It was a spectacular delight archaeologically and geographically when you consider the Incas, so many centuries ago, selecting such a remote, steep and jungle covered terrain to build such a huge community. The trek up to the Sun gate was an hour's slog in drizzle and mist and there was no view at the top. However our patience was rewarded and eventually the mists cleared and the view to the bottom of the river valleys and over huge mountains was stupendous!
It was a rewarding but tiring few days getting up very early and walking all day and so we were pleased to arrive in a "Chelsea" area of Buenos Aires called Palermo Soho. Again more walking but at snails pace as we soaked up the cafe culture and sat in glorious sunshine. ( It had been raining heavily just prior to our visit) After 4 days seeing the Botanical gardens, grossly expensive shops and restaurants; noses pressed up to the window and tongues hanging out, we booked a ferry to Uruguay. We had met a lady from Uruguay in NZ and
she recommended sailing to Colonia Del Sacramento, so we did. It was a lovely old town complete with cobble stoned streets, bougainvillea draping wrought iron gates and wonderful old cottages, galleries, cafes and restaurants overlooking the sea, or technically the vast River Plate. We had a day trip to Montevideo which we really enjoyed particularly the old quarter again with the Fish market and art and craft shops to potter by.
On our return to Buenos Aires we stayed in a "Kensington" like area called Recolleta; slightly closer to the centro but of greater distinction because of the incredible cemetery housing Argentina's great and glorious dead. It was a surprising visit because the styles, materials and decorations of the tombs and mausoleums were fascinating, and yes we found Eva Peron's tomb.
The most incredible natural sight of our travels was the Iguazu Falls which border Argentina and Brazil. Because of earlier budgeting in our trip we were able to cancel all thoughts of overnight buses and book a flight into Argentina's Puerto Iguazu and three days later out of the Brazilian town of Foz do Iguaçu to our final destination of Rio De Janeiro.
We are both
so delighted to spend our final week at Ipanema Beach because it is beautiful here amidst blue skies, azure sea and golden sand. We have been able to rest up and relax enjoy swimming, and strolling to Leblon and Copacabana. Tomorrow is our last day so we have booked a days trip incorporating the centro cathedral etc, Maracana stadium, Sugarloaf mountain and Corcovardo. (The Christ statue on the mountain) We get back in time to hop in a taxi to the airport for a night flight to Heathrow.
We can't believe our trip is coming to an end and whilst there is a drop of regret we are now ready to come home and quite excited by the prospect. Can't wait to see Kate, Matt and Martyn at our reunion in Nottingham and then taking back our house from the girls next Thursday 2nd May, exactly six months on. Thanks for keeping us company and we look forward to catching up with you all soon.
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