The Fifth Floor, Buenos Aires

The Fifth Floor is a boutique Bed & Breakfast in the Palmero area of Buenos Aires.  The wonderful hosts are Miles and Veronica. They truly made my trip to Buenos Aires special. It was like a fast track to being a local.  Insightful tips on where to go and what to see that is likely off the typical tourist routine. The B & B is housed on the fifth and sixth floor and were completely renovated back to the original art deco style when the building was first built in the 1930s.

If you have the opportunity I highly recommend staying http://the5thfloorba.wordpress.com/

Here are a few snaps

Buenos Aires

Six days in Buenos Aires was a good start, however just scratched the surface.  The city is amazing. Walked some wonderful neighbourhoods with gorgeous tree lined streets. Got to see opening day of the 120 Argentina Open Championship of Polo ca the Campo Argentino del Polo. Watched River Plate vs Olimpo at River Plate Stadium.  Had a wonderful stay at The Fifth Floor a new B&B in Buenos Aires. It really made the trip amazing.

Here are a few of the snaps of the trip

Inca Trail – Day 4, Machu Picchu

Our final morning we were up early for the final 6 km walk.  There was one last steep climb before reaching the Sun Gate – Intipunku. The weather was cooperating and was clear and sunny.  The first view of Machu Picchu were spectacular.  After a short rest we made our way to Machu Picchu.  Before heading to the main gate and collecting our tickets to climb Wayna Picchu, the mountain peak next to Machu Picchu, we climbed up and over the upper guard house. I was able to get a picture of teh guard house without people around. That said we were lucky in that Machu Picchu was not overrun with people.  After Jose gave us an informative tour for several hours we our way to the gatehouse for access to climb Wayna Picchu.  The steep climb was well worth the effort. The reward at the top was a 360 degree view of the whole area.

After our climb down we took a bus into the town and had a late lunch at a French restaurant playing Leonard Cohn.  The food was great and the cold beer very refreshing. The town was a bustle of people and activities as seen in the images. We caught the 3:30 train and settled into the four hour ride back to Cusco.

Inca Trail – Day 3

The third day had a 600m climb and it was steeper than the climb from the day before. We would climb to Abra Runkuraqay at 3,800m.  However today’s hike had us passing some amazing Inca Sites at Runkuraqay, Sayaqmarka, Qonchamarka, Phuyupatamarka and Intipata.

It was another amazing day of views, interesting Andes mountain vistas and exploring.

 

Inca Trail – Day 2

The second day of this four day trek the highest climb of 1200m.  Our camp site is at 3000m and the pass at Warmiwanuska is 4215m.  Our guide thought it might take us 5 hours to summit the pass.  We did it in three and half hours.  Half way up the pass is the last of places were locals sell drinks and food along the Inca Trail.  There are a couple of snaps of this spot.  It was interesting as the elevation increased so did the prices at these places.  That said they were a welcome break.  To make the climb manageable we took frequent stops to catch our breath. Or stopped to take photos.  The was a feeling of success every time you looked back down the valley to see how far you had climbed.

At the summit the wind quickly cooled the sweat from the climb. We stayed a while and had a snack and relished our feat.  Upon leaving we headed down, about a two hour trek, descending some fairly steep stairs. Along the way we watched for porters coming down as most of them were running down. You needed to step cliff side to keep out of the way and not to get run over.  We had a late lunch at Pacaymayo our camp site for the night. The sun was out and it was nice laying out and napping after the strenuous day.

 

Inca Trail – Day 1

Up early to meet the team from Amazonas Explorer in the lobby at my hotel in Cusco. From there it’s a three hour drive to the trail head at Piscacucho.  Along the way we stopped at Ollantaytambo, an Inca archaeological site, to pick up up the other hikers from Australia.  There are two snaps from the town; an old woman taking a short break with a load on her back and CholoTaxis.

The Inca trail is 43kms which 13kms covered on day 1 and 2. Day 3 is 11kms and Day 6 is only 6kms before arriving at Macchu Picchu.  It is no the distance that is tough but the altitude.  The highest pass at 4200m.

After arriving at Piscacucho the supplies were unloaded and split into packs that the porters would carry. The porters packs averaged 25-30 kilos and they seemingly run the whole way both up and down.  After a short delay at the main check in we were off. We walked for several hours and then stopped at Tarayoq.  After lunch it was another several hours to our campsite. Along the way we passed by the first of many Inca sites.  It is called Llactapta and was an agriculture growing area for Macchu Pichu.  From there it was a steady incline to Huayllabamba.