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January 27, 2015

Cusco & Sacred Valley

From Lima, we flew to Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire. It's a heavily touristed place, due to the archeological sites and proximity to the Sacred Valley, and also because it's a good place to get used to the altitude if you want to do the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu. I couldn't put my finger on it but there was something of a European small-town feel to the old part of Cusco, although the buildings aren't very European. The altitude was definitely hitting us hard, on the first night I got breathless after climbing into bed.




The Temple of the Sun (Qurikancha), and important Incan temple which the Spanish then built a church into/onto.



Saqsaywaman, a complex of walls on the outskirts above Cusco. Incan engineering/architecture/building was insane.


We were a bit distracted by the llamas though.


Tambomachay, a sort of water conducting system.


View of Cusco from there.


The main square at night.


Sacred Valley (Urumbumba Valley), where there are loads of archeological sites.


Such as Pisac and its terraces, used for farming.



A souvenirs market.


Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley, an Incan town with more terraces in the shadow of a mountain.




Walking down to Ollantaytambo train station...


For the train to Aguas Calientes, the base town for Macchu Pichu!

We visited all the important sites with a tour guide, which I think is worth having in this case so the significance and history of things can be explained. It was really interesting how such large-scale things were built (with all the stones all fitted properly together without mortar) and how carefully calculated according to the position of the sun at certain times.

January 25, 2015

Asian Cup


The Asian Cup is currently on and I never really recovered from the World Cup last year so I've been following it. Helps that Australia's hosting it this year! I went to one of the Socceroos group games in Sydney (vs. Oman), and it was pretty fun. We got surprisingly good seats so it almost felt like I was watching it on TV. I snagged some cheap (bad) tickets to the final next week, which is going to be in Sydney again, so I have all my fingers crossed that Australia wins the semi-final against UAE and makes it through!

This past week of uni was much better than the first, but I'm still so glad it's a long weekend cause I definitely need that extra day. Hope everyone has a good one!

January 22, 2015

Lima

We were only in Lima for one full day, as a stopover of sorts on our way to Macchu Pichu. Because of that I wouldn't say I got a good grasp of the city and its atmosphere, but here are some of the photos.


In the morning we did a tour of downtown Lima.


Jenny noticed that I was matching the buildings around the square.





This was in the catacombs under the San Franciscan monastery, it was a smaller scale of the Paris catacombs.



The Pacific Ocean from Larcomar in Miraflores, one of the more swanky districts in Lima.



Let me explain before you get confused as to why I'm suddenly posting so many pictures of cats. There's a park in Miraflores called Parque Kennedy, and it's home to loads of stray cats. There are volunteers who feed them and help out with their medical care.


There were just cats everywhere. We spent ages here, went off for lunch involving pisco sours, and immediately came back for tipsy cat-spotting.



How beautiful is this one?!


This one walked confidently up to Jenny, curled up in her lap and promptly went to sleep (with claws out).

January 20, 2015

Americas haul

Finally getting the traditional overseas shopping haul post up! Not a lot this time, though. I didn't buy much in South America (I never do for the first parts of a trip, since I don't want to add too much to my luggage), and I didn't get many souvenirs either. I think I've outgrown souvenirs - I've run out of space to put them in my room, and I guess I consider the photos I take as souvenirs.



  • Leopard print sarong. I bought this from a beach vendor in Rio, where everyone uses sarongs for the beach rather than towels. I probably got ripped off for what is essentially a giant piece of rayon, but I guess I will be able to use it as a scarf this winter.
  • Victoria's Secret bra. I just wanted to buy something from VS because everyone talks about VS and we don't have it in Australia. Is that not a good enough reason? It's actually really comfortable and well-fitting.
  • Tommy Hilfiger short-sleeve button down. I love button downs but I didn't have any short sleeved ones for warmer weather! I got this pretty cheap at an outlet.
  • Fossil cross-body bag. I still feel guilty about this, it was a massive splurge by my standards, and bags are not usually what I funnel money into. I had been looking for a small cross-body bag and I'd seen this in Sydney, but had written it off as too expensive. We came across it in Macy's and after some currency converting calculations and a lot of dithering, I bought it. I've been using it every day on hospital placement though, so I guess the cost per wear will work out.
  • La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo - The US version of Effaclar Duo is benzoyl peroxide based, rather than salicylic acid based like the one you get in the UK/Europe/Australia. Benzoyl peroxide is more effective on my blemishes, which stopped responding to salicylic acid when I was about 14. I'm not sure why it's different there (is benzoyl peroxide less restricted?) - I probably should've stocked up. From what I understand, the US one is more of a specific spot treatment while the other one is more used to prevent and unclog.
  • Revlon Colourburst Balm in Sultry. My lips have been too dry to wear the only lipstick I own (MAC Russian Red), but I'd been missing being able to wear some colour on my lips so I got this matte balm. It's not very moisturising itself, but I can wear it for a while without needing to smudge proper balm on top.
  • Rimmel mascara. I needed a new mascara and this was cheap.
Okay, so I guess I omitted the multi-pack undies and socks I bought at Costco, but that is just too unglamorous for even this old blog. Also note that this is the first time I haven't come back with something from UNIQLO, ha!

Thanks for the well-wishes for uni from the last post guys <3 I'm already feeling a little less panicked and settled in.