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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Peruvian Adventure 2016 - Travel to Peru

We awoke early Friday, March 4, morning to finish loading the last few things into our bags, take care of final household chores, and begin our journey to Chicago O'Hare International Airport. Typically, we just fly out of Madison from the Dane County Regional Airport due to time and convenience. The major reason we can justify it is that the cost is not overly different. For this trip, however, there was an almost $1000 cost difference to fly out of Madison vs Chicago, so we sucked it up and made the 2 hour drive to one of the busiest airports in the world.

We had relatively smooth sailing down I-90 and through security at O'Hare. Our only "snag" was that the $10/day parking lot I was expecting to use was under construction, causing us to bump to the $17/day choice. No biggie, just unplanned. On our way down and in O'Hare, we spent time reaching out to loved ones to say goodbye before we dropped off the grid for a few days. It was nice catching up while waiting for our flights.

Our flight from O'Hare to Atlanta was pretty straight forward. When we arrived in Atlanta, we had plenty of time to grab a snack, exchange some currency, and make the walk between terminals in preparation for our six and a half hour flight to Lima.

On the flight, Kari and I were able to finally cross one of our saved movies off our list: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. It was pretty good, but I am not totally sure that it lived up to the hype we built for it. We were also served a pretty tasty meal and tried to catch some sleep, knowing we had a long night ahead of us. Kari took some muscle relaxers. Big mistake.

In Lima, we went through immigration, grabbed our bags, and made it through customs in under an hour. Considering we were sleep deprived and it was after midnight, I call that a success. We also managed to get checked in and drop our bags with our Peruvian airline, Avianca, and walk back through security. At the time, they had not announced which gate we were going to fly out of, so we found some benches in a corner and tried to get some sleep. As much as I struggle to sleep on planes, I struggle even more to sleep in airports. It was definitely a case of futility for me, especially when the loudspeaker would have some announcement every few minutes. It was 3am! Come on, now! The worst was when they started cycling through the same two ad nauseam every couple minutes.

Finally, it was our time to board. If you fly through Lima and expect some kind of orderly boarding process with announcements, you can forget about it. We did the thing I dislike doing, hover around the gate, until the magical moment when they made one announcement to say the "A" group could board the bus to the plane. We were in the "D" group, but as I continued to watch people from all groups shove their way forward, I figured we should follow suit.

Similar to the boarding process for the bus, the boarding process for the plane was just as much a free for all. They open the bus doors and people start walking towards the steps at either the front or back of the plane. Your call at which you pick. We chose the back, since I thought our seats in row 16 must be at least halfway back.

The flight from Lima to Cusco was pretty short, only about an hour. The view of the peaks of the Andes above the cloud line was stunning. I was hoping I might be able to see more, but the cloud cover and my being on the aisle certainly did not help.

Once we landed in Cusco, we grabbed our bags and found a taxi to take us to our hotel. Concluding a long travel period and beginning our Peru exploration!

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