Sunday, April 15, 2018

Feruary 2018 Family Trip.

Written By: Maheen Khan
On February 10th, 2018 my Family and I arrived in Gatwick, England. From Gatwick my second cousin, Alizay apa picked us up in an uber and we got dropped off at Sumbal phupo’s house in London, England. We stayed in London for a week and part of the fun was that we stayed at Sumbal phupo’s house. Her home cooked meals are the BEST. Every day after walking for miles exploring London we would enter the house and instantly you could smell the delicious meal that Sumbal phupo had made that day. The first day was an adventure, we walked to churches, The Big Ben, and The London Eye. Part of what I loved about London is that it’s so diverse. There were Greek, Italian, Pakistani, and etc. restaurants. People of all cultures and ethnicity were walking the streets. Alizay apa and Ali bhai took us to ASDA and we shopped for some food and slippers, I got koala slippers! By the way, ASDA is Walmart's “sister company” but I think it's only in London. Since London is so diverse it even had a halal section in ASDA. I got two packets of halal gummy bears (my guilty pleasure).
The next day we walked around some more with Ali bhai (Alizay apa went to UCL to get some books from the library). That day we went to the Imperial War Museum. The museum was filled with so much of Great Britain's war history. I thought it was so cool how they saved the first missile to display in the museum. While mama and Baba went into a church to take pictures of the monument, Ali bhai got Zain and I a hot chocolate. I noticed that the Hot Chocolates of London are not extremely sweet, just as I like it. Next, we went to Birmingham Palace and saw the guards doing their job. As usual they were standing still, the flag on the palace was raised which means the queen was inside! At night my other cousin Elizay apa came to have dinner with us along with her husband Shamyl. It was really fun to meet a cousin I had never seen before!
On the third day, Sumbal phupo decided to walk with us to the British Museum and National Portrait Gallery, some of the biggest museums in London. Before going to the museums Alizay apa decided to show us a tour of her college (UCL). The college was so big and people from all over the world there to study. After touring the college we all went over to the British Museum. The British museum was huge and had lots of natural artifacts from all over the world. There was a Chinese room, an Indian room, and an Egyptian artifact hall but that's only a  fraction of what you could see there. The National Portrait Gallery had pictures that took a while to analyze and some pictures you could be understood in a second. My favorite picture was the one of the giant horse. It looked as if I could reach into the frame and grab the horse, the fur painted on the horse looked so real and I wanted to pet the picture. Under the portrait gallery was Trafalgar Square. The square was filled with people performing their special talents. There was one man who was making rings for free because he loved to give. There was also someone who could perform any national anthem on his trumpet.
Tuesday was me and Zain’s relaxing day. Our parents decided to leave us with phupo so we watched t.v. all day while Mama and Baba went to the London bridge and other places. Sumbal Phopo, Zain, and I all went to ASDA and got some food to make dinner. I helped phupo make some Chinese soup and rice. The food was soooo good!
 On the fifth day, my family and I went to all the major museums of London. We went to the Natural History Museum, it was super crowded so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I think I could have. The line to get inside was also pretty long and annoying to wait in. If I had to pick a favorite exhibit it would have to be the human body exhibit because that interested me a lot. The next museum that we went to was the Victoria and Albert Museum. This was a HUGE museum with many artifacts. The museum was a lot like the British Museum, there were many artifacts to look at. At night we went to a cafe and met with Elizay and Shamyl again. We ate a Nutella crepe, it tasted amazing.
Our last day in London was Friday. Sumbal phupo, Mama, and I split up with Baba and Zain. We went to go shopping and Baba and Zain walked to Hyde Park and fed the geese. Sumbal phupo, Mama, and I went to Harrods, Selfridges, and many other fun stores. We didn't get anything but I enjoyed pretending to be a diva! Alizay apa came home from her dorm and stayed with us for our last night. We got up at 4 a.m. and went to Kings Cross Station (were harry potter got on platform nine and three quarters.) I couldn’t find platform nine and three quarters but I wish I would have. We got on the train to the airport and waited for our flight to Faro, Portugal.

The flight was about three hours on Easy Jet, but as soon as my Family and I got to Faro the warmth hit me like a punch to the face. London was in the 40’s but it seemed as if Faro was in the 70’s so it was an upgrade. Right after we got our rental car we drove to Fortaleza de Sagres. Fortaleza de Sagres is the edge of a tectonic plate which is super cool in my opinion! The viewing point was about one hundred feet from the ocean. It was so beautiful to look down and see the giant waves crashing on the rocks. There was a path from the standing point that led to a small hut. We decided to take the path and to get into the “hut” you had to walk thru a maze type of enclosure. When you got to the small enclosure there would suddenly be a gust of wind that would blow you away, by a gust of wind I mean a GUST of wind. The “wind” turned out to be the air that was produced when the waves crashed into the rocks. So you could tell that we were standing just above the ocean.
The next day we drove to Sintra and Lisbon. In Lisbon, we walked around and discovered the streets. We walked along the graffiti-filled walls of the city. While we were at a cafe getting some local snacks we met this nice lady by the name of Ines, she worked for a travel company and offered to take us to Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and the Pena Palace.
There was so much to see at the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, you could walk into caves carved in the bright green hills, there were deep wells that you could see and go into. At one point there was a waterfall, in order to see it from the inside of the hill you had to hop from one stone to the other. The reason you had to jump was because the stones were resting above an algae-filled pond. As we walked along we came to a duck pond, I tried to feed the ducks. When I threw a chip in the pond, the ducks seemed to ignore me. In my anger I reached towards the chip to grab it from the water so I could throw it too the ducks again. I didn’t realize that my jacket pocket was unzipped so I leaned forward. To my surprize my tablet fell from my zip pocket into the pond. I couldn’t do anything about it since the pond was filled with plant and algae, plus it was super dirty and kind of deep. I guess that's karma for annoying the ducks. Despite losing my tablet the scenery was beautiful and totally worth it!
Our next stop was Pena Palace. Pena Palace is on the top of the Sintra mountains, on a clear day it can easily be spotted from Lisbon. This palace is a super brightly colored architecture with many rooms that you can see from the inside. The rooms were all connected, there were many many rooms… From the Music room to the Ballroom, any room you could think of was in that palace. The view from the Palace ledge was incredible and you could see the whole Natural Park of Sintra.
On February 18, we drove to Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. We walked through a trail to get to to the palace on the top of the mountains. The trail was filled with plants and brightly colored flowers. We took the Mexican trail and found huge cactuses and other desert-like plants. When we got to the palace that was resting on a steep hill we decided to lay down and relax. Zain and I ran up and down the hill and climbed some trees at the bottom of the hills. As we drove farther we came across a mountain filled with autumn colored flowers. The mountain was beside a vast body of clear blue water. This place was called Colores which means colors in Spanish. The name made sense since the hill was filled with so much color.    
Then we drove to Espanha (Spain).

Our first stop in Spain was Cordoba, because we arrived at night we checked into our hotel right away. The hotel we stayed at was named “Eurostars Palace.” This hotel was very nice and the name definitely fit its description. That night, we ate at a restaurant named “Lahori kabab.” It was a Pakistani restaurant so we enjoyed it a lot.
The next day we walked around Cordoba and found many great restaurants, shops, and monuments. Baba realized that nothing was open on Tuesdays in Cordoba so we just walked around that day.
On Wednesday (FEB 20) my family and I visited all the mosques and churches of the city. We saw the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. The reason it is both a mosque and a cathedral is that it was once a mosque but Christians took it over and renamed it as a cathedral so now it's both!
We later drove to Granada and saw some more churches including Granada cathedral, and the Bib-Rambla. We walked to the Albanian Quarter which is kind of like a square but instead is next to the mosque on a ledge peering over the bottom of a mountain. People singing, people selling bags with intricate designs, people offering to do mehndi on your hand for two euros each. Baba and I decided to climb another mountain with a church on top while Zain and Mama stayed at Albanian Quarter. As we got to the top we noticed that people were living in little huts built on the peaks of the mountains. I thought it was very interesting how people live that way. When Baba and I got to the top, there were people sitting on the edge of the wall listening to music and dancing. It was really fun to experience everyone having a good time. At night Zain and Mama went home and Baba and I wanted to explore more so we walked along Granadas streets. I noticed that Granada really comes alive at night. All the restaurants and stores opened at night, even the drug stores open at night! Baba and I settled down in a Syrian Restaurant. We both ordered a lentil soup, the soup was super flavourful and tasted different than restaurants serve in the U.S.
When Baba and I got to our hotel we got into sbut but there was one problem. Zain and I were sleeping together and every time we opened our eyes this red light would go on. Zain and I conducted many tests and later concluded that every time we opened our eyes the light would turn red but when we closed our eyes it would go off, this happened because it was a camera watching us at night. We got so scared and didn’t sleep at all that night. When we woke up that morning we told our parents and it was later determined that the “camera” was actually a motion detector… Zain and I freaked out about a motion detector.
The next day we packed up and drove to Alhambra palace. This palaces ceilings were filled with designs of all colors. Murals were painted on the walls and water fountains lined the garden. Alhambra palace was my favorite place in Spain so far! After Alhambra palace, we drove to Ronda. In Ronda we booked an amazing hotel that was fit for a queen. The hotel had complimentary lotions and there was even a shoe shiner in the the bathroom! The bathroom in the suite was bigger that my room at home. The top of the hotel had an infinity pool and a jacuzzi, Zain and I really wanted to go in but it was much too cold to go swimming that day. We decided to walk around the city. We settled on a small hike down the Ronda mountains. The trail included ropes for us to get down, bushes of poison ivy everywhere, and slippery rocks. As much as the trail sounds horrible it also had a beautiful view, almond trees from which we ate almonds off of , and a great experience with my family. We decided to head back to our hotel and enjoy some sleep in order to wake up early for the drive to seville.
The next morning we all woke up and got ready, our next mission was to find someplace to eat. After spending thirty minutes walking around the city in search of breakfast it seemed like all hope was lost….Until Mom asked to see our hotel receipt. I noticed that on the receipt it said Desayunos...25 euros. It turned out that we had actually bought breakfast the day Baba booked the hotel and we simply just forgot. In shock we all ran back to the hotel and asked if we could eat breakfast despite the fact that we had checked out already. The problem was that we had only bought breakfast for one but since we checked out our name did not come up on the system. We had proof that we booked the hotel so the hotel staff let us eat breakfast (even if it was breakfast for one). The food was scrumptious and I think that was the best breakfast I have ever had in my life. My meal included, 1 slice of spanish omelette, 2 pieces of toast with nutella spread, 1 glass of chocolate milk and a sip of Mama’s coffee, 5 slices of pineapple with a raspberry on top, an assortment of cheeses, a chocolate cookie, and a bunch of other treats that I can't remember.
That day we went to the Cathedral of  Seville witch was huge and the Tower of Seville. The view from the top was gorgeous. For lunch I went to a cafe and ordered “chocolate caliente” which means hot chocolate in spanish. Little did I know hot chocolate there is literally hot chocolate. When the waitress brang over the mug, I realized that it was a glass of melted dark chocolate. Even though the drink was delicious I couldn’t finish it all due to the thickness of the chocolate.
On February 24 our journey to home began, we flew back to Faro and ate at a local restaurant. The restaurant served a meal in which they showed us how a traditional Spanish family would prepare the meal. After having lunch we drove to the airport of Faro and waited for our flight to Gatwick. We stayed in Gatwick for a day at the Premier Inn.
In the morning we walked about four miles to the local ASDA and got a few necessities which included, gummy bears, more gummy bears, new water bottles, and water to fill the bottles. That night was our flight to Boston. The flight was about seven hours and along the way I watching some movies to keep me entertained. We arrived in Boston at around eight (with a two hour delay).

This trip was amazing and will definitely be the highlight of my 2018.

Here's the rank for this trip:
Vatican City:10

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse 2017

Here is what we saw in MA around 2:30 PM.

I took these pictures with Sony a5000 with 18-50 mm lens.

I used these settings (lowest possible light to sensor settings on this camera)
50 mm
ISO 100
Manual Focus to infinity

I was surprised to learn that the Sun is so much smaller than it seems from the naked eye. I looked at the Sun through camera's LCD.

Things I wish I had:
A tripod.
A telephoto lens with at least 200 mm.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Perfect Start of Summer


Zain, Maheen, and I hiked Mt. Monadnock with some friends in April. Its an easy close-by hike.

Lunch on Mt. Monadnock

Zain, and I hiked Mt. Lafayette with friends in May. I love and hate this hike as its hard on the knees, coming down. However, Zain aced it.

Zain overlooking Franconia Notch (Mt. Lafayette)

Our next hike this summer will most probably be Mt Washington.


Maheen and I started yoga in April. After a month of Yin, Tao, and flow yoga, we have switched entirely to aerial yoga. Most people give up on aerial yoga after their first class. Just like anything else, aerial yoga is tough in the beginning but you get used to it after a few classes. We persisted and now we enjoy it quit a bit.
Aerial yoga, I am standing on the ceiling

In the air pigeon pose


One of my students soloed in early June. Flight instruction has immensely helped me develop myself as a mentor. It has tremendously helped me with flying skills too. I love this new hobby.

Letting him go free in third dimension

So far this summer, I have made two trips of my own. First to Manhattan via Westchester County Airport in April with kids, second to Hampton in May with Maheen. The runway at Hampton Airport is a fun short field practice. However, it is far from the beach (4.5 miles each way). We walked as there are no cabs in that area.
Hampton Beach walk

The best FBO I have ever been to is Million Air at Westchester County Airport. If you go there, stop by and feel like a billionaire for a few minutes.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Inca Ruins : Cusco, Chinchero, Maras, Moray, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu

We landed in Cusco on Monday evening.

The altitude gets you. Headache, and shortness of breath is common. I woke up  in the middle of first night with feelings of suffocation.

Everyone felt better on the second day.

Our hotel was a few steps from Plaza de Armas, the best location to stay in. Its the city center which also means that it is noisy, a thing to consider if your sleep is easily interrupted.

The first thing you notice is how cheap things are. A twenty minute taxi ride from airport is 12 soles ($4).

We used local currency everywhere as dollars are not accepted out of major cities.

View from our room. These girls are offering cheap massage
I came out of my hotel the next morning, and was immediately surrounded by people selling all sorts of stuff: Tours, pictures with baby lamas, food, and massages.

I signed up for Vinicunca tour, then I asked a girl for massage rate. She offered to do one hour massage for mere $6 (20 soles). Momina was suspicious so I signed Zain up too. Dad and son had a massage in a very shady place. We joked about strong incense smell in a dark area with smelly sheets afterwards. The massage itself was not bad.

Church in Plaza de Armas

Jesus at Saksaywaman is visible from Plaza de Armas


The only expensive thing to do in this area is Machu Picchu (MP). It costs about $250 per person to visit it. There are more interesting things around compared to MP, but the most interesting ruin without doubt is MP.

MP can be reached from Cusco via a scenic train ride that runs from Ollantaytambo.

From Cusco, taxi to Ollantaytambo via Chinchero, Moray, Maras, and Urubamba costs mere $40. Its a whole day taxi ride if you plan on visiting these ruins on the way to MP. Entry ticket to ruins other than MP costs $35 per person. Machu Picchu entry is about $70 per person.
If you take the first train at 6 AM from Ollantaytambo (trains are fully booked so plan on buying train ticket for $150 per person much in advance over the internet), you will be in Aguas Calientes at around 8 AM. From Aguas Calientes, you take a bus to MP for $25 per person. Some people skip the bus, and hike up, but that seemed a bit dangerous to me, considering the hikers and the buses share the same narrow road.

I was frustrated when I had to stand in lines to purchase all these tickets. A tour operator might be a better option but I cannot be sure.

I hate crowds, especially if I am visiting a nature wonder like MP. But you cannot escape crowds of thousands there. I suggest hiking to the Sun Gate to leave the lazy behind, and to enjoy the nature in seclusion. Hike to the Sun Gate starts at 7700 feet, and the Sun Gate is a few miles away at 9000 feet.

You may purchase the HP mountain hike or the MP mountain hike ticket for a little extra but for us, MP and Sun Gate was sufficient. You can buy MP entry tickets online, and in Cusco center.



Our journey towards MP started with first stop in Chinchero. Its a poor little town with good views of its ruins. There is a small hike here on ruin steps at 13000 feet that we did.

Chinchero Courtyard

Chinchero hike from the Church

Leaving Chinchero courtyard

On the way to Moray ruins, we passed through scenic areas with views of the Sacred Valley.

Sacred Valley

Eye contact

Moray is another interesting ruin.


Inka planted vegetables here for experimentation

The most interesting place in this area in a salt mine in Maras called Salineras. Maras people harvest salt here. It is an active salt mine with exports world wide. We paid $3 (10 soles) entry fee per person.

Salt mine in Maras

Salt mine
From Maras, we reached Urubamba, then Ollantaytambo.
We stayed overnight in Ollantaytambo for the first train to MP the next morning.

Ruins in Ollantaytambo are more interesting and there is a hike here with scenic views of the valley. We found a bunch of tourists there that were there for the train to MP.

Ollantaytambo ruins

Spider in the ruins

We took the 6 AM train ride to MP the next day. Its a very scenic ride and is worth the money.

Scene from the train

We arrived in Aguas Calientes at 8 AM, and proceeded to purchase the bus tickets. After a 15 minute bus ride, we were at the entrance of MP.

Another thing that annoys me about MP is that they check your passport at every corner. The numerous guards will yell at you if you wander off course.

Views from the entry are impressive. We proceeded to the Sun Gate hike. Momina decided to skip the hike, while I finished the hike with kids.

We were done by 1 PM. Given our train back was at 6 PM, we proceeded to a restaurant by the raging river in Aguas Calientes to kill time.

MP is tropical weather at high altitude so mosquito repellent and sun screen is a must.

On Sun Gate trail

Road to MP for bus and hikers

MP and its mountain from Sun Gate hike

Restaurant by the raging river

Walk by the raging river in Aguas Calientes

We took the train back to Ollantaytambo, then we took the taxi back to Cusco.

The best place to eat in Cusco is Organika. There are many good restaurants but price and quality wise its Organika. Kids may want to eat at McDonals or KFC at the city center.

The next day, we took the Cusco Grand Free Tour. This tour provides "free" tour guides at Plaza de Armas but tip of at least 10 soles is mandatory. The guide took us through Cusco for two hours, explaining its history. I recommend this tour as it was informative. 

In a street with Cusco Grand Free Tour guide

View from top of the city

After the tour, we ate at Organika, then hiked to Saksaywaman, where we saw the statue of Jesus up close.

Just as we were about to enter Saksaywaman ruins, we found ourselves in a massive hail storm. Weather changes quickly at high altitude and one should be ready for all weather conditions. We got our ponchos out, and walked down to Plaza de Armas.

Saksaywaman area

Read Part2 here: Part2

Rainbow Mountain Drama

Cusconians speak very little English.

The lady at our hotel during the day shift spoke adequate English, but the man at the night shift knew only one word in English which he combined with expressions and hand gestures to convey his ideas. He likes to be called Johnny Depp and the only English word he speaks is "yes".

"Is the breakfast ready at 5 AM?", I asked. "yes, yes", Johnny replied with confidence.
"Is the breakfast ready at midnight?", "yes, yes".

Jhonny's limited English language was key to our visit to the most beautiful place we have been to so far. The place is what locals call Vinicunca. Several layers of minerals on top of this mountain give it rainbow colors. It came into existence just over twenty years ago, when the ice layer on it receded.

Visiting Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain) was the main goal of our trip. We knew Machu Picchu will not come close.

You do not have to move a foot to visit Machu Picchu, but hiking to Vinicunca is challenging. The itinerary begins in Cusco at 3 AM with a 3 hour bus ride on windy roads to arrive at 14000 feet base point. Then you hike to the summit, five miles away at 17000 feet. Then hike down, 3 hours bus ride back, and back to Cusco at 7 PM. Altitude sickness is the biggest concern.

We acclimatized in Cusco for five days. Cusco is at 11000 feet and there are some hikes around in sacred valley that climb to 13000 feet. We attempted hikes up to 13000 feet. 

Saturday was the planned day of Vinicunca hike. By Thursday we were feeling fully acclimatized. Then I overdid it. I jogged around in Cusco on Thursday, and got up with fever and body aches on Friday.

All Friday was spent watching TV, and gulping down water. I had paid for the tour, and the trip was on. I felt I would recover by Saturday morning if I slept by 6 PM on Friday. 

The tour guide informed me for a pick up from hotel at 3 AM on Saturday. I set the alarm for 2 AM, and closed my eyes at 6 PM but the anticipation would not let me sleep. Last time I watched the clock, it was 11 PM. All the family was long asleep, and I still had fever. Thoughts of cancelling were coming to my mind. Then I went to sleep. At 1 AM, Zain woke up the whole family. He was crying with severe headache. Two out of four were down.

Frustrated, I said, "Momina, cancel the alarm! We are not going to Vinicunca". 

A few minutes later I was asleep.


The telephone rang at 3:30 AM.

Johnny was on phone. "Vinicunca", he exclaimed.

It was so that the tour guide waited in the street for half an hour, then told Johnny to call me.

I told Johnny, "No Vinicunca!", he replied "yes yes" and hung up the phone. He interpreted from my tone that I wanted the tour guide to wait. 

The telephone rang again at 3:40 AM.

Johnny was on phone again. "Vinicunca", he exclaimed again. I said "No Vinicunca! Cancel, Cancel!" and hung up. 

The telephone rang at 3:55 AM one more time. I noticed that my body aches and fever were gone.

Johnny made a speech in Spanish on the phone. I shook Zain and asked, "Zain, how do you feel?". "OK", he replied in his sleepy voice.

I yelled "LETS GO!", and ran down to the lobby in my under shirt to stop the tour guide from leaving.

The tour guide was furious as the bus was supposed to leave at 3 AM at it was 4 AM at that time. 

"Five more minutes please", I told the guide.

I ran back up to the room, put on my shirt, yelled "LETS GO!" to the family, then ran to the lobby. The guide was gone.

I ran down to the street, and yelled at him, "Stop!". He turned back, and my family emerged from the hotel.

As we climbed the bus, we were angrily stared at by other hikers for being an hour late.

While I kept on telling Johnny to cancel, he kept on telling the guide to wait. Thank you Johnny.


The hike is time critical. If you do not make it to the peak by noon, you will be stopped.

We gained the lost time by taking shorter breakfast. Lunch and breakfast are complimentary in 80 soles ($25) we paid per person to the tour company. This meagre amount also covers the six hour bus ride, hotel pick up, and 10 soles entry fee to the hike.

Maheen started throwing up in the bus. She had motion sickness due to windy roads. Momina was the only person who has had a perfect trip so far (other than the usual sun burn). Since three of us had been ill, the guide offered us horses for the hike, which we gladly accepted for 80 soles per person.

View from the parking area

We arrived at the starting point near the village of Chillca. We were disappointed to see snow all over. If Vinicunca was covered in snow, we would see no rainbow. The base point near Chillca has a parking area from where about a hundred people start their hike.

The horses only cover the flat lands. On climbs and descents, you get off and walk with the horses. You get horses after you do the first steep climb with an altitude gain of a few hundred feet. A woman fainted on this first climb, and had to be taken back on oxygen.

Hike at this altitude requires patience for sea level dwellers like us. We took ten steps, then enjoyed scenery for ten seconds, then repeated.

Maheen is throwing up and not happy

Magestic peaks around the parking area

First climb up on foot, Maheen and Momina

Horses in the valley
After the first climb up, we entered a valley where elevation was around 15000 feet. Surface was mud and grass, and it was easy to walk on. Everything was shades of white and green.

Shaded of white and green

Momina's horse moment

Valley is snow covered

Second climb up, Zain ahead
After the valley, the entrance, and a couple of small streams, we came up to our second hike up. We got off the horses and walked up. Walk up was becoming harder because of altitude gain.

After the second climb, and horse ride for a couple of miles on flats, we came to the bottom of Vinicunca. The sun was out, and the snow was starting to melt.

Rainbow mountain. Some people are already on top

The third climb of a few hundred feet to top of Vinicunca looked daunting. Maheen threw up again and gave up. With competition gone, Zain gave up too.

We decided to leave kids at 16500 feet and climb up to Vinicunca top. We thought we will keep watch on them from top of the mountain. At half way up, we lost them. "They will be OK", I told Momina.

We took our time to get to the top. Views from the top were stunning. Temperature was around 40F with zero winds. It was toasty by Boston standards. We stayed at the top for about fifteen minutes then descended back to the base of the final climb. Kids were sitting where we left them.

Colors of rainbow while on final climb up

Half way up on final climb. Kids are somewhere down there

At top of Vinicunca, valley on the other side has shades of red and white



The mountain: Vinicunca

Descending back down

I decided to skip the horse coming back, and walked all the way to the parking area. I stopped frequently to take pictures of the stunning valley where snow had melted.

I was back in the parking lot at around 2 PM.

Altitude was taking its toll. While Maheen had recovered, Momina threw up. I started feeling a headache.

Everyone was back in the bus by 3 PM. After the bus descended from 14000 to  11000, all of us started feeling energetic and high. After our lunch, we slept on the bus on our way back to Cusco.

Snow is melting in the valley

Momina off the horse to cross a stream


All snow is gone by 1 PM

Colors of the valley

My horse is way ahead of me

Large valley
Mount Apu in distance at the parking area

If Jhonny knew English, we would not have made it to the most scenic place we have been to so far.

Read Part3 here: Part3