Machu Picchu is reachable with one of the trek options, a direct bus or a combination of local buses and a train. I chose the latter which turned out at least as adventurous as the trek it self.
I bought a train ticket at Cusco, at the station near the market. You should wake up really early in the morning and get there before the ticket office is open if you want a ticket and to save the evening.
But to get to the train it self, I had to reach Ollantaytambo, so I got to the main street, and with a few repetitions of "como se va a Urubamba?" I managed to reach a dusty yard, where an old bus rested. I bought a ticket and asked when we would go, and since I assumed that five minutes here can be stretched a bit, I didn't check my watch.
When we finally left, there was me and another blonde "gringa" the only two tourists on the bus. It drove slowly, but through green fields, amazingly blue sky, and a far view of a snowy mountain.
I still had time until the train so I wasn't too nervous when I heard an explosion sound right beneath by seat. All the passengers went down to allow the replacement of the tire. Me, the "gringa", fat cholos, kids in soccer outfits, laborers and high school girls - we all sat down on the grass in the noon sun, and the chilly air and waited quietly. There were passengers who continued by foot, whom we passed driving once the tire was replaced in a surprisingly quick time.
The bus finally passed the snowy mountain on the horizon, and started driving toward a valley with a flowing river, to Urubamba.
Boats (Lanchas) leave to Iquitos once every day or two. You don't have to pre-register, but just reach the port, find out which Lancha leaves and when, and board it a few hours before to catch a place and hang your hammock. A Hammock is a must for this journey so if you don't have one, buy at Yurimaguas. 20 Sols and you've got a souvenir for life.
It took my friend and me two nights of sleeping in hammocks on the Lancha until it sailed. During the mornings we would go back to town, buy our supply of food and fruits, and at noon, in the heat of the day, we would embark the boat, and the deck started to fill with more and more hammocks. Peruvian peddlers were wandering between the hammocks selling everything, from blankets to Ceviche in a plastic bag.
Most of the time is was hot, except for the nights, with small episodes of cool breeze. But most of the time, with no exception, it was sticky. The waiting drove us and the rest of the tourists on board mad, but the Peruvians looked as if they weren't in a hurry to get anywhere. As if time isn't important - it wasn't clear whether they accepted reality, or got used to this Shanti. Whether on the other side of the river a family wedding was waiting for them, a day of work, or a sick relative, you couldn't see it on them. They just passed the time.
From Mo i Rana E12 we left to the east, this is the blue road. We didn't have to visit it, so we continued south on E6 and near Korgen we were supposed to pass a 10 km tunnel.
We hate tunnels, and I immediately noticed in the map a byroad reaching all the way to Løkvatnet. We immediately chose it and this was a very good choice. It was 13 km of beautiful roads, snowy mountains with snow reaching sometimes up to 1.5 m and frozen lakes. We enjoyed every moment of our selection.
We continued with E6 which drives along the famous rivers, Namsen and Vefsna.
In the rest of the day we drove to Ovre Ardal - which was described in Lonely Planet as the prettiest road in Norway. It's possible that if we wouldn't have driven through the amazing road between Norway and Sweeden, the road with which we bypassed the tunnel or the amazing 15 roads before that, we would have admired it.
But it was a narrow 33 km road, so narrow two cars from opposite directions can hardly cross each other. Luckily our drive was around 17:00 with almost no cars coming from the opposite direction.
I almost didn't shoot the road from all the stress that a car would come in front of us. This is a toll road that accept only credit cards. They cancelled the option for cash money. So, don't forget that if you pass here, credit card is a must!
At the end of the road, you suddenly see dark green shaded fjord, and a waterfall to the right of the road, and indeed it's the prettiest part of the entire road - the fjord appears behind the trees' branches every time the curvy road descend to it.
Last day: Driving to Milan left us with only a few hours to wander around the city. Usually they recommend parking in the outskirts of the city and taking public transportation. We arrived on Sunday so we found a parking space in the town center (walking distance from the Doumo and a reasonable price, 2 Euros for five hours).
My fiance and I made a lovely trip to Northern Germany - using public transport only. The trains and buses systems in this region - are superb and efficient. We made star-trips, changing our accommodation-bases only 5 times during the 4-weeks trip. The German National Railways prices are not as expensive as most other european states. In this section we "cover" our stay in Lubeck. It includes our experiences from: Lubeck, Travemunde, Kiel, Plon, Schwerin and Wismar. Using trains and buses from /to Lubeck to all these wonderful destinations - is lucrative with affordable prices. As a group, youngsters or seniors - you get significant concessions.
From the railway station at Ulan Bator there's a van from the a guest house named Golden Gobi which provides free rides to the tourist area. You can use it to get to the guest house. I highly recommend not using the guest house's service. They are very bad people. Don't fall for the trap of their niceness. But you can catch the free ride with them.
Another tip - in Ulan Bator there aren't a lot of Taxis. A common way of transportation is paid hitchhiking. Make sure that before you leave the guesthouse you have a note written with where you want to go, and more importantly to where you want to get back to. You just hitchhike, show the note and agree on the price (2000-7000 tögrög for a drive), and you're on your way.
Surat is one of the most popular historic tourist destination with beautifully built historic monuments and a number of other architectural structures which attracts a number of tourist into the city every year. The state has all the monumental beauty that a photographic freak like me need to capture. Living in this city most of the time all I had in my collection was monuments and historic buildings until I decided to visit Kerala. Kerala is a land which could be better said as a land with a complete photographic package. Monuments, buildings, nature, wild, vegetation, culture, tradition and much more the land is so full of elements that any photographer would love to capture.
It was on the 13th of November that I visited Kerala to explore the photographic elements of the land. Like every traveller, I too availed one of the Best Surat to Kerala tour packages which were organised by Holiday Mango Travel. After 3 hrs of travel on the flight, I finally reached Cochin international airport on the 13th of November by 6 am. After reaching airport I was welcomed by the tour operators who led me to the taxi that was waiting for me. From the airport, we went straight to the hotel which was already booked for me. The services which were offered by the tour operators were fabulous. After checking into the hotel and refreshing I decided to start the tour of the place. One of the main reason for me to visit Kerala was to capture the beauty of the wildlife in the state. After freshening and having the breakfast I started to explore the city and its wild with my camera.
According to my plan, this trip only included the destinations with natural beauty and wild. My first destination for the day was Parambikkulam wildlife sanctuary which was located near Palakkad district which was about 2 hrs from Kochi. After the long ride, I reached the place by 10 am. The place is one of the best wildlife destination I have ever see. Being in Surat for so long this wildlife destination in Kerala was more like a treat to the eye. covering over 285 km the place was one of the best destination known for the presence of crocodiles, tigers, wild elephants, wild boar and many more wild animals. After reaching the place I decided to enjoy trekking so that I could take a closer look at the wild and if lucky enough get a glimpse of the animals in the place so that I could click some fascinating photos of the wildlife. After trekking around the forest for around 30 minutes I finally spotted a group of elephants. Gaining some strength somehow I with my tour guide and the forest office came a bit closer to the elephant group to get some decent picks of the animals. After getting the pics of the elephants I decided to trek for another 30 min pushing my luck a bit further. But my bad I couldn't find any other wild animals in the place. By 1.30 I finished my trekking in the Parambikkulam wildlife sanctuary and moved on to my second destination of the day.
The Silent Valley National Park, which too was located in Palakkad district. After travelling or an hour, I finally reached my second destination of the day by 2.30 pm. covered over 90sq. km this place is one of the smallest wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala which holds the only rain forest in the country. The place is very beautiful with rich vegetation and waterfalls that fascinate the travellers. Some of the main wild animals found in the area include elephants, jaguar, tiger, bear, and the endangered lion-tailed macaque. After walking through the sanctuary for a while all I could find was some monkeys and a wide variety of bird species. Other than taking the pictures of birds and monkeys, in particular, I saw a deer which was beautiful, it was not possible to go too near the deer at that would frighten it so all I could do was to a long shot of the animal. By the time I finished exploring the beauty of the place it was 5.30 and too late for me. So I decided to get back to the hotel, after another long drive I reached back to my room by 8.30 pm. By 9.30 I decided to freshen up and have dinner, after having the dinner I came back to the room by 10.30 and slept without making any delays.
Next day morning I woke up by 9.30 am, after having the complimentary breakfast and freshening up I checked out of the hotel by 11 am. It was my last day in Kerala, after visiting one more wildlife destination I was to return to Surat. My last destination of the trip was to a well-known honeymoon destination in Kerala, Munnar. The place was known for its beautiful green plantations and freezing climate which provided the couples with a perfectly romantic ambience. Munnar is a place located in the Western Ghats, most of the travellers visiting here are honeymooners and couples who visit the place availing different packages. The place being known to have a number of honeymooners visiting every year is a prominent destination in most Kerala honeymoon tour packages. But now I am here after travelling for about 3 hrs, not enjoy a honeymoon in the place but to explore the natural vegetation and wild in the land.
The destination I was to visit in the place was the very famous Eravikulam national park. Travelling for about 30 min from the Munnar city I finally reached the place by 2.30 pm. the park is a protected area to the Nilgiri Tahr. Trekking is one of the most known adventures in this small hill station. I too decided to enjoy trekking so that I could observe the wild from the closest view. Walking for a while I finally spotted a Nilgiri tahr which was protected in the area. The place was also known to house a number of animals other than the tahr, some of which includes tiger, leopard, giant squirrel and more. I decided to explore the place a bit more because it was probably the last time I was visiting the park. Apart from the tahr I also spotted the giant squirrel in the place and captured their beauty into my camera. I completed my photo shoot of the wild and the trekking in this beautiful honeymoon destination, Munnar by around 5.30pm. My flight back to Surat was by 10.00pm that day and so I travelled back to Kochi international airport and reached the place by 8.30pm.
I reached back to my place the next day early morning with all the memories of Kerala in my heart and the natural beauty of the wild and the vegetation in my camera. Kerala is one of the most beautiful destination to the south of the country with all the natural beauty, vegetation and monuments. The land has all that a nature lover, couples and a traveler needs. For nature lovers who wish to explore and experience the true beauty of nature and the wild Kerala is your best option.
Moving around the island is pretty easy. Most tourists take a sharing taxi, which leaves from Stone Town to the beaches and back. It usually cost $5 or 5000 TSH, depends on your bargaining skills. You can order a sharing from the hotels in Stone Town, or from the ones on the beach where you’ll stay. A taxi from the airport cost us $10, but on the way back we paid only 8000 TSH. We had better offers, but we preferred to order a taxi from the hotel, and not risk getting caught with a driver who had false license.