Friday, October 24, 2014

Uros: The floating Islands of Lake Titicaca

Uros, Lake Titicaca, Peru

According to Incan legend it was from within Lake Titicaca that the creator god Viracoca rose up to create the sun, moon, stars and the first human beings. Among these same waters lies another wonder, the man made floating Islands of Uros. Forty-two self fashioned Islands between the borders of Peru and Bolivia in which the Uros people took up residence hundreds of years ago when the Incas expanded onto their land. Their homes, furniture, boats, the Island they live on are all made from the totora reed which grows around them.

You can take half or full day tours around the Islands from Puno, Peru and the locals will show you their homes, chat with you about their history and take you for a ride in one of their amazingly built and beautiful reed boats. You can also take a 2 day 1 night tour and stay with the locals and let the Island rock you to sleep at night. Any way you choose to visit, it's not to be missed!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

42/52

"A portrait of my daughter once a week, every week in 2014"

Lottie Cakes: This may be my favorite photo thus far. Here you are perched at the top of the mountains in the clouds looking every bit the rebellious wild child you are. 

Ohhh, those Redheads!

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru

I have wanted to visit these ancient ruins for a long time, especially upon hearing they were close to closing up to the public, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to encounter. There are many ways to get to this long forgotten city including trekking for a chosen amount of days to Aguas Calientes and then hiking straight up the mountain until you reached your final destination. In my old, more free spirited days of hitchhiking, living with only what fit on my back and floating around to wherever life took me, maybe, MAYBE I would have gone that route. The thought of that journey with a 2 1/2 year old strapped to my back along with being almost 8,000 miles above sea level exhausted me and I booked the train, slept soundly in a local hostel and boarded a bus in the morning. 
A bus, what a peaceful way to reach your destination you're thinking, how lovely to stare out the window as you make your way up the mountain disappearing into the clouds daydreaming about the civilization that made this mountain their home. I was thinking the same and oh, how wrong I was! The bus drives up teetering over the edge of the growing mountain, taking sharp turns before teetering over it again and then coming head on with yet another of the ongoing buses making it to inch even closer to the side causing your imagination to start planning out the ways you would save yourself and your two year old squirming sidekick if the worst was to happen and this massive vehicle were to flip and was dangling only from the tiny, scraggly trees growing up the side of the mountain. Terrifying and overly dramatic, but if you've been there you know the fear! 
But as to be expected the destination was worth the ride. The amazement and wonder of the people who dared to climb so high and build such an intricate home in the clouds and why and how and where did they disappear to? The stone bricks so perfectly carved, they fit together so perfectly not even a piece of paper could fit between two adjoining sides. The different levels built, all with separate climates in order to grow a plethora of different fruits and vegetables. The water and drainage systems that still work to this day, it's truly a wonder in many senses of the word.
If you dare get there quick, in the next couple of years the wear and tear of 2,500 visitors a day, every day will come to an end as they shut up this amazing place in order to preserve it's beauty for the years to come.

Budget tips: 
Book your train tickets as far in advance as possible as there are different levels of trains and the cheapest "Backpacker" seats sell out super quick.

As soon as you book your tickets go to the government website and book your entrance to Machu Picchu. Here you will pay $44 as opposed to the $65 the agencies will charge.

Take your little ones to experience - kids under 8 are free of charge and from 8-17 are 50% the adult price!

Friday, October 17, 2014

41/52

"A portrait of my daughter once a week, every week in 2014"

Lottie Cakes: Here you are en route to Machu Picchu. This week we spent with your grandpa in Cusco, Peru exploring ruins, taking a side trip to one of the 7 world wonders (more on that later!) eating delicious food, market shopping and hanging out with your best tiny Peruvian friend Fabio. You've been a trouper and with only 3 weeks left of our 4 1/2 month journey We will be taking it easy, exploring islands, lounging at the beach and soaking in these last moments before we return home, settle in (for a bit ;)) and happily take in the Melbourne summertime. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stills: Home Sweet Home

"There's no place like Home"

1. Bossy Pants
2. Superstar
3. Mamas Baby
4. BBQ and Cutie Pie
5. Gone Fishin'
6. Sweet Sunshine
7. Puppy Love
8. Her favorite outfit
9. Racing Cousins
10. The Zoo Navigator
11. Star of the season
12. City fun
13. Fall into Autumn
14. First hail of the year
15. Hidden Flora
16. Home Sweet Home

Monday, October 6, 2014

40/52

"A portrait of my daughter once a week, every week in 2014" 

Lottie Cakes: Autumn in Ohio, it doesn't get anymore beautiful than this. The trees are turning magical shades of gold and amber and the weather is the perfect temperature. It's harvest season so there is a constant supply of festivals and fairs and fun to be had. There is pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING from coffees to pies to jams and cheeses to just about anything else you can imagine. In two days time we pack up to leave on our next adventure and while my heart is heavy leaving, the next leg is going to be an exciting end to 4 months of traveling and family time!

Next Stop ... Peru!!

Reading: Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies
Liane Moriarty

Entering the middle of our trip, home with the family and finally there was time to relax a bit. Kick my shoes off, hand over the beloved and wild toddler to the cuddly arms of long awaiting grandmothers and lose myself entirely into a brilliant story. Big Little Lies was the ultimate choice, intertwining story lines and characters, school house politics and witty writing, it doesn't get much better than that when you want to float away with a good novel and lose yourself for a bit. Poolside while ignoring the background music of delighted screams, splashes and tattles of little ones, I finished this book off in 48 hours and that was while trying to savor each bit. You'll find yourself relating to certain characters and recognizing the rest. As the story unfolds and the secrets and lies and the truths behind the characters facades are unveiled you will have a hard time putting this little gem down. 

What are you reading?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

39/52

"A portrait of my daughter once a week, every week in 2014"

Lottie Cakes:  ...Annnnd you're a big girl. Your chubby tummy and squishy little thighs have been replaced with a scrawny torso and knobby knees. You want to do everything yourself and refuse any help and you already know everything already - how did this happen so very fast?! Is two the new teenager? 
Luckily for me you still fit snuggly on my back on the way to the park, tucked your ergo, with your fingers playing in my hair as we chat away about whatever your imagination brings us that day (or I would be one sad mama). And luckier yet, I can still steal the occasional kiss and bedtime is reserved strictly for us and our cuddles and made up stories in the dark.
Goodbye baby, Hello my beautiful little girl.