TR: Cedar Point Opening Weekend (5/8 – 5/9/2015)

So why are we going back to Cedar Point this upcoming weekend? I know the answers are bad ones: We have had fun in the past, we want to believe it is still fun, we think it will be much better with different weather later in the year; just stuff that denotes us as dumb marks willing to spend our money badly. Look, I want to have fun really really bad, but at this point my expectations are set so low that so long as I’m not raped at knife point, I’ll probably give it a thumbs up.

Two years ago, Meredith and I swore off Cedar Point opening weekend. It is terrible, we decried! The rides barely work, the weather is awful, and the employees inefficient! And yet, here we are going back again like we hadn’t learned our lessons. Or had we? Rather than risk staying in a hotel on its first night of operation by selecting the Breakers, we opted for an outside motel, the Motel 6 Sandusky-Milan to rest. And instead of blowing out a bunch of money on a whole weekend, we opted to take a couple of hours off work, go to the first Cedar Point passholder night ever, and then visit the park until, well, whenever we were ready to depart. The only question – when would that be? Continue reading

TR: Cleveland City Fun (4/25 – 4/26/2015)

Our travels have taken us to many of the greatest cities in the United States and Europe to do a wide variety of things. And yet, with all that we’ve done, we measure our experience with what we have yet to do. When plotting what might make a really fun anniversary trip, we admired several different places and ideas, most of which we had been to before. Then an idea – what about Cleveland? Yes, what about it? The “Mistake By The Lake” is a punching bag of coastal superiority, but this year has seen the return of LeBron and an Indians team that isn’t terrible to represent it to the rest of the nation. But like Detroit, Cincinnati, and so many others, there’s a lot more to it than that. Continue reading

TR: Peru Trip 2015 Pt. 7 – Lima – Cuisine & Conclusion (3/14/2015)

Our final day in Lima, Peru was like most of those that Americans have – a day filled with activity simply because you have no choice but to be. Flights into Lima generally land very late at night, and more often than not, those same planes are refueled and sent back to the States approximately 90 minutes after landing, filled with passengers. We knew this going in and it was my job to plan accordingly. To wit; I arranged for us two light adventures to occupy our day, fill our stomachs, and venture into the center of the city.

At 9AM, we went down to the lobby and waited for our guide Arturo to appear. He was the owner/operator/guide of Lima Tasty Tours, a well regarded tour operator according to Tripadvisor, and his mission on this particular day was to take us around Lima to see the sights and get us fed. Privately setting up a tour was something I wanted because my wife is a vegetarian and it seemed like the best way to make sure her needs were met and we had things we could both enjoy. Before leaving, I was also able to obtain a 6PM check out from our hotel room – then we’d have a few minutes to freshen up after the tour. How civilized. Continue reading

TR: Peru Trip 2015 Pt. 6 – Study In Contrasts: Lima, Callao, & Islas Palomino (3/12-13/2015)

Stuffing our faces with all the free food that would fit in them seemed like a good idea before we returned to Cusco airport. We were again following the directions of LAN Peru and their request to arrive 2 hours prior to departure. Like in Lima, we found ourselves quickly moving through security and deeply bored inside. Cusco’s airport is antiquated for the amount of traffic it sees, and there’s increasing chatter about setting up a new airfield somewhere else in the valley. I’m not sure there’s any convenient place to put it, but the present location chucks it in the center of the metropolitan area, separated by high retaining walls from the apartments, arenas, stores, and businesses surrounding it. There’s another opportunity here to buy vicuna sweaters and silver goods – I chose to skip this invitation for gross consumerist activity. I don’t regret it. OK, maybe I wish I bought a hammered silver Incan king figure. Those were pretty amazing. On board, we enjoyed more Québécois practical jokes and gagged at the roasted fava beans produced in our LAN snack packs. Continue reading

TR: Peru Trip 2015 Pt. 5 – Urban Examination: Cusco (3/10-3/12/2015)

We wished the doorman farewell at the Tambo Del Inka as my wife and I jumped in the cab and took off for Cusco. Our five nights at the resort were nice and a good way to acclimate to high altitude, which would serve us well in Cusco, 11,500 feet above sea level. By the time we left, my wife was off Diamox and I was seriously thinking about doing the same. We actually ended up with some pretty gnarly sunburns in Ollantaytambo, and I was happy to have brought the aloe with me. Diamox is wonderful for dealing with altitude, but the side effects of “stuff tastes weird sometimes” and “you get sunburned in seconds” are a bit unfortunate. Keep that in mind if you ever get yourself a prescription.

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TR: Peru Trip 2015 Pt. 4 – Additional Exploration On A Theme; Ollantaytambo (3/9/2015)

Our last day spent at the Tambo Del Inka would feature a half-day, “self guided” and entirely self invented tour of the nearby town of Ollantaytambo (pronounced in gringoese: Ohl-Ahn-Tay-Tahmbo). From Urubamba, this is an easy thing to do – get a taxi to take you to the center of town, walk around, go to the ruins and buy yourself a Boleto Turistico (if you haven’t done so already), and cruise. You’re looking at a roughly 30 minute or so trip from Urubamba to the town square, and from there, a 5 minute walk is required to get you to the entrance of the archaeological park. Like everywhere else in Peru, a guide can be obtained upon entrance, though they are basically reading out of a book which can be purchased from one of the stands located near the entry way. Continue reading

TR: Peru Trip 2015 Pt. 3 – Experiential Acquisition; Machu Picchu (3/7-3/8/2015)

In our experience, having something exciting that one looks forward to the following day means that setting the alarm clock is more or less an emergency measure. You do it because, hey, maybe you’ll be asleep, but realistically, you’ll probably instead flutter between consciousness and nervousness, only occasionally interceded with REM sleep. This was the case for the night prior to our 5:30 AM alarm informing us to rise, shine, and get ready for our train trip. Knowing food was forthcoming on the train, we skipped breakfast and hurriedly showered, dressed, and prepped my backpack for the trek ahead. Along with us, I took a bunch of rain gear, a couple collapsible canteens filled with water, train ticket info, and camera junk that I never used. Continue reading