The Connection Bernards-Ridge Edition April/May 2017
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$ 20 Off your purchase of $100 or more! Expires 5/31/17. In stock merchandise only. One per customer. Cannot be combined with other offers. Mastro Shoes, 20 Mine Brook Road, Bernardsville Mon-Sat: 10am-7pm 908-766-4311 Great styles for men, women and children Extended sizes and widths Walk in...step out in style & comfort Since 1952 I hav e always dreamed about going to Mach u Picchu but it seemed so unrea chable and difficult to get to. I thought between the high elevations, hiking, and camping, it would be too difficult but it would also be a wonder- ful and educational family adventure. The history, culture, and cuisine would be so very different from rural northern New Jersey; we decided it was some- where we had to go. Nine of us were hoping to take this trip with ages ranging from 8-68 as well as a range of physical abilities. It would be quite a logistical puzzle to get around and see everything and still be afford- able. We decided a loosely guided tour was best for us and then we can fill in any gaps. We chose a trip with Mono- grams. A tour like this would provide us with all our transportation, a local guide at each destination and our accommodations. Just like that all of our puzzle pieces were coming togeth- er and the trip was coming to fruition. We took the trip in April. We knew the weather would be unpredictable so we packed many layers and were prepared for it all. Each child packed his or her own pack filled with snacks and enter- tainment for travel days. They were each given a scavenger hunt, and a fun “quiz” that would guide them through the entire trip so they stayed interested and hopefully absorbed the sites. We spent warm days exploring all of Lima overlooking the Pacific traveling from one beautiful scenic area to another. We enjoyed Alpaca farms, his- torical sights, small farmers markets with everything from fresh fruit to roasted guinea pigs on sticks and we even hit a cow with our van! When we arrived at the high elevation in Cusco we were all prepared. We lis- tened to all the suggested ways to avoid altitude sickness and were glad we did. From Cusco we continued on to Aguas Calientes. An amazing little town built at the base of Machu Pic- chu. The town was filled with people for one reason - to see Machu Picchu. All the hikers who took the long Inca trail come together with those of us who had the same dream to see Machu Picchu but not willing or able to hike for 4 days to get there. We woke up at sunrise to catch the very first bus up the mountain. The bus climbed the switchbacks as the sun was starting to rise and the clouds were now below us. It was unbeliev- able. The view we had all seen in books was now in front of us. It was even more amazing than our imaginations. We spent the morning taking it all in and exploring. We tried to capture this moment with many photos and deep breaths. The trip back to Lima was a bit of a blur overshadowed by what we had just experienced. With our guide and all of our transportation taken care of for us we could sit back, review all our photos and share our favorite highlights with each other. I particularly loved looking at the kids cameras and seeing what they captured and hearing them tell stories of how their friends will be shocked they ate a guinea pig! Time to start planning our next adventure! FAMILY TRAVEL EXPERT By: Pam Christiansen, Rainbow Travel Route 206 Chester, NJ 1-800-468-2367