After such an amazing vacation, it is difficult to know where to start telling the tales. Chronological order seems appropriate, but sometimes "good news - bad news" works well. So, I will start with the bad news.
After four days of trekking the Inca Trail and taking gillions of photos of amazing scenery and fun friends, we got back to the hotel tired and worn out and discovered that my camera was gone. I had carried that camera in my front pocket for those four days on the trail - up and down mountains, across raging rivers, zip lining, resting on rocks, eating in the jungle, climbing Machu Picchu, etc. That camera stayed with me in easy reach to take lots of photos. I never dropped it once. Then after walking through Cusco to our hostel, it was gone. I consoled myself with the fact that the camera was three years old and a bit outdated, and Jesse takes more pictures than I do with her little camera. We often take similar pictures having an artist's eye for things. But I was sad that I lost some great shots and memories. The next morning at breakfast I mentioned that I truly thought my camera had been stolen - pick pocketed! Jesse poo-pooed that idea saying that I had just lost it - that no way could someone have taken my camera from my pocket without me knowing. Well, it was possible that I had just lost the camera, but I still felt like it had been lifted from my pocket. So, we went about our day in Cusco - Toby and I staying close to the hostel to rest and Shay, Lindz, and Jess going further into the city exploring. Later that afternoon, Jesse met up with us at the hostel - big tears in her eyes - her camera was gone. She had been carrying it in her front pocket. Then she totally broke down and cried - mostly because she was tired and needing some rest. Dang those stinkin' thieves! Both cameras are of little use without the battery charger and will not be worth anything to anyone. They did not just steal our cameras, but they stole our memories.
Since I started my tales in the middle of the vacation, I might as well continue. Here is what happened next. Toby and I had been sitting on a balcony of sorts at the hostel reading
our books and watching the sun go down on Cusco and the night lights
come on, which was very beautiful. I had bought Toby the book, "Twelve Mighty Orphans" by Jim Dent, and he had just started reading it. That is when Jesse showed up with tears and broke down crying. She then decided she had better go take a nap and rest up a bit. I turned to look at Toby and he, too, had big tears in his eyes. "Not you too?" I said. He replied, "I just started this book and I have cried three times. It reminds me so much of your dad." So, I teared up too - thinking about Dad and how much he loved football and kids - especially kids who needed a dad in their lives. And I teared up because it is pretty special that Toby loved my dad and had great respect for him. And Dad loved Toby. I know, because Dad told me so. Funny - it happened to be June 12th - my dad's birthday.
I do happen to have a photo of the balcony. Jesse also took her old phone which is a great little camera and we could use it for internet. So, we did get a some pics of the second half of our trip.