S: A TRIP TO PERU September 25 - October 3, 2010 Colleen, Rob & Dad
2: In September, 2010, Rob, Sam (Dad) & Colleen decided to fulfill a dream trip wish and travel to Peru to see Machu Picchu. After much research and negotiating, we decided on a customized tour from Kensington Tours. Our itinerary consisted of: Saturday, September 25th - depart Miami for the 5 hour flight to Lima, Peru, arriving at 4:45 a.m. with a 5 hour layover before flying on to Cusco Sunday, September 26th - depart Lima on LAN and arrive in Cusco and rest while acclimatizing to the almost 12,000 ft. altitude of Cusco Monday, September 27th - Private day-long guided tour of the Sacred Valley & Pisac Market Tuesday, September 28th - travel to Aguas Calientes via the Hiram Bingham Train with an afternoon guided tour of Machu Picchu and tea at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge Wednesday, September 29th - visit Machu Picchu again before traveling back to Cusco on the Hiram Bingham Train Thursday, September 30th - Private, guided 1/2 day city tour of Cusco & local ruins Friday, October 1st - fly to Lima via LAN, 1/2 day private, guided Colonial City tour Saturday, October 2nd - Free day Sunday, October 3rd - depart Lima and return to Nashville
3: Rob taking a nap on the floor of the Lima International Airport after arriving at 4:45 a.m. After several curious stares and a walk-by from a security guard, we moved to an area near the gate with long benches for sleeping.
4: The entrance to our hotel in Cusco - Casa Andina Private Collection - located just 3 blocks from the Main Square in an 18th century former colonial home
5: Some photos taken on a brief and very slow walk around the hotel - needless to say, we were still adjusting to the high altitude and didn't walk far or for very long!
6: Dinner at what became our favorite restaurant in Cusco - Ciciiolina - it was so delicious we ate their 2 of our 3 nights in Cusco. The other restaurant we ate at was Pacha Papa which had a wonderful atmosphere set in a courtuard but was so dark we couldn't read our menus or see what we were eating!
7: Our second day in Cusco, we set out on our private tour to the Sacred Valley which lies to the north of Cusco. | The scenery was breathtaking and reminded Dad a lot of Colorado!
8: Our first stop was at an artisan village where we learned of the different types of animals used to make the gorgeous peruvian textiles. We were able to get very close to them! They all are part of the Camelidae Family (camel family!)
13: One of the artisans demonstrated how the wool is dyed with all natural ingredients - seeds, berries,... and we were able to shop for items made there! Colleen purchased alpaca stuffed animals for Stephen & Sam made with real baby alpaca wool and a hand-woven scarf for Mom. Rob and Colleen pose in front of a beautiful valley vista below. The bottom right pic is of a mountain with farm terraces built-in that are used in the growing season.
14: We stopped at a local market in Pisac. Above is a guinea pig habitat at the bakery where we sampled hand-made empanadas (guinea pigs are eaten in Peru, not kept as pets!) and purchased a few souvenirs, incl. watercolors of Machu Picchu from a local artist.
15: Tunupa Restaurant - a restaurant buffet of Peruvian specialties where we ate lunch with our guide, Mariela
16: Dad & Mariela walked down to the river after we finished lunch. Rob and Colleen were too exhausted - the altitude is 12,000+ ft. above sea level. Above are some local roosters, taken for Mom.
17: Photos of Ollantaytambo, a fortress built during the Inca Empire that served as a military outpost gate for the Incas and is an excellent sample of military architecture. The bottom left shows water still runs to the town below in the original waterway.
19: The snow-capped Andes in the distance - part of the spectacular vista of the Sacred Valley as we drove back to Cusco
20: The entrance to Papa Pacha below and the TINIEST cab we rode in. Rob could have picked it up!
21: Standing in front of the Hiram Bingham Train at the Poroy train station where we were greeted with Peruvian dancers and mimosas before departing at 9:15 a.m. The train is named after the famous explorer who discovered the citadel of Machu Picchu in 1911
22: On board the Hiram Bingham - a luxurious way to travel to Aguas Calientes and considered one of the top 10 train rides in the world! The following pages show the scenery of the plateau of Anta and the Urubamba Gorge.
28: To the right is a photo of a campsite of hikers along the Inca Trail on their way to Machu Picchu that we saw from the Hiram Bingham. Below are photos of Aguas Calientes upon arrival.
29: The breathtaking, zig-zagging bus route up to the mountains (7,800 ft. above sea level) where Machu Picchu awaits - buses drive visitors up and down all day long - it's quite an experience the first trip up and down but not so bad the second time!
31: Our first look, to the left, of Machu Picchu - one of the new 7 Wonders of the World
33: Machu Picchu was lost for centuries because it is located in the most inaccesible corner of a hard-to-reach section of the central Andes. No part of the highlands is better defended by nature with a stupendous canyon with sheer precipeses (1000+ ft. deep). Machu Picchu was a ceremonial city center and owned by the Royal leader of the Incas.
34: To the right is an example of the incredible no mortar construction. Below right, our Hiram Bingham guide shows us the Royal Residence.
36: While on tour the first afternoon, lightening struck the opposite mountain and caught fire.
37: Our guide shows us where he discovered something while excavating years ago on a dig.
38: The entrance, below left, to hike Huayna Picchu. Hikers arrive by 6:00 a.m. in order to gain entry.
42: Our hotel in Aguas Calientes, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, which consists of many casitas in a tropical jungle that is the entrance to the rain forest.
43: Photos of the grounds and many orchids which are native in this area.
46: Pictures of Aguas Calientes from the deck of the restaurant at our hotel. The hight we spent here, the town held one of their all-night parties with LOUD music. Colleen & Rob tossed all night while Dad slept peacefully and didn't hear a thing.
47: To the left is a photo of the Inca Trail & Sun Gate leading in to Machu Picchu. | To the right - a photo of Machu Picchu taken on the Inca Trail.
48: Our second day in Aguas Calientes, Rob did not feel well and slept in a hotel room all day while Dad & Colleen visited Machu Picchu with a private guide from the hotel in order to hike farther up the ruins and see the upper area we did not visit the first day. This day was THE BEST and offered the well-known photo shots seen of Machu Picchu.
49: A view of the Machu Picchu Santuary Lodge, an Orient Express hotel, where we had afternoon tea the first day. | A view from the Inca Trail of the other "little picchu" where sacrifices were made.
51: Below, the Watchman's Hut, which provides a wonderful view of Machu Picchu, and Dad walking near a precipice below right.
52: It's hard to gauge the steepness from the photos - but it was REALLY steep with no guide ropes or safety rails!
57: The official entrance to Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail used in the Inca empire. On the opposite page, Dad prepares to walk through.
61: Our last view before exiting Machu Picchu
62: Our trip to Machu Picchu ended with a four course delicious meal on the Hiram Bingham which took us back to the Poroy train station (a 20 min. drive from Cusco)
63: Our last day in Cusco, we enjoyed a 1/2 day tour of the city of Cusco. We started at the fortress of Sacsayhuaman just outside of the city.
64: A photo showing the size of the monoliths used to build the fortress.
65: A view of Cusco below At right - Mariela talking about the ruins Bottom right - one of the doorways
67: Another view of Cusco below. At right, Mariela shows us the Koricacnha Temple which was discovered after an earthquake revealed its existence in a Spanish monastery.
68: Views of Cusco and a mosaic tile map, below right, on the street. We also toured the Cathedral where cameras are not allowed.
69: We departed Cusco on LAN and arrived in Lima around noon. At right are photos taken while driving to our hotel in Lima.
70: Our hotel in Lima - Miraflores Park Plaza hotel - with views of the ocean from our rooms
71: That Friday afternoon, we took a private 1/2 day tour of Colonial and Modern Lima which included the Government Palace, the Cathedral at Plaza Mayor and the 17th c. San Francisco Convent.
78: Friday nite, we had dinner at a cool restaurant on the beach which was deserted due to the no-alcohol served 48 hours before an election.
79: Saturday, after a delicious breakfast in the rooftop restaurant of the hotel, we set out to look for an opal ring.
81: Views to the left of the open-air mall where we would return for lunch at Chili's and a beautiful park below on our shopping walk.
83: Dinner at Astrid & Gaston was absolutely delicious and divine - a lovely way to end our last night in Peru.
84: Our AA flight left Lima at 7 a.m. which meant we were picked up from our hotel at 4:30 a.m. by Lilly, our airport concierge. At left is a photo from the plane of Lima - typically hazy with cloud cover.
85: Our trip to Peru was a once-in-a-lifetime memorable experience that is worthy of being on everyone's Bucket List. The End until our next adventure together...