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Peru Trip

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Peru Trip - Page Text Content

S: Peru July 2 -July 12, 2010

BC: We woke up in the rainforest. Twenty eight hours of travel and thousands of miles behind us, now were going to sleep at home. What an incredible journey.

FC: Peru | Machu Picchu

1: Cusco | La Plaza de Armas

2: The Catholic church, Santo Domingo, built in 1534 on Inca sun temple foundations. Originally called Qorikancha. Foundations and sun temple were built in 1438. | Interior courtyard of Santo Domingo. On display are two Inca flags. | Closeup of the over 500 year old Incan foundations

3: Top : Marco explains meaning of a plaque in Santo Domingo | Cross on the side of Santo Domingo Church | Bottom: Standing behind Santo Domingo Bob, Marco, Chris, Joe and Josh

4: Josh standing in front of interior courtyard of Qorikancha | Windows from separate rooms line up perfectly

5: One stone cut to form part of an archway in Qorikancha Carved stones made with no metal tools

6: Street scenes in Cusco.

8: La Catedral was built on the north side of the La Plaza de Armas or Huacaypata, as the Inca referred to it. It is the location that the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro (1471-1541) announced the conquest of the Inca empire in 1533. Huacaypata translates into English as "Place of Tears." It was the heart of the city of Cusco. The city was originally laid out in the shape of the sacred Puma and the square was located in the location of the puma's heart. This was the ceremonial center of the Inca empire and where soil from conquered lands was brought to be placed with Incan soil.

9: Plaza De Armas was also known prior to Spanish conquest as Huacaypata to the Inca. | La Compañia de Jesus Jesuit church, built 1571 | La Catedral in La Plaza de Armas, Cusco

10: Crowds outside small store watching world cup soccer on a 12" TV | Shopping Plaza in Cusco | One of the store owners with her daughter sitting on the floor

11: Booths in the San Pedro Open Market selling supplies for shamans

12: Food for sale in Mercado San Pedro

13: Chris and Joe in the open market

14: Key machine powered by foot pedal | Vendor in traditional clothing | Walking through the meat stalls with Marco at the open market in Cusco

15: Top Left and Bottom Left: Vendors at the market in Cusco | Bottom Right: A picture that Bob could not resist to take: Co-ed bathroom at the open market. | Cusco | Machu Picchu | Pisaq

16: Guinea pig | Avocado and vegetables | Shrimp and pineapple | Left to right Jim, Joe, Bob, Chris, Josh, Marco | Band in the restaurant

17: Old Inca foundations with newer Spanish colonial buildings built on top of them. Jim and Chris walking down the street. | Opposite Page : Shopping plaza we ate dinner at in Cusco. First time we had one of their national drinks, Pisco Sour. Pisco sour is a grape brandy mixed with lemon juice, egg whites, simple syrup and bitters. Marco has one in front of him on the table.

18: Saqsaywaman | Josh Jim Bob Joe Chris

19: Entrance into Saqsaywaman. A large stone complex. Possibly an old fortress. Marco gives us a lecture on the possible uses of Saqsaywaman. The Inca had no written language so research continues as to its use.

20: Chris (below) and Jim (right) stand next to massive stones that were carved to fit intricately into the wall.

21: Jim and Josh | Josh, Chris, Joe and Bob listen to Marco describe possible building techniques

26: Soccer stadium Crest carved into mountainside | City of Cusco | Views from the top of Saqsaywaman

28: Tunnel in the Saqsaywaman religious complex. Inside the tunnel it is completely dark as you feel your way through with your hands. Josh and Bob show us the way through. Possibly a religious rite of rebirth, as described by our guide. You are only able to see the interior due to the flash on the camera.

29: Effigies hung in trees as part of yearly celebration for family and friends. | Children selling necklaces outside of the tunnel in Saqsaywaman. | Eating a box lunch in the park at the Q'enqo religious site. 3km from Saqsaywaman in Cusco.

30: Sacred Valley

31: Opposite page: Vendors along the road at the entrance to the Sacred Valley Josh, Joe, Chris, Bob, and Jim on the road along the way into the Sacred Valley. Views of the Sacred Valley outside of Pisaq


33: Views of Pisaq Above: Homes in Pisaq. Farming the mountainside in the background. Above left: An old woman walking to the market in Pisaq. Left: Roadside on the way into Pisaq Opposite Page: Entrance to Pisaq Inca ruins

34: Top: Political ads on buildings outside Pisaq. | Open market and store fronts in Pisaq | On the right is the store where we bought jewelry

35: Above are two photos of a bakery we visited in Pisaq. Jim and Joe are walking over a dry stream bed that a few months earlier had flooded. The dirt stain can be seen on the side of the building. A young lady made empanadas in a wood fired oven for us to snack on. Below is a guinea pig castle used to raise the animals for the kitchen.

36: Archaeological ruins in Pisaq. On the right is an enlargement of the settlement at the top of the hillside

37: Right: Views of the terraces that were used for farming. Below: Bob; Bottom Right: Joe and Chris at the entrance to the Inca ruins in Pisaq.

38: Left: "Floating" steps set into a wall to get from one terrace to another. Bottom left: We stand with two children selling souvenirs to the visitors. Bottom right: Josh buying bracelets from the children

39: Josh sitting atop an ancient guard post at the Pisaq settlement | Joe and Marco | Joe and Bob

40: Joe and Chris debating the climb up the very old stairs | Burial caves in the hillside

41: Pictures of the Incan Sun temple in Pisaq | Jim and Bob

42: Ollantaytambo

43: Our next stop on our trip was Ollantaytambo. Some of the oldest continuously occupied buildings in South America are here. It also served as a capital of the Inca empire for a period of time in the 15th century. Left: Restaurant and the hotel where we stayed. Note the deep channel in the courtyard. Water runs through these small canals throughout the city. Opposite page: Archaeological ruins at Ollantaytambo | The hotel lobby had an extensive collection of traditional Peruvian hats.

44: Street scenes from Ollantaytambo. Above: Another example of a water canal in the streets. Our hotel is on the left Top Right: An old woman sells grass for guinea pigs. Right: An occupied ancient dwelling.

45: This is the house we visited in town. The owners had traditional religious altars to their family. Bottom Left: An altar dedicated to their ancestors with two skulls and offerings. Bottom Right: Altar with food offerings and a figure used to smoke rolled tobacco. She also has a collection of Inca era artifacts.

46: Above: When we visited the home in Ollantaytambo, we brought grass for the guinea pigs from the street vendor. The guinea pigs are free on the floor of the kitchen area. Notice the wood fired cooking area on the left. Top Right: Artifacts collected by our host. Bottom Right: Marco demonstrates an Inca era field plow for tilling the terraces.

47: Views of the temple complex at Ollantaytambo. Materials for construction were carried from a stone quarry 5 km away. Bottom Left: Marco describes the the history of the complex. Notice the "floating steps" in the wall in the background. Below: Josh and Chris coming down from the temple complex summit.

49: Above: A double arch in an entryway was an indication of an important location. Only the highest in society were allowed to enter. Top Left: Josh at the Temple Summit Opposite page: Temple summit; it was left unfinished. The wall has been standing for over 500 hundred years. Bottom left: is a stone that was carved to fit in the wall, left on its side during construction. Top Right: black box added to the photo shows a bas-relief carving of an Inca cross. | Right: Notice the extreme precision of the stonework. Only stone tools were used to shape and set the stones. Even after 500 hundred years most are still exactly where they were placed. Bottom: Symmetry was very important

50: Grain storage complex on the hillside across town from the temple complex. From the point of access, it was a very secure location . The town of Ollantaytambo is in the shadow of the mountain Below: close-up photos of the grain complex.

51: At dawn, Chris, Josh, and Jim met the guide who would accompany them for the hike on the Inca trail. They would take a train ride and get off at the trail head for a one day hike. Ollantaytambo is the starting point for most Inca trail hiking. Some hikes are up to four days long. Their hike took eight hours and was approximately 8,000 - 10,000 feet above sea level.

52: Joe and Bob took the train to Aguas Calientes. The city in the valley below Machu Picchu. Josh, Chris, and Jim met him there. The photos below show the Urubamba river and some of the destruction from spring rains. A new retaining wall has been built in this recent washout. Notice the bent rail on the ground from storm damage in the picture on the right. On the opposite page are scenes from the train ride.

54: After getting off the train, we were at the trail head for a one day hike to Machu Picchu. The hike would take eight hours while trekking in high altitudes. The Inca had an extensive trail system connecting over 25,000 miles of trails and roads.

55: At the trail head we crossed the Urubamba river on a suspension bridge to start our hike up the Inca Trail.

56: Our first stop was a small complex of stone buildings at Chachabamba. Not far from the river, its name is derived from the noise of the Urubamba river. As well as being an important religious complex, the site may have also guarded the route to Machu Picchu. The photo on the left shows a substantial altar.

57: The following pages are scenes from the Inca Trail. In this picture you can see a hydro station and the Urbamba river in the bottom right corner. Jim, Chris, and the guide are climbing the stairs

58: Picture of the train along the river from the trail

60: Archaeological marker and view of Wiñaywayna from the Inca Trail | kgkjhhjgj

62: A rare mountain toucan we saw on the trail

63: Chris climbing stairs called the "Gringo Killer" | Cloud forest on the Inca trail

64: Intipunku : The main entrance to Machu Picchu and the end of our hike, Altitude 2720 meters. | Our first view of Machu Picchu from Intipunku which translates in English to the "Sun Gate"

65: Josh entering through ancient main gate into the "Lost City of the Inca," Machu Picchu. The Inca started construction in 1430 and continued for over 100 years at an elevation of 8,000 feet above sea level. Huayna Picchu is the mountain backdrop to the city.

66: Aguas Calientes is a small city in the Urubamba Valley below Machu Picchu. It is the end of the railroad line from Cusco. We stayed there for two nights while exploring the region. Three months prior to our arrival, there had been a severe flood washing out all access to the city. Completely cut off from the outside world, helicopters were brought in to rescue the tourists. This flood delayed our trip to Peru from April to July | Street scenes outside our hotel in Aguas Calientes

67: Men repairing flood damage in the city | Natural hot spring baths | Pizza Restaurant in Aguas Calientes | Pizza topper made of carrot

68: Left Top: Joe and Bob at the Machu Picchu. Top Right: buildings in Machu Picchu. Bottom Left: Men planting mountain vermilion in Machu Picchu. Bottom right: Chris found a very narrow trail.

69: Rock quarry in Machu Picchu | Chris could not believe that there could possibly be more steps. Right: Chris sits to enjoy the view. Left: Josh climbing to the top of Machu Picchu

70: Marco demonstrates how ceremonial Inca mummies were probably kept in the niche in the Condor Temple. | The Condor Temple was a location of possible religious ceremonies of sacrifice. Inca mummies were thought to be brought there for the ceremonies. Notice the stairs at the entrance of the Condor Temple. If the stairs were set on their side, Marco theorizes that it may be a map of the mountains where the Inca mysteriously disappeared to. | Opposite page top: Intuhuantana: Which translates to "grabbing the sun." It was believed that the Inca tied the sun to the hitching post to keep it from escaping the earth during special religious ceremonies.

71: Left: Temple of The Three Windows. Right: In front of the temple is an Inca cross 1/2 buried in the ground. At certain times of the day a shadow creates the other half, symbolizing the underworld. | Inca cross

72: Top left: Sun Temple in center of the religious complex; it was the most important temple to the Inca. Top Right: View of the Sun Temple from above. The temple dedicated to water is under the thatched roof on the left. The Inca leader lived next to these temples to the left. Note the excavation pit to the right of the temple. Bottom right: Interior of the Sun Temple showing the altar.

73: Top left: Organic sculpture. The rock seen here is carved to resemble the profile of the mountains in the background | Top right: Amazing stone masonry at the Condor Temple. Left: A stone carved altar at Sunrise. Right: In a temple without a roof, two stone bowls are carved into the floor. They are used to see the reflection of the stars for astronomical observations.

74: Machu Picchu at sunrise, 5:30 am | Agricultural terraces in the city.

75: Top Right: Chris and Marco looking into the Urubamba Valley from a terrace in Machu Picchu. Left: Plaque honoring the man who rediscovered the lost city of Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham of Yale University. Right: Marco very proudly points at the one stone in Machu Picchu that he helped to place during restoration. | Machu Picchu at sunset.

76: Flying over the Andes Mountains from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, where our trip into the Amazon River Basin began.

77: When we arrived in Puerto Maldonado we were greeted by a guide and transported to the reception center for Rainforest Expeditions. At the reception center, we separated our luggage and left what we did not need until we returned. The picture on the bottom left of the page shows our last opportunity to purchase snacks until we returned. On the right is our first rain forest meal: local fruit juice, banana chips, local fruit, and Brazil nuts.

78: Boarding for our trip up the Tambopata River on the first leg of the trip to the Refugio Amazonas research lodge. Our final destination was the Tambopata Research Center, ten hours up the river from Puerto Maldonaldo, 160km away.

79: Top Left: People harvest lumber Top Right: Small banana farm on the river | Bottom right: A family along the river takes time out to wave as we pass on the river.

80: Our lunch on the boat came in a banana leaf with Rice, chicken, and hard boiled egg | Below: Great Egret | Capybara: World's largest rodent. Note the black bird on it's back, grooming. | Caiman alligator: Adults range from two to four meters in length

81: After our first sunset in the Amazon Basin, we arrived at the Refugio Amazonas lodge and had a late meal before we headed off to bed. The exterior walls are open to the jungle for ventilation so the beds were netted. | Jim | Joe and Chris

82: After rising early, we had breakfast and left the lodge for a hike through the jungle back to the boat. We had to leave for the next leg of our trip up river to the Tambopata Research Lodge; approximately seven more hours on the boat. | Bananas in a screened cupboard kept the monkeys from eating breakfast before we did.

83: Top left: Gold miners dig in the river bottom and mix the sediments with mercury to capture the gold. They then bring the gold mercury compound back to the village and boil off the mercury to get the gold granules. Top right: Locals harvesting bananas | Upon entering the 70 million acre Tambopata Preserve in the Amazon River Basin, we had to disembark the boat. After climbing the river bank, we came to the official check-in point with an up-to-date communications facility. Here we had to have our passports stamped.

84: The trip was not always as easy as it looked. During the trip, our guide had to get out of the boat on numerous occasions to assist in shallow water areas

85: After two days of travel up the Tambopata River, we arrived at the research center on a cloudy, misty evening. This center is the same location that National Geographic had spent a month filming macaws the previous summer.

86: When we arrived, it was evening and oil lamps lit up the compound. Just remember, when they say lights out at 9:00PM, they mean it.

87: Rule one: All shoes off when walking "indoors". Rule two: Joe has to get the bats out of his bedroom walls before he can sleep. He didn't realize that is what they gave us the nets over the beds for.

88: Bob, Joe, Chris, Jim, and Josh stand at the base of a ficus tree that reaches more than 100 feet Spiders, spiders everywhere. Top: A tarantula in a hole below a tree. Below: A Brazilian Wandering Spider, 18 times more poisonous than a black widow.

89: ANTS, ANTS, ANTS!!! | We always told Josh to be careful with what you put in your mouth. Just because Fernando said you can eat termites doesn't mean you should. | Bullet ants up to one inch long | Trail of army ants | Leafcutter ants on a tree trunk

90: After a long hike in the rainforest, it was time for a rest before dinner. Often, hikes started at daybreak. | Bob Joe | Above: Spider Monkey

91: Top: Spider Monkeys Bottom Left: Dusky Titi Monkey Bottom Right: Red Howler Monkey. Their call can be heard for up to 2 km.

92: One of the reasons to go to Tambopata Research Center is to see one of the largest known clay licks in South America. This is a location that parrots and macaws come to eat in the morning. On the first day, no birds came. On the second day, Joe, Chris and Bob did not feel like getting up at 4:00AM and fording the shallow river. Josh and Jim set out with our guide and a Scottish family also staying at the lodge. The next day was successful. The noise of the birds was not only exciting, but deafening.

93: The clay lick is across the river from where we sat. The scarlet macaw descend most mornings to eat small portions of clay to aid in digestion. | Blue-headed parrots came to the clay lick first.

94: The Macaw project of Tambopata builds artificial nests for the endangered birds to breed in.

95: Posing before our last hike to the river to begin our trip to the Posada lodge and then for home the next day. Josh, Jim, Bob, Joe, and Chris are in the back row. In front of us are Sir Brian and Lady Ivory with their family from Scotland. In the front row is a mother and daughter that came in on our last day there from Rochester, NY. One of the guides is standing behind the telescope. | ihoihoiefho;i | Scarlet Macaw

96: After coming down river from Tambopata lodge, we stopped on the way to Posada lodge at Otter Pond. Chris learned a new form of boat navigation and although we did not see any otters we did see some birds. Josh continued ahead of us to do a 125 foot rope climb up a tree to the canopy.

97: We hiked through the jungle in the predawn hours. We climbed the canopy tower to watch the sunrise and the parrots that feed early in the morning. Joe and Chris did not have enough time to climb the tower. Or was it too high? | Today was our last day in Peru. We were about to start our trip back home, which would take approximately 28 hours. We were out of our beds by 4am

98: Upon our arrival in Lima, we had a three hour layover. We hired a driver at the airport to show us some of the city. He did not speak English; luckily we had Josh to translate for us. We went to the church of San Francisco Solano where in the crypt they had 25,000 skeletal remains. In the main square, Plaza Mayor, there was a large screen set up for World Cup soccer finals.

99: Plaza Mayor is home to the presidential palace, Palacio de Gobierno del Peru. During colonial occupation, the head of the Spanish Peruvian colony built the original structure over an ancient Peruvian cemetery. The structure was known as Pizarro's house. The current modern palace was built in 1937, over the original structure. After sightseeing, we had dinner at a restaurant on the ocean. Before saying goodbye to Peru, Josh had to dip his feet into the Pacific Ocean for the first time at the beach behind the restaurant.

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