S: Peru 2011
BC: A never to be forgotten experience.
FC: Peru 2011
1: Trip Itinerary Mon, 26 Sep Lima -- Larco Museum, , Inquisition Museum Tues, 27 Sep Lima -- National Museum, , Cathedral Wed, 28 Sep Paracas, Ballestas , Islands Thur, 29 Sep Nazca Lines , Fri, 30 Sep Cusco, Saqsaywaman , Sat, 1 Oct Ollantaytambo, , Machu Picchu Sun, 2 Oct Machu Picchu , Mon, 3 Oct Cusco, Temple of Sun , (Monastery of Santo Domingo) Tues, 4 Oct Lake Titicaca, Uros Islands, , Tacquile Island Wed, 5 Oct Estancia Atuncolla, , Sillustani chullpas Thur, 6 Oct Lima -- Archeology , Museum, Huaca Pucllana | This trip required multiple forms of transportation in addition to bus and taxi | Speedboat to Ballestas Islands | High wing 12 passenger Cessna 208B Caravan overflying Nazca Lines | Vistadome train from Ollantaytambo in Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu
2: The tour covered two of Peru's three climate zones -- coastal desert and mountain highlands. The jungle will wait. | Paracas desert and islands | Sacred Valley highlands | Peruvian geography
3: The many faces of Peru | Dancers in a Larco Del Mar restaurant, Lima | Along tracks for train to Machu Picchu | Ollantaytambo pedestrian street | At bus stop overlooking Sacred Valley
4: Nine million people, 250,000 taxis. A city of contrasts. Modern buildings mix with beautiful old churches, all surrounded by middle class neighborhoods that look like slums. Bits of kitsch are thrown in for good measure. | Tour hotel | San Francisco monastery with catacombs | Half constructed buildings house people and small shops. Three wheeled taxis are a favored, and cheap, form of transportation. | Love park on beach built expressly for annual mass marriages. | Lima
5: Pizarro's resting place | Lima cathedral
6: Thousand year old fabric and carved stele from Archeological Museum. | Pre-Incan carvings and gold finery from Larco Museum. | Sixteenth century masks from National Museum. Mask on right mocks the Spanish conquerors. | Examples from 3 Lima museum collections
7: This ceramic of a dead man is among the tamest in the Larco Museum's extensive erotic collection. Pre-Incan peoples believed death was just another phase of life. | Pre-Incan ceramics display tremendous variety
8: Pucllana Huaca | Lima has several huacas, large pre-Incan pyramidal ceremonial and administrative sites. The small stature of the builders can be seen from the life-size figures next to me on the left. The Pucllana huaca is an active archeological dig where mummies were recently discovered entombed in the walls. Pucllana was an easy walk from our hotel in Miraflores. Several of our group enjoyed a gourmet lunch at a restaurant overlooking the site.
9: Bookshelf construction technique required millions of sun-dried bricks. | Administrative plaza | Replicas of mummified remains. Pre-Incan cultures treated their ancestors with honor.
10: Underneath the floor were the cramped passages leading to the dungeons where the prisoners were kept. | The main level of this 16th century mansion was used by the Inquisition tribunal to hear the cases. | Inquisition Museum in Lima
11: Santo Domingo Monastery in Cusco | The monastery is built upon the original foundation of the Temple of the Sun, which had been covered in gold and silver, and which the Spaniards destroyed. | Incan engineering skills are evident in the perfectly aligned windows of three adjacent rooms of the original temple. | Carved door
12: Peruvian boobies and their guano | Humboldt penguins | Pelicans
13: Ballestas Islands | Cormorants | Bull with harem | Candelabra -- creators unknown | Sea lions
14: Nazca Lines | My traveling companions -- ten high school girls from Columbia | Astronaut | Hummingbird | Monkey
15: Spiral | Dog | Whale | Spider | Hands -- viewable from observation tower by road
16: Carefully crafted terraces cascade down the mountainside. Everything was imported, including the gravel and soil used to fill in behind the terrace walls. | Massive blocks at top of terraces, adorned with a bas-relief. | Intricately fitted granite blocks all hand shaped and positioned using bumps left for the purpose. | Ollantaytambo | (Sacred Valley)
17: Sacred Valley tour guide Rudy describing an overhead photo of the site. | (Cusco) | Resident alpacas | Portion of wall | 100 ton granite boulder behind me was moved to site without use of the wheel, and then shaped with hand tools.
18: Machu Picchu | Classic view from the guardhouse
19: The altitude at Machu Picchu is roughly 8000 feet. The number of visitors is limited to 2200 per day. | Terraces served two purposes. The steep sides provided protection against invaders. The fertile soil could feed four times the number of inhabitants.
20: Machu Picchu | Granite boulders were shaped to exactly mimic the mountains behind. | Springs were tapped to channel water throughout the site. | Food preparation area
21: Fine stonework craftsmanship is evident throughout the site. Even though no mortar was used, it is impossible to slip a blade of grass into a joint. | Royal tomb
22: Wild turkey on Inca Trail | Machu Picchu -- | Start of Inca Trail to Sun Gate
23: in the morning mist | View from Sun Gate -- 1000 feet above Machu Picchu | Post Office along Inca Trail where runners passed messages
24: Atuncolla estancia | An estancia is a rural estate similar to a ranch. We visited this estancia near Atuncolla. A variety of animals are raised, including llama and guanaco. Potatoes are a principal crop. The gate to the compound is topped by two ceramic bulls for good fortune. | Guinea pigs are raised for sale to restaurants. I was able to enjoy this Peruvian delicacy in Cusco.
25: Guanaco -- a close relative of the llama | The "pharmacy" hangs by the door to the house | A cooking pot decorates a wall | The outdoor kitchen
26: Sillustani chullpas | Chullpas are pre-Incan funerary towers. Over 50 are located at the Sillustani site. This is an active dig where bodies of 5 pre-Incan children had been found only 3 weeks earlier.
27: Many towers are carefully shaped as inverted cones. Others, like those on the right, are less refined. | The sacred circle | The bas-relief lizard that gives this tower its name
28: Lake Titicaca and the Uros Islands | Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake, at an altitude of 12500 feet. The 100 mile long lake reaches a depth of 900 feet, but the large bay pictured is just 9 feet deep. This is where the Uros build their floating islands out of totora reeds. The reeds rot away so fresh layers (the green reeds) are laid down every 3 months. The houses placed on top of the reeds are rebuilt every 6 months.
29: I enjoyed a ride up top | Boarding a reed boat for a cruise to a nearby island | Making crafts for tourists | Cooking fish on a stove placed on a rock slab. Reeds are used for fuel.
30: Taquile Island | (Lake Titicaca) | The island tradition is that weaving is done only by women, and knitting is done only by men. All women wear black shawls. | Soap made from native plants is used to wash the wool. | All males wear hats with tassels. Adolescents wear the tassel in back, a man busy with a job wears it to the right, while a man available for work wears it to the left. | Children have no responsibilities until they are 5.
31: A few of the foods I enjoyed | Guinea pig. Yes, I ate this Peruvian delicacy, and found it to be extraordinarily tasty, albeit a bit bony. | Sea bass encrusted in quinoa, on a bed of asparagus. | Chicha morado -- a drink made from the purple corn shown. | Raw tuna medallions served with an avocado and bacon salad. | (I enjoyed many others as well, such as ceviche, alpaca, beef hearts, and pisco sour.)
32: Parting shots | Lima guide Milagros (Milly) and tour director Cynthia | The three "singles" in the group -- Steve, Jane, and Terri | Survivors of the climb to the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu | Jane and Terri dancing on Taquile Island