S: Trip of a Lifetime March 2011
1: Our journey of a million miles was worth every step.
2: McDonalds, Burger King & Pizza Hut | Shopping at the Markets | Traveling fruit stand.
3: Lima, Peru | Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru. It is located on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A misty coastal fog is usually present in the air. The population is fast approaching 9 million.
4: Our hotel in Lima
5: The Lighthouse near Love Park
6: El Parque del Amor | This is a beautiful park overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The mosaic walls are scripted with romantic quotes and there is an enormous statue of two lovers embracing each other.
7: "Love Park"
9: Pacific Ocean | Overlooking the | Breathtaking sunsets
14: Government Building | Buildings in Lima
15: Parroquia La Virgen Milagrosa
16: A view of Love Park | Our favorite restaurant to eat and drink at in Lima... with a view of the ocean.
17: City Buses | Cigar and Pipe store | $$ truck | A playground in the Miraflores District. | Driving in Lima is a challenge. Drivers ignore the rules of the road and have no consideration for other motorists, and pedestrians as well. All we heard while walking along the streets and driving in taxi's was honking!!
18: This is a city rich in culture and full of history. The Cusco people are so friendly, the sights are amazing and the architecture and stone work are incredible. The experience of this beautiful city is unforgettable.
19: Everyone wanted money for this picture | Cusco
21: The People
22: Plaza de Armas | The plaza is located at the center of the city and is beautifully landscaped. Historically, the plaza has served as the city's primary meeting place. There are numerous cafe's, restaurants and stores surrounding it. | The Sights
23: Templo de La Compania de Jesus | This Jesuit Church was built in 1571. An earthquake destroyed it in 1650. It was eventually reconstructed 18 years later. The temple is decorated in Colonial Baroque architecture. The golden altarpiece is decorated with wreathed columns and there are many paintings and works of art throughout. | The plaza at night
24: Neighbouring temple built beside the Basilica De La Catedral
25: This is the main temple of the City of Cusco and is the headquarters of the Diocese of Cusco. The church was built in 1539.
27: Architecture | The
30: City streets are constructed with cobblestone and brick and are very narrow.. most of them are only one way. Sidewalks between buildings have gutters for the flow of rain water. | Markets and handcraft shops are setup one after the other all along streets.
32: Another temple located one block from the plaza. Because of earthquakes, this temple was rebuilt and restored more than once. Its foundation was built in the XVI century. | Temple of Mercy
33: This arch leads from the Plaza San Francisco to the Calle (street) Santa Clara. It was built in 1835. We walked through here to visit a large marketplace.
34: The Market | Aisles and aisles full of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, boxed goods, skinned frogs, etc.. if you dare eat it. There is a "Food Court" located at the back of the building with lots of "interesting" looking food. Also lots of gifts to purchase.. handbags, mugs, masks, dolls, pottery, baskets, clothes, toys, flowers... and much more. A highlight of my day trips in Cusco.
35: The smell was almost unbearable.
36: Their fruit is AMAZING!! | Vegetables
37: Peruvian farmers grow more than 55 varieties of corn. | Fruit Smoothie | Incense | Grains and Bulk Goods
38: These are images taken with Darrin's phone in an area I could not stomach to walk through. The smell was horrendous and there was blood still dripping down counters and walls onto the floor. He stopped to take a picture of skinned frogs that some elderly lady was selling but she got mad at him and pushed him away.
40: Cusco Patrimonio Cultural De La Humanidad | A Cultural Ceremony we attended one evening in Cusco. | (World Heritage) | There were many different costumes, all bright and colorful. A group of men played musical instruments at the back of the stage.
41: This guy came up from behind us unexpected, jumped in front of me and scared the heck out of me!
42: Qoricancha, Convento de Santo Domingo | This was the Inca Sun Temple built by the Spanish around 1534. The earthquake of 1650 collapsed the walls and then it was rebuilt in 1681. A 20th century earthquake exposed some of the original Inca Temple, such as the queen's mummy room where royal mummies were kept. This also served as the monastery of Cusco for monks from the 16th to 17th centuries and is now an art gallery of valuable 17th and 18th century canvasses. | Cusco Police Station
43: Monasterio de Santa Catalina | This is a part of the monastery open to viewers and contains valuable collections of colonial paintings, tapestries, sculptures and furniture from the colonial and republican periods. | In another part of this building, thirteen nuns live in the Monastery of Saint Catherine of Cusco. Their main spiritual task is to support with prayers and preaching and with the Church in general but are also famous for their embroideries of liturgical vestments and saints' robes, and for their delicious pastries. | Banks of Cusco
44: San Blas | One of my favorite areas in Cusco to visit. I spent the day exploring the narrow cobblestone streets.. enjoying the colonial architecture and shopping in the unique artisan stores, galleries and workshops. This was an artsy neighborhood built on the side of a steep hill.
47: Plazoleta de San Blas
49: More sights of San Blas | "Rainbow striped" flag is the official flag of Cusco. It represents the legacy of the Inca empire. | Flag of Peru (red and white)
50: Walls constructed of rocks and mud.
51: Plaza de las Nazarenas "House of Serpents" built by Inca masons. There are seven snakes carved into the walls. The snake is a symbol of wisdom in Inca mythology. | Once used as a dormitory for high school girls.
52: While in Cusco we stayed at this hotel only minutes away from the Plaza de Armas. Upon our arrival we were greeted by the friendly staff and given coca tea to help with altitude sickness. | Outside the hotel, Peruvians lined up and waited to sell their "goods" to us tourists. Some sold jewellery, paintings, handmade dolls, Alpaca blankets and sweaters, scarves, mitts and toques.
53: The atmosphere inside the hotel was cozy and inviting.
54: Our room was on the second floor plus a flight of about 20 steps. It was a spacious room with a view of the city from our private covered balcony. The view out another window looked out over a quiet courtyard. | A couple of things about our stay in Peru is that none of the hotels we stayed in had washcloths and there is NO flushing of toilet paper ... you have to throw it ALL in the garbage.
55: The above variety of corn was used to make this drink. It was very good and had a sweet taste. | Our taxi driver while in Cusco. He drove us through the Sacred Valley on our adventure to and from Machu Picchu, which was at least 2 hours one way, and to the airport to catch our flight back to Lima. He was very nice but did not speak one bit of English. | An appetizer we had one day for lunch. Half an avocado filled with vegetables... SOOOO good!! | BEER!!!
57: Stones and bricks are the foundation for buildings, roads, sidewalks and gates all over the city.
58: These are images taken as we were leaving Cusco by taxi to stay at the small village of Ollantaytambo. | Garbage covering the side of a hill on the outskirts of Cusco.
59: Cusco, Peru | Cusco is a beautiful city with incredible Spanish colonial architecture and a lot of history. Archaeologists say Cusco is more than 3000 years of age and is considered The Oldest Existing City of America. Cusco was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO. The elevation of Cusco is around 3,400 m or 11,200 ft In 2008, it was estimated that the population of Cusco was 390,000 people. Children start primary school at the age of 6. Primary school begins at grade 1 and ends with grade 6 and is divided into three cycles. Children are dressed in school uniforms and attend classes from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. Secondary school consists of five years from first to fifth year. Children can attend higher education such as colleges and technical schools where they graduate with the title of Professional. There are also Universities located in Peru but are very costly . We were told by young men that they had to quit University and work to save money so they would be able to afford to one day go back. One evening when we were walking around the Plaza, a young boy about 10 years old came up to us and was trying to sell us toques and finger puppets that his mother had made. When we told him we were from Canada he knew the colors of our flag and who our Prime Minister was. Children are very polite and start working at a very young age. We spent some time with three sweet young girls (ages 8 and 9) one evening as we walked through the city and talked about school and sports. They were selling handmade dolls that their mother's had made and were relentless!!! We could only listen to .."You buy my dolls" so many times and finally chose two.
60: The Sacred Valley | a valley in the Andes of Peru, close to the Inca capital of Cusco and below the ancient sacred city of Machu Picchu
61: Aguas Calientes
64: This little girl was running through the plaza chasing pigeons.
65: On our way through the Sacred Valley to the small town of Ollantaytambo, we stopped at a lookout spot and saw this sweet little girl. I gave her 2 soles for this picture and her face lit right up. She smiled and waved to us as we drove away.
66: Farming in the Sacred Valley
67: On our journey through the countryside it was very common to see women and children walking their cow along the road.
68: Motorcycle taxi | Our room was the bottom right. | Ollantaytambo
69: The night before our exciting visit to Machu Picchu, we traveled by taxi to the small village of Ollantaytambo and spent the night in this cozy bed and breakfast. | The view outside our door.
70: Our train trip to Aguas Calientes
71: A tunnel carved into the side of a mountain to make way for the train. | Vegetation on the side of a huge mountain. The colors were beautiful. | Homes in Ollantaytambo
72: The train followed the Urubamba River. It was very dirty and garbage was clinging to the trees and rocks on the banks. The river in some spots can be very rough and is used for white water rafting. | A suspended bridge across the river | Urubamba River
73: A restaurant we ate at in Aguas Calientes after visiting Machu Picchu. | I had pineapple chicken... half a pineapple carved out and filled with the best chicken I have ever tasted. | The food and atmosphere were impressive!!
75: Machu Picchu | One of the New 7 Wonders of the World Also known as "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu is nestled 7,970 feet above sea level in the Andean mountain range above the Urubamba Valley. It is believed that the city was built in the 1400's at the height of the Inca Empire.
76: The Incas built terraces made of stones on steep slopes in which they planted potatoes, crops and other plants. The slopes helped control erosion and were useful in helping to control the amount of water used for irrigation of the plants.
77: The Guinea pig is a delicacy in Peru, known as Cuy.
82: Temple of the Sun This was the most sacred religious center of Machu Picchu and only priests and the Emperor were allowed in. This building was also a major scientific center. With its two trapezoidal windows facing, one to the north and the other to the east, the projecting shadow of the windows on a rock located in the center of the temple helped the Incas identify the beginning of winter solstice. This determined the time to start farming in the Incan Empire.
83: Incredible stone architecture and breathtaking views.
85: Gateway to The Lost City
88: The Incas constructed 16 water fountains at Machu Picchu, each with water flowing from one to the other.
89: The winding road from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu. | A view of the train from up on the mountain.