Joined May 2022 Message
  • Peruvian Textiles - my souvenirs!

    June 23 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    I spent a lot of the trip looking for the perfect blankets and pillow covers! It was hard to choose - so many beautiful ones. The pillow covers were 40 soles (about $12). I bought some in Urubamba, Pisac and Aguas Calientes. I finally found the perfect blanket in Pisac. It was smaller and lighter than I had originally planned, but it was perfect. I didn't have much room in my bag, so I wore it home like a skirt! Came in handy in the Lima airport where we had to spend the night.Read more

  • Day25

    Pisac - Incan Ruins

    June 19 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Another spectacular ruins site, apparently the third best preserved (behind Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo) and huge! We had a gorgeous view of the mountains and valley below. So many agricultural terraces, and the houses and Sun Temple were cool. Part of the trail was a bit scary - very narrow, very high with sheer drop.Read more

  • Day25

    Aguas Calientes, Cusco PARTY, Pisac

    June 19 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 52 °F

    Aguas Calientes is also known as Machu Picchu town. It's touristy, but I enjoyed it because it was clean and reminded me of the same kind of vibe as US mountain tourist town.

    Cusco is celebrating ALL month in June with parties, parades, fireworks, singing. Saturday night was a big celebration - not sure if it was Cusco's birthday or what, but the Plaza was PACKED. We read 80,000 people. It was insane and a little scary when the crowd was pushing everyone so hard (not to mention not very Covid-friendly!!!). But it was also pretty fun, with everyone in celebratory mood. The next morning we went to 8:00am Mass in the cathedral...and they were celebrating once again in the square so that it was hard to hear the priest at times. It sounded like cannon or fireworks, loudspeakers and music. We came out and it was the same thing as last week - a bunch of older guys in suits marching military style as someone announced them. One of the groups had a sign that said 1978. So I have no idea what it was all about!

    Then on to Pisac for the day Sunday, which has fantastic Incan ruins and one of the best artisan markets in the Sacred Valley. This was the trip with the dang collectivo! And now a couple more days in Cusco before returning home!
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  • Day24

    Machu Picchu!

    June 18 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 57 °F

    This was "Day 2" of our Inca Trail Trek. So we arrived at the Sun Gate overlooking MP on Day 1 but couldn't enter. We took a bus down to the town of Aguas Caliente to stay the night. Next AM early we came back up for a tour with Luis and were there a couple of hours or so. Beautiful weather! Of course it goes without saying, very impressive place! I think the thing that is most spectacular isn't really the ruins (although yes they are, but we've seen a lot of very cool Incan ruins) but the location. It is just beyond me how/why anyone would ever build in such a remote and difficult location. Apparently the common folk had to come work here on the agricultural terraces (a few weeks or months/year??) as a way of paying taxes to the empire. They had a school for boys here as well as homes, grain storage and the sun temple.Read more

  • Day23

    Inca Trail - Trek to Machu Picchu

    June 17 in Peru ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

    We did the "2 Day/1 Night with hotel" trek. Which really was a full day trekking, saw MP in the afternoon, stayed in hotel and went back to see again next morning. These photos are of the trek and our arrival to the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu. The ruins in the first photos are not Machu Picchu, but other ruins along the way. Couple of MP photos at the end when we arrived! We had a guide with us who was very knowledgeable about Incan history and ruins, but also told us all about recent Peruvian history. There was no one else in the group except us. We went with Alpaca Expeditions, and at lunch they cooked us a meal. This was not an easy hike with all the DANG Incan Stairs! The Monkey Stairs were something else!Read more

  • Day22

    Ollantaytambo - Inca temple and fortress

    June 16 in Peru ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

    We were not prepared for how many well-preserved Incan ruins are in the Sacred Valley. Apparently this is the second best preserved, and it's a huge complex ( and has all these Inca stairs I no longer enjoy! 🤣). This is a really cool spot, overlooking the Old Town ( Inca pedestrian streets, cool roads and walls).Read more

  • Day21

    Ollantaytambo - Town, Mama Simona B&B

    June 15 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    Ollantaytambo is a cool little town in a valley surrounded by very impressive Incan ruins on the mountainsides. The Incan Old Town is pedestrian only with narrow cobblestone streets that twist and turn, with little shops and hotels and mini- markets. I wish we'd had more time in this peaceful, relaxing place.

    We loved Mama Simona B & B. It was a beautiful place next to the river, very clean, nice breakfast, laundry service, very hot showers (best in Peru so far), and they even had a hair dryer to loan out. First time I've dried my hair in 3 weeks. Only bad part was the barnyard party going on all night. ( Donkey was the main culprit).
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  • Day20

    Urubamba - Andean Community Llama Trek

    June 14 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 48 °F

    Trekking with Llamas to a high Andean community for lunch was a once-in-a-lifetime experience (and it kicked my butt!). We hiked from 3,291m to over 3,900m (10,800' to 13,000') to the small Andean community of Cancha Cancha. It took us 3 hours up (which our guide said was fairly quick YAY) and maybe half that down.

    We went with the Llama Pack Project (me and the boys, our guide and two llama herders). "Llama Pack Project works to recover traditional uses and breeding of carrier llamas as a tool for sustainable rural development and conservation of Andean mountain ecosystems in the Sacred Valley of the Incas highlands."

    Two llama herders from the community, Julian and Hilda, hiked up with us and then prepared us lunch in their home. Their home had no windows, a kitchen at one end and two VERY primitive beds at the other (I didn't even realize they were beds).They just got electricity 3 years ago. About 30 guinea pigs squealing and running underfoot as we ate our snack, which was a bit unnerving. They served us very good slightly sweet hot cocoa leaf tea, a sweet bread (similar to a quick bread we'd make), Chips Ahoy knock-off!, and a typical snack of toasted corn with salt. Very good.

    After that we sat out in the yard in the sun while they prepared the meal. They made a fire under a little hut of stones and let it burn out so that hot coals were left. Into that they threw potatoes, then collapsed the hut a little and put corn into it. They wrapped chicken in paper, set it on top, piled some hot stones on top and covered the whole thing with dirt. Let it cook for about 20 minutes. SO GOOD. It was such a cool experience.
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  • Day19

    Salineras de Maras, Moray, Chinch. Ruins

    June 13 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 43 °F

    Jose the taxi driver gave us a great deal (cheap!) and drove us to the Maras Salt Mines and the archaeological site at Moray (and agreed to wait in the car for up to an hour at each). He definitely took "the back way", which meant DIRT roads full of rocks. But I appreciated that he went along with my "despacio" request (most drivers are into going rapido). Dust was flying up through the floorboards, and I wondered if his car could take/make it. I have to admit a thought about Tuco's place from Breaking Bad did cross my mind. Middle of freaking nowhere, and no idea what we'd have done if the car broke down (or apart). But luckily it DID make it and we had a great day and a nice chat with Jose. Thank you Jose!

    The Salineras de Maras is made up of more than 3 thousand natural salt wells near the town of Maras. Each of the wells has a dimension of 5 square meters. The 3,000 pools are fed by an underground hypersaline spring that originated 110 million years ago during the formation of the Andes Mountains. It was cool to watch a family excavating theirs. The salt is sold everywhere - some of it is pink.

    The Moray Incan ruins looks like a Roman amphitheater with it's bowl-shape and concentric terraces. It is thought that this was an agricultural laboratory used by the Incans.
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    Piles of salt


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