When I checked my email on February 27, a strange thing happened. There was nothing new. Not even the junk mail that greets me every morning. Oh well, thought I, just a glitch, I should log on fresh and get things synced up. It can occasionally happen that, due to an update or some such, … Continue reading Email is great when it works but a big pain when it doesn’t
It was an early start. Well before the crack of dawn we left our hotel and trudged down to Aguas Calientes' bus loading area to join a very long but fast-moving line for the nine km, 1,500 ft. grind up the Hiram Bingham Highway to Machu Picchu. Walking is an option for those with a masochistic bent but … Continue reading Machu Picchu!
We were off to Aguas Calientes and our long-anticipated visit to Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas." It was an early morning departure from the Hotel Marquese in Cusco for the five-hour journey on PeruRail's Vistadome service. We could have walked the Inca Trail -- four days three nights of hard, high altitude … Continue reading Train ride, long hike, jungle waterfall, early night
Still acclimatizing for Machu Picchu, we spent the day exploring the so-called "Sacred Valley," so-called because according to our guide this is a recent name, created for touristic purposes. Nonetheless a lovely, extraordinary place and once the centre of the Inca Empire. First stop was Awana Kancha Living Museum of the Andes which features llamas and alpacas … Continue reading Stepping up, stepping down in the Sacred Valley
Truth is that I had never heard of Cusco and had very little idea what to expect. This was a pre-arranged tour so research wasn't necessary and I let the experience just sweep me along. Looking out over Cusco. So it came as a bit of a surprise that this provincial town and ancient Inca … Continue reading Discovering Cusco
Our trip to Cusco was by a guided public tour bus with several stops on the way and it didn't start well. Our six am transportation didn't show up at the hotel so we were late for the bus and were greeted with annoyed faces of other travellers. Nonetheless, we got our 'VIP' tags and … Continue reading Tour bus to Cusco, the Inca capital
Puno from Lake Titicaca Puno is Peru's major port on Lake Titicaca. Shared with Bolivia, Titicaca's 12,500 ft. elevation makes it the world's highest navigable lake. We set out early for our lake trip and the first stop was a group of floating islands (Islas de los Uros) in marshy areas near Puno. The Uru … Continue reading Floating & Climbing on Lake Titicaca
We departed Chivay for the Colca Canyon which descends more than 10,000 feet and is the deepest canyon in the world. Despite low agricultural prices which make farming unprofitable, people still cultivate some of the canyon's many terraced fields. Cactus at Condor Cross The Colca Canyon is also home to Condor Cross (Cruz Del Condor) where Andean condors make daily … Continue reading Pressing on to Puno
We set off from Arequipa in a small bus with a new guide. Peter announced he would be our doctor and gave a detailed lecture on preventing altitude sickness. I had brought a prescription but opted for the recommended combination of coca leaf, dark chocolate and mineral water. I soon had a big wad of coca … Continue reading Up to Abra Patapampa & down to Chivay
Handmade textiles are a big part of Peruvian life. Alpacas and llamas provide the fibre which is often hand-dyed using traditional methods and is spun, woven, embroidered and knit into all kinds of products with both traditional and modern designs. Mummies are still clad in their 2,000-year-old shrouds and museums display some amazing examples of similarly-ancient … Continue reading Peruvian textiles
Compared to flying over the Nazca Lines, the Chauchilla Cemetery, an open-air Nazca burial site in use from about 200AD to 900AD and more recently an Indiana Jones movie location, was entirely subterranean. Nazca mummy with impressive dreads Chauchilla has been legally protected since 1997 but local grave robbers (huaqueros) plundered the site since it was … Continue reading Nazca’s desert mummies
Wonderful visit to the Reserva Nacional Islas Ballestas. Only protected since 2010, the area was once covered by guano up to 70m thick. The nineteenth century guano trade created modern "input-intensive" farming and guano is still mined though in much lower quantities. Before the birdshit came the birds and they are still there in vast quantities and configurations, … Continue reading Even if you’re not a birder, the Ballestas are remarkable
This was a first for us -- a package tour put together for a group of friends, neighbours, relatives and assorted hangers-on. It was treat to be picked up at the airport and not face the unease that comes when arriving in a strange city at 2 am. Next morning we were right at it and had three … Continue reading Acclimatizing in Lima
Here we go... Tired of Facebook and needing a purpose for my photos I've become a blogger. They tell me that blogs require dedication and consistency so we'll see how it works out. There's a lot to talk about that doesn't involve politics -- retirement, photography & travel for starters -- and I hope you'll join me.