Tuesday, July 24, 2018

There's More Than Macchu Picchu...

Of course Macchu Picchu IS incredible, and was the main reason we visited Peru recently.

But Peru is more. So, so much more. We were there almost two weeks, and every day was filled with beauty, history, scenery, and the kind spirit of the Peruvian people themselves. 

Cusco, capital of the Incan Empire, is a city of great beauty set against the Andes Mountains.
There are two spectacular colonial-era cathedrals adorning the central plaza. In one you can see parts of the Inca temple on which it was built.

Lovely gardens amidst ruins surround museums dotting the city.
We joined our tour group to hike through the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Pre-Columbian ruins built by the ancient people of the region amazed us with their intricacy, and their strength over centuries of earthquakes.

We had opportunities to meet residents and see their way of life.

Seeing alpacas and llamas was as routine as horses and cows are here at home. 

How delightful to see the gorgeous traditional clothing being worn routinely by everyday people! This lady (notice her wonderful hat) offered me a chance to try using her spindle. She had run down from her home when she spotted us on the trail, carrying some of her handcrafted weaving and toys to sell.  She had a good laugh at my "spinning"!

Different regional cultures show variations in hat styles and textiles.

We loved the Peruvian food, and this was a very special feast called pachamanca prepared by villagers for our lunch.

The feast included lots of salads and vegetables, and roast meats - including cuy (guinea pig). Reserved for special occasions and quite pricey, cuy has been eaten in the Andes for centuries if not millennia. We also had chicha morada, a purple beverage made from blue corn, which was delicious.
A jewel of a fountain is one example of the   awesome stonework typical in the ancient towns and fortresses.

At last, Macchu Picchu in all its glory. The Spanish never reached it, and the jungle preserved it for centuries until Hiram Bingham "discovered" it in 1911.

Our hotel was also a nature reserve, and we opted to take a guided tour to see birds, the orchid gardens, and the organic tea plantation.

Inkaterra Hotel boasts 372 known species of orchids.
We spent our last days in Peru in Lima, the capital.  It's a metropolis, but the bluffs overlooking the sea are reserved for a long string of interconnected parks that were full of families, athletes, and couples. 
Here is the Parque d'Amor...

…a fountain in one of the plazas...

…and the Huaca Pucllana ruins - far predating the Incas, and never discovered by them. Incidentally, this enormous pyramid structure is solid, composed of countless handmade adobe bricks.
We traveled with REI for the hiking part of our journey. I highly recommend them if you visit Peru - and you should!

Monday, June 4, 2018

World Oceans Week!

For lovers of Earth Day - the festivities continue with World Oceans Week!!!

To get you in a festive mood, here is a tale of good news for aquatic creatures.

The Good News!

1. Crabbers in Long Island were drowning countless numbers of terrapins…until Carl LoBue got results! 

Photo Credit: Cool Green Science Blog

He was acting director of the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation's Marine Crustacean Unit.  In the late 90's he became aware of the carnage and fought within his agency for turtle excluder devices to be required on crab pots. He lost because:

a) Crabbers fought hard against the devices.
b) The state offered wildlife permits to hunt and sell unlimited numbers of terrapins for their meat, an argument against their protection.
Photo Credit: Cool Green Science Blog

That was that…until 2014. Now LoBue was employed by The Nature Conservancy as N.Y. Oceans Program Director. When the issue arrived on his desk in 2014, he was ready to try again…this time with a game plan that included science, dialogue, and collaboration.

..AND "for the first time this year there will be no directed harvest of diamondback terrapins anywhere in New York, and terrapin excluders will be required on crab traps in prime habitats."  
- Matthew L. Miller. Cool Green Science Blog

How will you show the oceans some love this week?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

What If Christmas Arrived Once A Month?

It does - for Toby!

"Santa Paws" signed him up to get a BarkBox every month. It's a pretty great day when the BarkBox shows up at the door. Every month has a theme. For April, the theme was PIRATES. Toys and treats were included…and a pirate bandana just for the fun of it!


And since Toby is in the Extra Toy Club, he had a toy to share with his best pal, Vela!

We saved "Bob in a Barrel", far right, for Vela.

Hey, ho! The pirate life is the life for me!
He gets lots of treats in each box too, so a bag of those went to Trudie, our grandchildren's pooch.

Never had this before, but it's good.

If you are thinking about trying a BarkBox for your furry friend, you can click here for my referral link. Toby and I would love to hear from you if you decide to give it a try...

What will this month's theme be?!

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