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!


11 comments:

  1. Wow, Peru looks beautiful!!! What wonderful pictures, it must have been so interesting to talk with the locals!!

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    1. I studied some Spanish to be ready, but to our surprise many people in the Sacred Valley speak Chechua, the ancient Inca language. One of our guides grew up speaking Chechua, and now speaks 5 other languages fluently. He's the one pictured with the table of food for our lunch.

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  2. My goodness, such beautiful photos and the place looks amazing!

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  3. oooh many many thanks to you... that was like being there with you... what a beautiful and interesting country...

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  4. Replies
    1. It truly was. We hiked with 14 other people who also were a lot of fun. I think all of us were awed by the experience.

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  5. Oh my goodness we are in awe of the breathtaking beauty you saw. Mom is retired from the NCSU Physics Department. She worked with graduate students. And has very fond memories of an exceptional young man from Peru who rec'd his PhD in Physics and was going back home to work in a local University to help encourage Science.
    Hugs madi

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  6. This looks like it was the best time every. Everything looks so beautiful and peaceful. We hope you enjoyed every minute. Thanks for sharing. Have a fantastic rest of your week.
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