Thursday, June 07, 2012

Photos from Peru - Part One

In May, my husband and I went on my top-of-the-bucket-list trip, a two-week trip to Peru and Ecuador with Overseas Adventure Travel. We had a wonderful time, and the guides and logistics were excellent. I highly recommend the travel company, and if you would like a referral that would give you $100 off on any trip you book, let me know.

It took awhile to go through our thousands of photos to pick just a few to share on my blog. I'll share some from the week in Peru today and tomorrow, and next week, I'll share some from Ecuador. Enjoy!

The two photos of ancient pottery and gold work above are from the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History of Peru in Lima, Peru. The two photos below are from our walking tour of Lima, a cathedral and the central square.

The evening of our first day, we went to the El Circuito Mágico del Agua, the largest fountain complex in the world, in a public park. The three photos below are from that magical display, the last one being from the laser show projected on the largest fountain.

The next day, most of the group went on the optional tour of the pre-Inca archaeological site of Pachacamac, pictured below, and my husband Neil lent a hand with the restoration work. ;-)

After that, we visited a typical squatter camp outside of Lima and toured their community kitchen, shown below. Then, in a huge contrast, we returned to the high income area of Larcomar near our hotel with it's ocean cliff-side shopping mall and high-rise apartments and the El Parque del Amor  with the "El Beso" sculpture of a couple engaged in a passionate kiss.

The next day we flew to Cuzco, then took a bus ride into the Sacred Valley. The first picture below shows me with a native woman and her llama mama and baby (notice the height difference!), and the second shows a view of the Sacred Valley.

We explored the Inca ruins above the town of Pisac in the Sacred Valley, shown in the next two photos. then our guide Rene showed us how local babies were swaddled (third photo below), and a couple of the women who were selling their wares at the site hitched a ride on our bus back into town (as shown in the fourth photo). The last photo shows me shopping in the market at Pisac.

The next day was our chance to explore a "Day in the Life Of" the local community. We started at the local farmer's market, where folks sold all kinds of foods, including guinea pig (cuy), coca leaves, a variety of potatoes and other produce, and other livestock such as chicken and pigs (isn't the little girl cute?).

 After the market, we visited a local school and interacted with the children, who showed us their workbooks and tried to teach us a few words of Spanish. Below is a photo of my tutor with me. Below that are two photos of the Ollantaytambo fortress built by the Inca, one of the few places where the Spanish lost a battle during their conquest of Peru.

Our next stop was at the home of a local woman who gave us a corn fritter cooking lesson (see below), then served us a delicious lunch, including the local delicacy of cuy (guinea pig).

Then we moved on to drinking! We stopped off at a watering hole that serves the local beverage chicha made from fermented maize, which has a low alcohol content. When a batch of chicha is ready, the bar owner puts out a red plastic bag on a stick to let the locals know. Rene, our guide, poured us small samples, but he drank a full glass! Back at the hotel, we got a lesson in how to make Pisco Sours, with Neil volunteering to be the bartender-in-training.

That's all the photos for today. Next up--Machu Picchu!

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