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LLAMA LLAMA LIMA

Barranco & Miraflores districts of Lima

semi-overcast 25 °C
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In the morning we flew from Cuzco to Lima. It was actually funny, as we kept on meeting random people form our previous trips - the Americans (Marie & Matt) - from the Canyon & Titicaca trips & the 2 Belgian boys (Steven & Tom) Canyon trip). Also, the night before, in Cuzco, we ran into the same Americans + the 2 Icelanders. We happened to have chosen the same restaurant for dinner (from our Lonely Planets, how else ;)).

It's almost the end of our trip :(. tomorrow night flying back home

We first went to our hotel - El Patio. he patio was nice indeed - with lots of flowers and little birds in cages. But the room was really small, and the bed even smaller. It was supposed to be a double room, but it looked more like a single :-S

here's some pickies of the hotel:
070526-125004-Marta Ixus (4).JPG?imgmax=576070526-125028-Marta Ixus (7).JPG?imgmax=576070526-123743-Marta Ixus (3).JPG?imgmax=720
070527-112002-Marta Ixus (2).JPG?imgmax=720

After checking in we took a cab to the Barranco district of Lima - which was supposed to be relatively safe (unlike other parts of the city - especially after dark!). We first went for lunch to La Rustica - restaurant recommended by a friend (thanks Simon!).
070526-131021-Marta Ixus (10).JPG?imgmax=720
It was buffet with dishes from all over Peru, all you can eat. Needless to say, we got stuffed like turkeys (what else is new!).

Later on we walked around Barranco
070526-130342-Marta Ixus (9).JPG?imgmax=720
070526-140758-Chris.JPG?imgmax=576
070526-140902-Marta Ixus (19).JPG?imgmax=720
070526-141012-Marta Ixus (20).JPG?imgmax=720

the ocean:
070526-142620-Marta Ixus (26).JPG?imgmax=720
070526-144320-Marta Ixus (32).JPG?imgmax=720

Later on we went to another district - Miraflores - where our hotel was located, It was so pretty - by the ocean.
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070526-170703-Marta Ixus (42).JPG?imgmax=720
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070526-173238-Marta Ixus (54).JPG?imgmax=720

later on, at sunset, some paragliders started flying by:
070526-173830-Marta Ixus (58).JPG?imgmax=720
070526-173929-Marta Ixus (62).JPG?imgmax=720
070526-174411-Marta Ixus (70).JPG?imgmax=720
070526-174445-Marta Ixus (73).JPG?imgmax=720

we had some drinks at the modern shopping mall by the ocean:
070526-170534-Marta Ixus (41).JPG?imgmax=720
070526-181359-Chris (17).JPG?imgmax=720
070526-192347-Marta Ixus (83).JPG?imgmax=720

after that we went to one of the best restaurants in Lima - one built on it's own pier by the ocean - where we overdosed on seafood - it was delicious:
070526-203035-Marta Ixus (88).JPG?imgmax=720
070526-203045-Marta Ixus.JPG?imgmax=720

Posted by Camerowska 04:41 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA SALT & LAB

Salineras & Moray

sunny 26 °C
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In the morning, as promised, we got picked up from our hotel by Milton (our 'private driver') we drove with the day before.
We set off - pretty much the same way as yesterday - in the direction Ollantaytambo - towards Salineras. These are salt pans, which have been in use since the pre-Inca times. The salt comes from a naturally-salty stream which springs from a mountain.

Salineras, view on the pans form above:
070525-115612-Marta Ixus (5).JPG?imgmax=720

Salineras:
070525-120345-Marta SRL.JPG?imgmax=800

The stream is directed by a complicated network of canals through a system of pans (i.e. rectangle-shaped ''baths'', of the size of 3x4m each (more less).
When I said the stream was salty, I meant REALLY SALTY. So salty, that in no time we were both covered in a white salt layer - together with our cameras and clothes. Whatever you touched, was salty - I felt like a salty-Midas-king ;).

the salty stream:
070525-121045-Chris (6).JPG?imgmax=576
070525-121059-Marta SRL (5).JPG?imgmax=800
070525-122027-Marta SRL (24).JPG?imgmax=800

the pans:
070525-121151-Marta SRL (7).JPG?imgmax=800

salt:
070525-121211-Marta SRL (9).JPG?imgmax=800
070525-122656-Marta SRL (32).JPG?imgmax=800
070525-122814-Marta SRL (33).JPG?imgmax=800

Haha, that was actually paradise for me (ones of you who know me well KNOW, that I have a bit of a salt-addiction ;)).
Little crystals of salt were to be found everywhere. It was quite hard to walk through the pans - only along the very narrow paths. It all looked very cool. On some pans, the READY ones, there were workers who were scratching the white salt layer off - until the red soil would show.
They told us that from each pan, 20-30 kg of pure salt could be obtained every 2 weeks. And there were 3000 pans which were still in use. Do your maths ;)
070525-121402-Marta SRL (13).JPG?imgmax=800
070525-121859-Marta SRL (20).JPG?imgmax=800
070525-121912-Marta SRL (21).JPG?imgmax=800
070525-123135-Marta SRL (38).JPG?imgmax=576

After the Salineras, we went further on, through the town Maras to Moray. Moray was true Inca laboratory. Although it looked more like some aliens had made it ;)

The Incas dug a system of terraces - concentric circles - getting smaller and smaller.
070525-131734-Marta SRL (46).JPG?imgmax=800

Due to a very special microclimate in that spot, they could achieve temperature differences of even 2-3 degrees C between different terraces (of 1-2m deep). They used this ''lab'' to test different types of crops - on how they would grown in various conditions.

070525-132921-Marta SRL (52).JPG?imgmax=800

It was VERY cool to look at, and VERY tiring to walk through. Walking down wasn't even that BAD. It was just difficult - as the steps between the terraces were of the Inca type = they were pieces of rock sticking out of the wall. Funny funny! But walking down was a PAIN! Especially that it was definitely above 25 degrees and the weather was really nice.

070525-133746-Marta SRL (68).JPG?imgmax=800
070525-133836-Marta SRL (69).JPG?imgmax=800
070525-133540-Chris (24).JPG?imgmax=720

me in the middle:
070525-134253-Marta SRL (72) - Copy - Copy.jpg?imgmax=800
070525-134302-Marta SRL (73).JPG?imgmax=800

070525-141208-Marta Ixus (16).JPG?imgmax=720

After Moray we went back to Cuzco with our friend Milton :)

on the way:
070525-142219-Marta Ixus (17).JPG?imgmax=720
070525-142305-Marta Ixus (18).JPG?imgmax=720
070525-142504-Marta Ixus (19).JPG?imgmax=720

Cuzco, Plaza de Armas:
070525-170648-Marta panor2 (2).JPG?imgmax=720

at our hotel in Cuzco (los Marqueses):
070525-175745-panorama.jpg?imgmax=576

Posted by Camerowska 03:29 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA PRIVATE DRIVER

Ollantaytambo here we come

overcast 19 °C
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In the morning we had a plan to catch a taxi to go to Ollantaytambo, It was pretty far (80km from Cuzco), but we still thought we would manage. We namely didn't feel like taking a public BUS, go together with chickens and other funny creatures, and change on the way.

On the basis of the guidebooks we calculated it should costs something like 40$ to go there by cab.
However, to our surprise: no taxi wanted to take us... They all kept saying it's too far and that we should go to the bus station. The whole time, there was this guy following us, who (we thought) wanted to take us on a tour or something like that. Since he was bothering us, we ignored him and continued looking for a cab. He heard however where we wanted to go.

And just when we lost the hope that we will manage to find any cab, he came again, and said he can take us to Ollantaytambo with his car. It was just a private guy with a private car. The guy (Milton as he told us later) was round (?) 50-60 (it was hard to say for us, since Peruvians tend to look older than they actually are because of the sun). He probably had nothing better to do, and driving was an easy job - for his age.
Finally, we asked him for the price of going to Ollantaytambo, staying there for the sights & going back. It was something like 25$ or so. haha, way less than we had thought!
btw: our friend Milton could only speak Spanish + aVERY few English words - t was so funny to communicate with him :)

There were some gorgeous views on the way - i.e. the snow-capped mountains.

5 min later we were on our way by his OPEL to the Ollantaytambo ruins.

The weather wasn't very nice (there was no sun whatsoever - everything looked grey). The ruins were high on a mountain. A lot of climbing was involved… and it was NOT easy at 4000m above sea level - despite the fact we have already gotten used to it a BIT. but we heard it actually tajkes 1.5 years until your body has adjusted...
haha, we kept on stopping for ''picnics'' every 5 min ;) = lazy us

ruins:
070524-122639-Marta SRL (19).JPG?imgmax=800

Chris showing how he brought there all the rocks on his back (by the way: the parts sticking out of the rocks: are still unfinished, they are the remains of the ''handles'' that the Inkas used to move the huge rocks around):
070524-123818-Chris (10).JPG?imgmax=720

Peruvian national flower:
070524-144716-Marta Ixus (6).JPG?imgmax=720

After the sighs & lunch we went back to Cuzco with our fiend Milton :). It's VERY handy to have a private driver! And this one was almost as cheap as the one we had in Delhi in India :)

When we arrived safely back in Cuzco, we asked Milton to pick us up from the hotel also the FOLLOWING day - as we wanted to go to Moray & Salineras - and there were no other (easy) ways of getting there other than by car :).

Posted by Camerowska 12:06 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA ROCKS

sunny 19 °C
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today we took a taxi from Cuzco 11km up to Tambo Machay - another Inka ruin. This time it was Inka baths. Again, the finest stonework with no mortar. Tambo Machay had a series of gullies and pools - where the Inka noble men would perform the physical as well as ritual cleansing.
070523-111605-Marta SRL (5).JPG?imgmax=800

Then we walked back to Cuzco past the other 3 Inka ruins. First one was Pucha Pucchara. An Inka hunting lodge. Looked a bit like European castle ruins - with the only difference it was again the Inka stonework

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070523-130312-Marta SRL (44).JPG?imgmax=800
070523-130328-Marta SRL (46).JPG?imgmax=800

After more walking we got to Quenko. It was a VERy cool ruin. It consisted of a HUGE rock (oprobably like 20m long and 10m wide).
070523-140935-Chris (17).JPG?imgmax=720

It was carved by the Inka´s as well as erosion. It was full of big holes - looked like a lace.
070523-142318-Marta Ixus (55).JPG?imgmax=720

It had caves underneath, a small amfitheatre and also a place for ritual offerings.
070523-140730-Marta Ixus (41).JPG?imgmax=720

There was a zig-zag carved in the rock. It was THE coolest part of the ruin.
070523-142029-Chris (23).JPG?imgmax=720

Inka priests used to pur llama blood into the zig-zag. It woudl flow down, and lower: split in 2. Depending on through which of the 2 zig-zag endings the blookd woudl flow out of first, they predicted whether it would be a good year for crops or not. Of course I wanted to try checking that as well - and poiured my water into the zig zag. And (of course) it showed the negative omen. haha, lucky it was not the llama blood i was checking it with

Chris was laughing his ass off when i also lost both my water bottles while climbing the rock. Thye both (one by one) fell out of the outside pockets of my bacpkack and it was a bit of an excercise to find them back in one of the deep holes of the rock

the last ruin was Sachsaywhoman (oir something close to that, sorry cant remember the spelling) - in any case u pronouce it SEXY WOMAN :). It was a huge ruin. 3 zigzags of rock walls, 20m high, paralelly runnig for 600m. The ricks there were bigger than any pother rocks we have seen in these ruins before - some 20m high and a good 4m wide. The heavist rock is supposed to weigh 300tons!
The ruin is even visible on Google Earth. It was very beatuful. And also, there was a great view on Cuzco from the hill
070523-151549-Marta SRL (58).JPG?imgmax=800
070523-160554-Marta SRL (89).JPG?imgmax=800
070523-160906-Marta SRL (101).JPG?imgmax=800
070523-161514-Marta SRL (106).JPG?imgmax=800

after walking all those 11km and climbing different rocks/ruins we are quite tired

Posted by Camerowska 19:14 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA MACHU PICCHU

the lost city of the Incas

sunny 27 °C
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yesterday was the highlight of our trip - i.e. we went to Machu Picchu.
You can get there only by train (or by walking the Inka Trail for 4 days, which we were not much up to). We booked a so called Vistadome train - i.e. with windows in the ceiling so we could see the scenery. The train was leaving at 6.00am from Cuzco, and we had to be there at 5.30 :-S = yet another day of getting up at a crazy hour

to our disappointment, our assigned seats on the train were just in between 2 windows - which were positioned in such a way we could see basically NOTHING form the seats. but (LUCKY BASTARDS WE ARE): i went to talk to the train guy to ask whether the train was full and whether we could change our seats. the train WAS full, but neverthekless he arranged us two other seats - since 2 people didnt show up. And these wre (oficially) THE BEST 2 seats of the whole train. It was namely the very first car of the train, and we had the front seats, facing the direction of the ride, with a huge window in front of us!!! needless to say: happy Marta :) - and again, LOTSIE pictures taken on the way. It was beaurtiful - with mountains everywhere - first we went up the montains above cuzco, and later descended into the Sacred Valley of the Inka´s

TRAIN RIDE:
switchbacks - on the way up from Cuzco:
070522-060818-Marta Ixus (7).JPG?imgmax=800

070522-062036-Marta Ixus (12).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-062651-Marta Ixus (15).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-062703-Marta Ixus (16).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-071844-Marta SRL (18).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-073527-Marta SRL (31).JPG?imgmax=800

and switchbacks again - this time to descend to the Inca valley:
070522-073535-Marta SRL (32).JPG?imgmax=576
070522-074728-Marta SRL (35).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-075723-Marta SRL (42).JPG?imgmax=800

the VISTADOME train (windows in the ceiling):
070522-080219-Marta SRL (44).JPG?imgmax=800

at a station, local woman were selling hats to the tourists form our train

070522-082239-Marta SRL (58).JPG?imgmax=800

snowy caps:
070522-083432-Marta SRL (72).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-083925-Marta SRL (77).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-085804-Marta SRL (82).JPG?imgmax=800

and it was about to get even better - since it was the Machu Picchu day. Machu Picchu is the lost city of teh Inka´s - one which was never found by the Spaniards when they invaded the country, but only re-discovered in 1912. It was absolutyely gorgeous - no wonder, since it´s one of the 7 winders of the world

the lost city is entrirely made of stone - the traditional Inka way with no mortar, with huge blocks of rock made to fit each other tightly. Amazing. All situated between the mountains, with snow- peaks on the horizon and clouds/mist above. Gorgeous, i dont think i can even explain that - only pictures might show SOME of the beauty we´ve seen

some PANORAMAS:
large_1_20MP_20p..20Marta.jpg
large_1_20MP_20p..0Marta2.jpg
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large_4_20MP_20p..0Chris2.jpg

3 MP panorama Huayna Picchu2.jpg?imgmax=576
070522-104651-Marta SRL (110).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-105114-Marta SRL (116).JPG?imgmax=576

temple of The Sun:
070522-105855-Marta SRL (121).JPG?imgmax=800

a rock that the Inca's wanted to split (and did not finish) = they would put wood in the holes and saturate it with water, so it would split the rock

terracing:
070522-111107-Chris (14).JPG?imgmax=576
070522-111233-Chris (15).JPG?imgmax=800

llamas:
070522-111424-Marta SRL (142).JPG?imgmax=800

this is an IMAGE of the Huayna Picchu (mountain) the Incas carved in a rock:
070522-111504-Marta SRL (144).JPG?imgmax=800

the so-called SUN DIAL - which in fact it is not ;) [i.e. it was not used for assesing the time]. Most sacred piece of rock at the Machu Picchu. The Incas used it for assesing the rainy/dry season (only on the summer solistice the sun would cast a certain shape of a shadow on the rock):
070522-111948-Marta SRL (152).JPG?imgmax=576

a lizard:
070522-112823-Marta SRL (162) - Copy.JPG?imgmax=800
070522-112846-Marta SRL (165) - Copy.JPG?imgmax=800

Machu Picchu - ruins of a house (the thingies sticking out of it were used to tie the roof to the house):
070522-113133-Marta SRL (168).JPG?imgmax=576
070522-113154-Marta SRL (172).JPG?imgmax=576
070522-113200-Chris (20).JPG?imgmax=800

our guide:
070522-113318-Marta SRL (175).JPG?imgmax=576
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070522-113403-Marta SRL (180).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-113537-Marta SRL (184).JPG?imgmax=800

The Condor Temple (condor image on the ground)
070522-113710-Marta SRL (186).JPG?imgmax=800

Condor temple:
070522-113919-Marta SRL (189).JPG?imgmax=576

070522-114136-Marta SRL (191).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-114221-Marta SRL (192).JPG?imgmax=800

The Air Temple:
070522-114437-Marta SRL (198).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-115402-Marta SRL (206).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-115627-Chris (29).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-122057-Marta Ixus panor1 (7).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-125043-Marta SRL (248) - Copy.JPG?imgmax=800

llamas:
070522-125550-Marta SRL (257).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-125556-Marta SRL (258).JPG?imgmax=800

that's the road from Aguas Callientes - that we went up to through by bus:
070522-131409-Marta SRL (272).JPG?imgmax=800
070522-132712-Marta Ixus (28).JPG?imgmax=576

Chris in the cave under the condor temple:
070522-133834-Chris stitch2 (2).JPG?imgmax=800

the only reconstructed roof at Machu Picchu:
070522-134652-Marta Ixus (33).JPG?imgmax=576
070522-135012-Marta SRL (294).JPG?imgmax=576

and the weather was beautiful as well - must have been like 30 degrees in the sun. we were looking for shadow all the time

we stayed there the whole day, until our train back to Cuzco at 17.00. It was a very long (4h+) and cold journey (oh well, we got used to freezing in the evenings)

im hoping to be able to upload SOME pickie at least

Posted by Camerowska 21:02 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA GUINEA PIGS

sunny 22 °C
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In the morning we went to an Inca--museum. We have also seen weaving women & men
070521-122708-Marta Ixus (8).JPG?imgmax=576
070521-122446-Marta Ixus (2).JPG?imgmax=720
070519-162250-Marta Ixus (71).JPG?imgmax=720
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We have bought our Machu Picchu train tickets (by the way: of course they messed up our booking - which I had made on the internet AGES before - but they re-booked us for another train in the end)

Cuzco by night:
night - Cuzco Plaza de Armas cathedral.jpg?imgmax=576
070521-184547-Marta Ixus (32).JPG?imgmax=720

In the evening we went to the (according the Lonely Planet) THE best place for eating guinea pigs…
070521-200612-Marta Ixus (37).JPG?imgmax=720

Posted by Camerowska 07:14 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA CLIF

Pisac rulez

sunny 22 °C
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today we went by taxi to Pisac (30km away from Cuzco).

Each Sunday there´s a fmous market there - with the people from the highlands coming down to sell their produce and exchange it for other goods they cannot produce themselves. There´s also a huge artesania market where we stocked up on nice stuff. E.g. i got some (MORE) jewelerry which is gorgeous here and all hand made from natural stone/plants (beans, roots, coconuts, wood etc)

we spent there quite some time walking around. Of course we took some pickies of funny Peruvian people - ladies wearing their 5 skirts & funny ``backpacks`` which were in fact pieces of colorful fabric in which they would wrap whatever they were carrying on their back

070520-100334-Marta Ixus (4).JPG?imgmax=576
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070520-100802-Chris (2).JPG?imgmax=720
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guinea pig:
070520-102928-Chris (7).JPG?imgmax=720
070520-102951-Chris (8).JPG?imgmax=720

market:
070520-103444-Marta Ixus (20).JPG?imgmax=576
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070520-111006-Marta Ixus (27).JPG?imgmax=720
070520-111236-Chris (17).JPG?imgmax=720
070520-111404-Marta Ixus (30).JPG?imgmax=576

coca saleswoman:
070520-115754-Marta Ixus (46).JPG?imgmax=576
070520-120059-Marta Ixus (47).JPG?imgmax=576
070520-120330-Marta Ixus (48).JPG?imgmax=720
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070520-122257-Marta SRL.JPG?imgmax=800
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070520-124122-Marta SRL (16).JPG?imgmax=576
070520-124202-Marta SRL (17).JPG?imgmax=576

after the market we got our first collectivo (i.e. shared car) to the ruins in pisac. its a common thing in Peru that people share a taxi - it was funny. haha, i think we will stick to taxis anyway, but it was funny to try

getting up to the ruins involved climbing. and the biggest problem was not the fact that it was steep or goig up (as we have already gotten used to the altitude by now).
070520-133815-Chris (28).JPG?imgmax=720
070520-134504-Marta SRL (28).JPG?imgmax=800
070520-134829-Marta SRL (31).JPG?imgmax=800
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070520-135539-Chris (38).JPG?imgmax=720
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070520-140128-Chris (41).JPG?imgmax=720
070520-141002-Marta SRL (56).JPG?imgmax=800
070520-141456-Marta SRL (59).JPG?imgmax=800

haha, it was so cool: it was actually at times very difficult to go up. We had to follow some arrows/paths. They were not always very clear. Ince we ended up on a VERY bad path up where we were basically rolling down with small stones. it was NOT easy to do with a 1.5kg SLR camera with zoomlens o my neck :-S. haha, end evil Chris instead of being supportive was taking pictures of me being stuck half way :)
070520-143053-Marta SRL (71).JPG?imgmax=800
070520-144212-Marta SRL (75).JPG?imgmax=800
070520-144233-Marta SRL (76).JPG?imgmax=800

and then we got to a funny staircase and a very narrow path. must have been like 0.5m wide, and it ended on one side with a cliff. so you could actuyally look down into the valley - hundreds of meters beow.
070520-150719-Chris (55).JPG?imgmax=576

view form the top of the stairs:
070520-150824-Marta Ixus (70).JPG?imgmax=576

Chris was laughing that it would b a bad death to go down, since you would first roll through a lot of cactuses before finally getting down :)

070520-151543-Marta Ixus (82).JPG?imgmax=720

luckily we didnt fall. it was SO COOL to walk. Simon, for your sake, we did all the parts of the ruins :).
070520-153150-Chris (62).JPG?imgmax=720
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070520-153740-Chris (65).JPG?imgmax=720
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Peruvian national flower:
070520-154326-Marta Ixus (103).JPG?imgmax=576

oh yes. and we had a very ``funny`` taxi driver on the way back to Cuzco. The road was one long serpentine with very rapid turns all the time. And the crazy guy was going 90km/h at times. We had to hold on to the seats, and a few times it got ``funny`` when there woudl b dogs/cars/holes in the road popping up unexpectedly in front of us. funny ride...

thats all for today :). we r tired after all the rock climbing

070520-190707-Marta Ixus (116).JPG?imgmax=720

Posted by Camerowska 19:53 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA CUZCO

The navel of the world

semi-overcast 19 °C
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so (yet again) we had to get up early today and took a 6am taxi to the airport.
now we are in Cuzco - the "navel of the world" for the Inca´s and the their capital

our hotel is really nice

our first room:
070519-103532-Marta Ixus (12).JPG?imgmax=576
070519-102428-Marta Ixus (6).JPG?imgmax=576

our 2nd room:
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We went to Koricancha (the Temple of the Sun) of the Inca´s.
070519-114829-Marta Ixus (21).JPG?imgmax=720
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img=http://lh5.google.com/marta.komorowska/Rm0x7KqLDoI/AAAAAAAABL4/8BWdPDzaiCQ/070519-125224-Marta%20Ixus%20%2840%29.JPG?imgmax=720]

There used to be the huge sacred sun-disc made totally of gold. Also, all the chambers of the temple were "wall-papered" with gold, there were real-size figurined of humans, llama´s, plants - everything in small detail up to the tiniest pieces of the ground. No wonder none of that survived the Spaniard´s invasion. They only didnt take the sun-disc - and the legend says its still hidden somewhere in the mountaiuns.
The whole city of Cuzco was built by the spaniards on the foundations of the Inca stonework. The inca´s didnt use mortar - they onlyu could cut the huge blocks of stone to fit each other so closely that theìr buildings were very firm. The Spaniard´s built their buildings on top of these foundations, and most of them collapsed during the hige earthquake in the 1650. And the Inca foundations remianed intact.

We walked around the city later on.

Cuzco, Plaza de Armas:
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Went to the artsy-district of San Blas as well, and wandered around the whole day
070519-144531-Chris (20).jpg?imgmax=720
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The famous 12-angle stone
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now ate a huge dinner (again) and are off back to the hotel now

Posted by Camerowska 22:09 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA TITICACA

sunny 20 °C
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we had sort of a problem deciding on today´s post´s title. there were actually a few very close contestants running for the title-title. in random order that would be:

  • LLAMA LLAMA TITICACA (which should actually be Titikhakha) - we found out during the trip that the way we woudl always pronounce the name of the lake was totally wrong. In the Quechua language Titi meant PUMA(very important animal for the Inca´s beliefs). So Titicaca the way we pronounce it usually means actually puma´s poo.... hmmm... The correct pronoounciation is Titikhakha - which means grey puma

  • LLAMA LLAMA VOCA LOCO (crazy cow) - since at a certain moment we were chased by a crazy cow on the Taquille island. On a 1m narrow part which had stone 1m walls on both sides. It ran away from the oner and was angrilly galloping down the mountain. And when i say a COW i actually mean somethinh with big horns in the front which kicks all over the place with its back legs. Luckily we managed to jump up some large rock just before it passed by

sorry, the pic couldn't have been any clearer - I was running AWAY from the beast ;):070518-110607-Marta SRL (75).JPG?imgmax=576

  • LLAMA LLAMA PEE-POT - hahha, YES, for the first time since we were likje 2 yrs old we had to use one. IT WAS SO HILARIOUS. i cant stop laughing (crying rather!) when i think about it. This was while we were staying on the island Amantani for the night at a family house. They had an "out-house" toilet outside of their little house + yard. A yard which was locked at night. And yes, according to the Murphy`s law: of course that was JUST the time we each neded to go to the toilet.

  • LLAMA LLAMA POTATO - since we had an overdosis of carbs in the last 2 days - in the form of a potato. At the family house where we were staying at on the Amantani island. Haha, no wonder. Since >Peru boasts over 3000 (three thousand!) types of potato that they grown, and 20 different ones on the small Amantani island. Evertyhing contained a potato. Potato in the soup, potato with ice (!), potato stew etc. Not that it wasn´t tasty (the quinoa - Peruvian grain- soup we had there was THE best ssoup of the stay so far), but it was just a bit too much of potato for 2 days.

anyways... back to the actual trip. On the 1st day we first went by boat from Puno to the islands mader by the Uros Indians of reeds.
Titicaca lake:
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070517-083043-Marta SRL (3).JPG?imgmax=800

Uros Islands:
070517-084200-Marta SRL (6).JPG?imgmax=800
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070517-084234-Marta SRL (10).JPG?imgmax=800
070517-084302-Marta SRL (12).JPG?imgmax=576

reeds:
070517-084852-Marta Ixus (2).JPG?imgmax=720

it was SO COOL: they showed us how they make them too.
070517-085220-Marta SRL (23).JPG?imgmax=800
070517-085605-Marta SRL (25).JPG?imgmax=800
070517-085957-Marta SRL (29).JPG?imgmax=576
Everything was of reed - the island, the boatsm, the houses etc. Such a funny thing to see. It was also funny to walk on the islands on all the reeds

070517-090350-Marta Ixus (6).JPG?imgmax=576
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Puma (titi) boat - made of reeds of course:
070517-091209-Marta SRL (36).JPG?imgmax=576
070517-091319-Chris (25).JPG?imgmax=576
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070517-092029-Chris2 (5).JPG?imgmax=720
070517-092526-Chris (30).JPG?imgmax=720
070517-093232-Marta SRL (55).JPG?imgmax=576
070517-094421-Chris (38).JPG?imgmax=720
070517-094716-Chris (40).JPG?imgmax=800
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Later on we went further on by boat to the Amantani island.
070517-124950-Marta SRL (82).JPG?imgmax=800
070517-132100 Marie's pics.jpg?imgmax=720

Where our group got split up between different families. Our family consisted of a woman + her 2 daughers (of +/- 15 - Nina & 4 - Lis).

Lis:
070517-132425-Chris (43) - Copy.JPG?imgmax=576

ur host-mom:
070517-132611-Chris (44).JPG?imgmax=720
licence of our host-mom
070517-133110-Marta Ixus (27).JPG?imgmax=720

Lis showing us her doll:
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We still dont know where her husband was. Or the husrbands of all the other host-women for that matter. We played with the little daughter a bit. Gave them the gifts we brought (apples, oranghes, rice, milk, candles, matches, sunscreen).

our host-mom in the kitchen:
070517-142038-Marta Ixus (42).JPG?imgmax=720
070517-142203-Marta Ixus (44).JPG?imgmax=720

We had lunch. As said above, including the best soup. All served in clay bowls.

And potatos and those funny Ocha thingies (a root looking like a yellow/red carrot). The house of the family was actually pretty horrible. Like 100+ yrs in Europe at poor families. Toilet outside, no running water, no electricity. All was cooked an a wood oven. All dirty and very basic. I cant imagine how these ppl live there like that... Our room was nothing special but visibly better than everything else.

We had 4 beds in the room. VERY basic. will put here the pics whenever i can. it was very cold there too.

The yard in our host-family's house:
070517-133427-Marta Ixus (31).JPG?imgmax=720

We got lots of MUÑA tea (some funny herb, the tea tastes a bit like mint tea but better). by the way. our family had a guinea pig (an alive one).
070517-134222-Marta Ixus (39).JPG?imgmax=720

They (including the 4yr old girl) were laughing so much at us gringos chasing the thing in the kitchen to take a picture of it :)
The host-woman coudl actually speak spanish (hha, way more than we coudl at least) - as opposed to most people tyhere who usually only speak Quechua language

Amantani host-women:
070517-160408-Marta SRL (92).JPG?imgmax=800

Later on we climbed up the mountain on the island with our group.
070517-162454-Marta SRL (97).JPG?imgmax=800

There were 2 peaks - with 2 temples. We climbed the one with the Pacha Tata [father Earth] temple.
070517-164424-Marta SRL (104).JPG?imgmax=800

It was quite steep at times (i´d say 60 degrees angle). it was a 45min-1h climb. It might sound like not much, but at 3800-4100m above sea level even 5 steps can let you short of breath. Not to mention that climb. Our guide was explaining things to us as well. It was really interesting. And at the top we were rewarded with a great sinset over the snow-peaked mountains and the lake. Amazing views!
070517-170745-Marta SRL (122).JPG?imgmax=800

Pacha Tata temple:
070517-170904-Marta SRL (124).JPG?imgmax=800
070517-171535-Chris (57).JPG?imgmax=720

no electricity in our room:
070517-175611-Marta SRL (134).JPG?imgmax=576

Later on we got dinner at home (yes, with more potatos!), and went for a DANCE with the whole group + the villagers. All of us gringos were dressed by the families in the traditional island clothing. Chris had a red poncho.

And i had 2 skirts (yes, now i know what makes these women look so hmhm BIG - haha the 2 skirts immediately give you an impression of great child-bearing hips ;)). Both skirts were very thick and woolen. With (surprisingly) the underneath skirt being nicely embroided than the top one). + a funny blouse and a black shawl. So funny.
I couldnt even breathe in that (the woman tied a wide belt around my waist - REALLY tight). And trghen the dance began. It was acommpanied by the katzen-musik band "playing" on the drums and the funny south-american flutes. And then we had to dance with the villagers. Sooo funny. And so exhausting!

After the dance we went home. The way back home was funny (no electricity, and all a steep walk up along a labirynth of paths). IT WAS SOOOOO COOOLLLLLDDDD at the house. It was below zero that night (the guide said the water was freezing). ANd the window above my bed wa sbit broken and the courtain was moving in the wind... NICCCEE. I couldnt sleep at all first as i was waiting for that moment when you get a bit warmer and u fall asleep. Which never came. It must have been no more than 5 degrees in the room.

anyways. we still woke up next morning so that was a good sign.

The host families went down to the boaths to say goodbye to us:
070518-080700-Marta SRL.JPG?imgmax=576
070518-080725-Marta SRL (2).JPG?imgmax=800

after breakfast we went by boat to the Taquille island.
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Amore developed one (a bit) but equally dirty. We saw some humming birds (collibris) on the eucalyptus trees as well. We climbed again (yes, again short of breath) - all the way to the other end of the island - where we had to descend to the port along 530+ stone steps (and no, that was not easy). It had really nice terracing and views over the lake.

Humming bird:
070518-094001-Marta SRL (18) Copy.JPG?imgmax=800

view on the Amantani island from Taquile:
070518-094305-Marta SRL (20).JPG?imgmax=800

070518-095256-Marta SRL (26).JPG?imgmax=800
070518-100620-Marta SRL (37).JPG?imgmax=800

men from the Taquile island:
070518-100931-Marta SRL (41).JPG?imgmax=800

this little girl got baloons from people form our group
070518-103004-Marta SRL (47).JPG?imgmax=576
070518-103441-Marta SRL (50).JPG?imgmax=576

Taquile:
070518-110021-Marta SRL (70).JPG?imgmax=800

After the lake trip we took a taxi (40 min) outside of Puno and went to Sillustani - an Inca burrial place - with burrial towers. It was a very nice plac, especially that we were the only people THERE actually. And we caught another great sunset. The views were amazing again
070518-170026-Marta SRL (121).JPG?imgmax=800
070518-170443-Chris (20).JPG?imgmax=720
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070518-172353-Marta SRL (148).JPG?imgmax=800
070518-172641-Marta SRL (149).JPG?imgmax=800

Posted by Camerowska 21:21 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA BUS

at the Titicaca lake

sunny 17 °C
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nothing very exciting happened today so far. we took an earl bus from Arequipa 2 Puno at the lake Titicaca. the bus was very nice but after 5.5h in it we felt like getting OUT OF IT

traditionally-dressed woman:
070516-154941-Marta Ixus (14).JPG?imgmax=576

anyways
now just booked a trippie 2 the titicaca lake islande for 2 days - leaving early tomorrow (dont expect any posts then, theres no ELECTRICITY on the slands, not to mention internet). we`ll b sleeping at people´s home on the Amantani island - and i dont even think there will b a bathroom there, so...

first we will go to the Uros islands made of reed - made and inhabited by the Uros indians. then we´ll go the Amantani island, see some Aymara-culture ruins, spend the night there (after going to some PARTY with all the villagers and will b dressed up in tradtional Amantani gear :)), then next day we´ll go to the Taquille island

The Titicaca lake itself is the highest located navigable body of water on Earth

we r now at 3800m above sea level. so far so good, i feel great (myaybe thanks to the anti-altitude sickness drugs, Chris cant breathe every now and then, but otrher than that we`re fine)

our hotel in Puno:
070516-150724-Marta Ixus (10).JPG?imgmax=720

ok, no we`ll go buy some stuff to give the to the family we will b staying at (like candles, some fruit etc)

:)

(Mel, your pickie with me chewing on the guinea-pig leggie is coming, we just coulnt upload them, internet so slooow)

Posted by Camerowska 16:09 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA CONDOR

Colca Canyon

sunny 17 °C
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elo
we r still alive and kicking. ad feeling way better then yesterday actually. probably got used to the altitude more.
so today was the CONDOR day. We had to get up early again (Surprise surprise, i think this will never end) = 5.30 wake-up call. We went across the Colca valley all the way to the Colca Canyon. The valley was full of terracing different crops being grown on all of them. Looked really nice!
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Then we entered the canyon. Its supposed to be 3300m deep = twice as deep as the Great Canyon. Which is a bit of cheating, as its actually 1200m (because the 3thousand they counted from a top of the mountain thats next to it)

then by 8.20 we were at the Cruz del Condor. Point where condors usualy fly about. They actually more glide on thermals than fly - they dont move their winds at all during the flight.
Cruz del Condor:
070515-081646-Marta SRL (14).JPG?imgmax=576
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070515-090504-Marta SRL (48) Copy.JPG?imgmax=800
070515-091336-Chris (60).jpg?imgmax=720

At the beginning we were happy notcing one REALLY realy far. haha we woudl probably have to add red arrows in ohotoshop on pics to show where the actual bird was. But later on more and more started coming. They were getting really close to us - I´d say to about 4m from us while in flight. you could even hear them swooshing about - their wings would made this funny noise. Condors have a wing span of 2.5m by the way :). It was a real spectacle. And for desert we got a condor which sat on a rock next to us - either to rest or just to show off to us :). And if that wasnt enought for us: another one came. Eventually there were 3 of them sitting there. 4m5m form us. Amazing birds
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By the way: contuinuous mode on the camera comes handy ;). it ended with me taking about 400 pics in 1h... I NEED TO BE INSTITUTIONALIZED so if anyone kows a good mental hospital pls let me know! (by the way, don´t b afraid, i intend to delete like 95% of the condor fotos only keepig the best shots

afterwards awe walked around the canyon a bit. was really nice
070515-095939-Marta Ixus (13).JPG?imgmax=720
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8 panoramic vertical rocks.jpg?imgmax=576
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i dont think ive mentioned that we had really nice ppl on our group - with an Irish, Scottish, Canadian, Peruvians, Americans, British and flemish Belgians. Also the whole trip was very nicely organized and the guide very helpful and tod us a lot a bout the valley

there's plenty of ppl (also children) working here posing for pictures - dressed up in traditional clothing and often with baby llamas/alpacas. they r so cute, especially the children. today took lots of such pictures. you always give them a tip afterwards, of 1 sol (23 eurocents). some of these children were SO COLD (so were we, but we had winter coats on) = sad! also, many children here have really sunburned cheeks - I guess they havent eard of sunscreen here :(
070515-070729-Marta SRL (7).JPG?imgmax=800
when talking about cold. it was bloody ccoooooollllld in the morning. it felt like 2 degrees or so. (haha, despite the fact we were wearing our Peruvian stuff - i already got 2 hats (im a WEAK WOMAN) and a pair f gloves. and later it go to so warm we were walking in our tshirts and melting.. funny weather
got to go for dinner now :)

dinner = peppers with shrimps & veggies
070515-214300-Marta Ixus (41).JPG?imgmax=720

Posted by Camerowska 19:30 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

LLAMA LLAMA COCA

4900 meters above sea level

sunny 16 °C
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so.. we´re now at 3600m above sea level - but we came from Arequipa (2300) through the highest point of 4900 m asl.

We stocked up on the coca leaves (our guide took s all to a store with those before we set off). They came in the form of actual leaves or candy. The leaves were quite OK to chew... tasted like green tea leaves... 070514-092013-Marta Ixus (2).JPG?imgmax=576

Antiplano + vicuñas:
070514-103121-Chris (11).jpg?imgmax=720

Volcano El Misti:
070514-103420-Marta SRL (14).JPG?imgmax=800
Vicuñas (same family as the llamas, but these live in the wild and are not domesticated):
070514-103429-Marta SRL (15) - Copy.jpg?imgmax=800
070514-104259-Marta SRL (18) - Copy.jpg?imgmax=800
070514-104314-Chris (16).jpg?imgmax=720
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haha the altitude sickness took its toll. we´re feeling dizzy. Chris cannot breathe much and i stopped the bus on the way as i thought i was going to decorate it inside otherwise :). which luckilly hasn´t happned (nor have i decorated anything else, the mountain air was enough to help me). we´re eating heaps of coca leaves. not sure if it helps as my head feels its gonna explode any minute but thats minor detail

[no mommy, in not taking any cocaine!]

but abut today
the trip is fabulous - the views (and tons of pictures) = of the mountains, volcanos, vicuñas (llama-like cameloids but smaller, thinner and with ´´the best quality wool i the world´´ - heard that in India already about the pashmina wool but whatever

Alpaca wool:
070514-110002-Marta SRL2 (7).JPG?imgmax=800

One alpaca tried to steal a Twix bar from me
070514-111800-Marta Ixus (15).JPG?imgmax=576

Chris has tried to poison a nice alpaca today by sharing his Twix bar with it :) = which was receivedwith much appreciateion from the alpaca :).

070514-114436-Chris (20).jpg?imgmax=720
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people build these little stone towers when they make a wish - if a tower breaks down, the wish won't come true :(
070514-123753-Marta Ixus (24).JPG?imgmax=720

the highest point of the road - 4910m above sea level (yes, we were feeling dizzy by then):

070514-125417-Marta SRL2 (25).JPG?imgmax=800
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market in Chivay:
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this is OCHA - it tastes like a mix between a normal- and a sweet potato
070514-160400-Marta Ixus (49).JPG?imgmax=720

Peru boasts over 3.000 types of potatoes!
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we also went to the hot springs (38 degrees), pool was outside surrounded by beautiflu mountins :) niiiice

Peruvian folk dancing:
070514-200735-Marta Ixus (72).JPG?imgmax=576

oh yes
its also Chrissie´s BIRTHDAY today, so if anyone forgot to mail their cards = you have still 2 weeks till we get back home ;)

070514-203735-Marta Ixus (77).JPG?imgmax=720
and yes, Chris had to dance as well, since it was his birthday

tomorrow off to see the condors. we need to get uop at 5.30 am (no, there seem to be ON days on our itinerary when we can actually sleep longer than to 7am :S). and we´re dead tired from the altitude
so
ttl

Posted by Camerowska 14:53 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

LLAMA LLAMA CUY :)

Arequipa´s cool and really warm at the same time :)

sunny 20 °C
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so... safely arrived in Lima last night (something like 23 home time). all went well
ad today morning (yes, up at 3am local time :S) we were off 2 the airport again

Arequipa airport (& volcanos in the back):
large_panoramic_..airport.jpg

See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

now we´re in Arequipa, Peru´s 2nd largest city at the foot of 3 volcanos. 1 of which snow-capped.

Plaza de Armas:
large_panoramic_.._20roof.jpg
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we went to see the Santa Catalina Convent - where some party-nuns used 2 live (togethr with their servants and slaves) how handy
it was really pretty. as is the whole city, built of volcanic white sillar stone
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070513-101801-Marta SRL (76).JPG?imgmax=576
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also went to see Juanita - a mummy of a girl sacrificed by the Inka´s which was found in the 90s in the ice totally frozen on top of a volcano

anyways

later on went for lunch. MEL dear guss what Marta ate? ill only say that the population of guinea pigs has been dimished by one :)
oh yes. if you´re thinking that i was less hungry AFTER eating it... you´re wrong :). there´s not much meat on it

roasted corn:
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Plaza de Armas:
070513-123603-Marta SRL (108).JPG?imgmax=800

coca tea:
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guinea pig:
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potato salad:
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and of course i have all the pretty (?) pictures 4 u, and even a movie, hopefull will b able 2 upload them soon (have no cable with me now)

then we went for drinks on a rooftop terrace:
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our hotel (Casa de Melgar!):
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we´re off 2 dinner now (at 2am home time)

tomorrow going to the Colca Canyon. booked a nice 2-day trippie. hopefully condor pictures will follow

Posted by Camerowska 19:28 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Peru here we come!

Here's a LLAMA, there's a LLAMA, and another little LLAMA, fuzzy LLAMA, funny LLAMA, LLAMA LLAMA duck

semi-overcast 16 °C

Dear Friends,

Welcome to my new Peru travel blog!

Chris and I are already counting the days/hours till the flight to Lima (YAAAYY). I REALLY need a vacation (yes, dear colleagues, you are great, but every now and then I like to have a break from you too you know :))

I intend to regularly update the blog as we go, so you know what we are up to and where. There will also be some photos so you don't forget our happy faces either ;)

On that note: here's a sneak preview of what's to come. I found this pic on the internet. It's title was ''If-you-ever-had-a-guineapig-and-wondered-what-it-would-look-like-if-you-drove-over-it-and-deep-fried-it"... How applicable

360858-If-you-ever-had-a-guineapig-and-wondered-what-it-would-look-like-if-you-drove-over-it-and-deep-fried-it-1.jpg

Yes. In Peru a guinea pig is not a pet. It's FOOOOD

- Tjasa, dear: I'm VERY sorry I have exposed you to such trauma by showing it here!!

*** no animals were hurt during the making if this blog ***

- Mel, especially for you: I will take my own/real pickie of one of these as soon as I can, I promise

On that same note.... Here's The LLAMA song - THE most played song at my work (closely followed by one about little kuikentjes [chickens] but that's a totaly different story).
You either love it or hate it. Actually... Quite many of my colleagues developed that latter feeling for it after having heard it 100+ times ;)

It is MOST applicable to this trip!
For the ones who don't know it: it's one of the milestones, a-must-know-in-your-cultural-education ;)

(to open the file click on the arrow in the middle)

For the fans:

- You can find the lyrics here

- An mp3 file here. Yes, I have it as ringtone on my mobile, how lame! (?how llama?):

But back to the trip... The plan is to visit (among others):

  • Lima
  • Arequipa - city built of volcanic stone, at the foot of El Misti volcano
  • Colca Canyon - twice as deep as the Great Canyon, was considered deepest in the world, also world's best place to spot a flying condor (which we are hoping to see!)
  • Lake Titicaca - world's highest navigable lake - with floating islands made of reed on which the Uros Indians live. We're also planning on staying for the night at an indigenous family's house on one of the normal islands (where they don't even have electricity yet)
  • the Sacred Valley - with Cuzco, Urubamba, Pisac, Ollantaytambo and other places scattered with Inca ruins
  • Machu Picchu - the lost city of the Incas and the highlight of this trip

welkom.jpg

Most of the trip will take place high in the Andes. We will be at 3,500m above sea level most of the time, and at times even at 5,000. That's no picnic... I've stocked up on anti-altitude-sickness drugs and am hoping for the best...

Here's a map of the planned route:


(you can see it in more detail by pressing the "+" button on the map)

More to come from when we're actually THERE :)

Posted by Camerowska 22:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

2006 India trip route

Here's a summary of the route of th India trip

sunny 35 °C
View India on Camerowska's travel map.


(you may zoom in onto the map by using the "+"button)

Posted by Camerowska 21:01 Archived in India Comments (1)

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