PERU


(Peru Flag)


(Peru Map)


TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2009:

We had to get up very early on Tuesday for our flight from Santiago, Chile to Lima, Peru.
It was about a 3.5 hour flight. We arrived at the Hotel Meliá Lima mid afternoon.
The Meliá Lima hotel is located in the residential and financial district of San Isidro.
It's the nearest five star hotel to Jorge Chávez International Airport and very near the historical heart of the city.




All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2009:

It was back to the airport again first thing Wednesday morning for our flight to Cusco.
We arrived in Cusco, Peru very early in the afternoon on Wednesday.
We had to take things nice and slow our first day in Cusco, the city's elevation of 11,000 feet takes some getting used to.
My hotel, the Libertador Children posing for pictures is a big business in Cusco The Coricancha (Temple of the Sun)


Our hotel was literally inches from the Coricancha (Temple of the Sun).
The Coricancha was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated primarily to Inti, the Sun God.
The Coricancha (Temple of the Sun) View from inside the Coricancha (Temple of the Sun) The Coricancha (Temple of the Sun)


Above the city of Cusco is Sacsayhuamán, an Inca walled complex.
Climbing around these ruins at an elevation of 12,142 feet is not easy on your first day at this altitude.
But the historical significance and beauty of the area made it well worth the effort.
The city of Cusco from Sacsayhuamán Sacsayhuamán is an Inca walled complex Sacsayhuamán is an Inca walled complex


Some believe the walls were a form of fortification, while others believe it was only used to form the head of the Puma
that Sacsayhuamán along with Cusco form when seen from above.
The city of Cusco from Sacsayhuamán Children posing at Sacsayhuamán Llama grazing near Sacsayhuamán


We toured the Cathedral of Santo Domingo which was completed in 1654, almost 100 years after construction began.
The interior of the cathedral was the most beautiful I had ever seen (photography was not allowed).
La Iglesia de la Compańía de Jesús Cathedral of Santo Domingo Plaza de Armas


If there is a more beautiful square in this world than the Plaza de Armas, I have not seen it.
The two churches on the square are, La Iglesia de la Compańía de Jesús, Upper left photo and
the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, upper middle and lower right photos.
Plaza de Armas Moon above Cathedral of Santo Domingo


CUSCO, PERU VIDEO
10 minute video of Cusco, Peru.

Click on the player above to watch on ©YouTube.



Wednesday evening we went to dinner at a local restaurant.
We were entertained after dinner and I shot the videos below.

THE INKA WALL: THE MUSICIANS VIDEO
7 minute video of the performing musicians at the Inka Wall in Cusco, Peru.

Click on the player above to watch the video.


THE INKA WALL: THE DANCERS VIDEO
11 minute video of the performing dancers at the Inka Wall in Cusco, Peru.

Click on the player above to watch the video.


THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 2009:

We hit the road at 5:00 A.M. on Thursday and began our trek to Machu Picchu.
It was a two hour drive to Ollantaytambo where we caught a Peru Rail train to Aguas Calientes.
After 90 minutes or so on the train we arrived at Aguas Calientes.
It was then a 30 minute shuttle bus ride up the mountain to Machu Picchu.
The video just below these 3 pictures chronicles the journey, while the video further down is of Machu Picchu itself.
Early morning drive through the Andes heading to Machu Picchu The series of switchback up the mountain to Machu Picchu Looking down on Urubamba River from Machu Picchu

MACHU PICCHU: THE JOURNEY VIDEO
11 minute video of roundtrip journey to Machu Picchu in Peru.

Click on the player above to watch on ©YouTube.


Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 8000 feet above sea level.
It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 50 miles northwest of Cusco.
Looking down on Urubamba River from Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Llama grazing at Machu Picchu


Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu is one of the most familiar symbols of the Inca Empire.
Two thousand feet above the rumbling Urubamba river, the cloud shrouded ruins have palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms
and some 150 houses, all in a remarkable state of preservation. These structures, carved from the gray granite of the
mountain top are wonders of both architectural and aesthetic genius. Many of the building blocks weigh 50 tons or more
yet are so precisely sculpted and fitted together with such exactitude that the mortarless joints will not permit the
insertion of even a thin knife blade.
Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Me at Machu Picchu


The Incas started building it around 1460 AD but was abandoned as an official site for
the Inca rulers a hundred years later, at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire.
Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu


Although known locally, it was said to have been forgotten for centuries when
the site was brought to worldwide attention in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American historian.
Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu


Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
Since it was not plundered by the Spanish when they conquered the Incas,
it is especially important as a cultural site and is considered a sacred place.
Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu


The city sits in a saddle between two mountains,
with a commanding view down two valleys and a nearly impassable mountain at its back.
Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu


While the Inca people certainly used the Andean mountain top, erecting many hundreds of stone structures from the
early 1400's, legends and myths indicate that Machu Picchu (meaning 'Old Peak' in the Quechua language) was
revered as a sacred place from a far earlier time.
Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu


Whatever its origins, the Inca turned the site into a small (5 square miles) but extraordinary city.
Invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population,
and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu seems to have been utilized by the Inca as a secret ceremonial city.
Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu


After we finished at Machu Picchu we had a couple of hours to explore Aguas Calientes.
Machu Picchu Llama at Machu Picchu Aguas Calientes and Urubamba River


Aguas Calientes is the colloquial name for Machupicchu Pueblo, a town on the Urubamba River.
It is best known as the closest access point to the the sacred Incan city of Machu Picchu which is 3.7 miles away.
Aguas Calientes serves as a terminal for the PeruRail passenger train service from Cusco.
Urubamba River in Aguas Calientes Statue of Pachacutec and town cathedral from the main square in Aguas Calientes Aguas Calientes


MACHU PICCHU VIDEO
9 minute video of Machu Picchu and the lost city of the Incas.

Click on the player above to watch on ©YouTube.




FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2009:

It was back to the airport Friday morning for our flight back to Lima.
We arrived in Lima around noon and had a nice tour of the city.
A square in Lima, Peru The Church of San Francisco in Lima, Peru Plaza in front of the Church of San Francisco


The heart of the old town is around the Plaza Mayor, until a few years ago known as the Plaza de Armas.
The Desamparados railway station in Lima, Peru The Plaza Mayor in Lima, Peru Lima, Peru Cathedral on Plaza Mayor


The austere Cathedral, designed by Francisco Becerra, was modelled on that of Jaén in Spain in a Renaissance style.
Lima, Peru Cathedral on Plaza Mayor The Plaza Mayor in Lima, Peru One of the buildings surrounding Plaza Mayor in Lima, Peru


Surrounding Plaza Mayor are several brightly painted and well restored colonial buildings.
These buildings are both government offices and privately owned businesses.
The Government Palace on Plaza Mayor The Plaza Mayor in Lima, Peru One of the buildings surrounding Plaza Mayor in Lima, Peru


LIMA, PERU VIDEO
8 minute video of Lima, Peru.

Click on the player above to watch on ©YouTube.


MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON MARCH 6, 2009
Hello All,

This is my final report from the trip. I know I was complaining about my travel headaches in the last email. I am happy to say the effort was well worth it. Cusco and Machu Picchu were amazing.

Wednesday morning we flew from Lima to Cusco. It only took one hour to get there by air. Would have took over 20 hours if we had driven there. It was a beautiful sunny day in Cusco and very warm. Not what I expected it to be like since the city's elevation is over 11,000 feet. We all had some troubles with the altitude the first night, headaches, shortness of breath and the like.

La Iglesia de la Compańía de Jesús

Cusco is a beautiful old city and our landmark hotel was right in the center of it. That afternoon we had a tour of the city. Saw a lot of Inka ruins dating back to the 1500s. Our guides took things nice and slow since none of us could breath. We visited this huge cathedral which was the most beautiful I have ever seen. I have never seen so much silver and gold in my life. Later that evening we went to dinner in this nice restaurant in town. The food was fantastic and they entertained us with a folklore show after dinner. It was a great day.

Children posing at Sacsayhuamán

Thursday, Machu Picchu day, started very early. Breakfast at 4:00 A.M. and to the buses right after. Even though there is only 36 of us, we had to split into two groups. Big buses could never fit on Cusco's small streets. First it was about a 2 hour drive to the train station. It really wasn't that far but you rarely can go faster than 20 miles per hour on these roads. Then it was about 90 minutes on the train through the Andes Mountains to the base of Machu Picchu. We then switched to shuttle buses for the 30 minute drive straight up in the air. Then finally our four day vigil to get here paid off. It was a beautiful day and we spent several hours walking around the ruins of the lost city of the Inkas. I have attached a photo.

Machu Picchu

We had lunch up on top before coming back down on the shuttle buses. We then had a couple hours to explore the village around the train station. The village is built around the rapids of the river and probably had more peddlers per square inch than any other place in the world. Our train left the village a little before 5:00. They entertained us on the train with performances of local customs. It was about 9:00 P.M. before we got back to the hotel. A very long day, but worth every minute.

Aguas Calientes

Today, Friday, we flew back to Lima arriving here a little after noon. We had a tour of the city of Lima before returning to our hotel for our final night. It has been a great trip. Sad that it is over but I had a great time.

Lima, Peru Cathedral on Plaza Mayor

Tim

SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2009:


At 1:25 A.M. my Delta flight departed Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru for home.
I had about a four hour layover in Atlanta and arrived home at 2:00 P.M.
It was a wonderful vacation and as usual I am now looking forward to the next one.



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