North America, South America · 16 Days · 59 Moments · August 2017

Roxanne's adventure through Ecuador and Peru

14 September 2017

Train ride from Machu Picchu back to Cusco.
A few fun shots from today!
Llamamowers! These wild llamas inhabit Machu Picchu and help maintain the grounds. They are so cute!
More photos of Machu Picchu.
We spent an amazing morning at Machu Picchu today! It rained as we waited in line to enter. But stopped shortly after we entered. Watching the clouds lift off the mountains was AMAZING. Notice the change in the pictures. They were taken just moments apart.

13 September 2017

Arrived at our hotel in Machu Picchu... El Ma Pi. Some photos of town. Included a photo of my amazing dinner of pork and mashed sweet potatoes. The pork was like BBQ ribs...only better! The sweet potatoes were the sweetest I've ever eaten. No amount of brown sugar or marshmallows could ever top this naturally sweet sweet potato! I'm busy trying to figure how to import them at home.
We really enjoyed our train ride yesterday.
Along the way we stopped at an Inca archeological site, Ollantaytambo. Many climbed to the top. I had to stop about halfway up as I was dizzy and seeing black spots in my vision. In picture four you see a small dwelling. That was not a house but a sort of refrigerator. It is quite windy up the mountain and the Inca stored produce there to preserve it. Picture 5 you can see a face in the mountain. This face was actually used to communicate with other communities. The sun light shines perfect on the face. Inca would reflect that light in signals to another location on the mountain who would pass the signal along various points until the intended recipient.
I've learned that I love taking pictures of flowers here in Peru. These were taken at our stop for lunch.
Pisa Market is a famous market in Peru. And I did my best to single handedly support the local economy! We learned about alpaca and how to tell the different quality. We visited a bakery and ate amazing empanadas. They were raising guinea pigs in the corner. These are not pets but for food. We learned that Peruvian silver is 95% silver compared to American silver which is 92.5%. And Donna had a little fun!
Driving to the train station to head to Machu Picchu I tried to get some photos of the amazing scenery. The best photos were of course when we stopped. I included some others just for comparison.

12 September 2017

Tonight we went to Don Antonio for dinner and a show. First a Peruvian band played. We decided they were the equivalent of Peruvian rock..but still lots of flutes. Loved it!! Pacha Mama is now my favorite song. After they finished a group of dancers entertained us. Even Al got up on stage and danced in the end!
Before dinner our group gather for a drink. Gotta drink it here because it's not available at home!
This Inca location was used for sacrificing young boys and girls and other animals. Human sacrifice was rare. The sixth photo is of the sacrifice table. I couldn't get anyone to lay on it for s picture. 🙁I can't figure out why...
An Inca adventure today. Notice how these stones are cut and fit perfectly together. There is no mortar between the stones. The largest stones are 170 tons with smaller stones at 15 tons. They were moved two miles from the quarry to their location. How was this accomplished? The prevailing theory is round stone roads. The stones were moved over rolling stones to their present location. They were cut by heating the stone and then pounding to create a break. Then they sanded the pieces. This particular spot was a temple for royalty. Commoners were allowed only during the winter solstice (June 21).

11 September 2017

We sat outside to enjoy the downpour. This is the view out of our door. I am being lazy this afternoon. The rest of the group is taking a walk. I however have no desire to walk in the ☔️. I will meet everyone for dinner. But until then I'm staying snug in my bed.
Lunch today was at the restaurant across the street from our hotel. I just had a bowl of cream of corn soup. But prior to bringing out the soup we were served corn and a local drink. The corn kernels are HUGE! And they taste like over ripe corn. The corn is grown locally. It is also eaten dried to snack on instead of popcorn.

10 September 2017

These identified where the restrooms were located. Then the doors were marked with anatomically correct statues.
The flowers outside of this private museum were amazing.
The Peruvian people were a very advanced civilization. Or I should say civilizations. They performed brain surgery 3,000 years ago with 60% survival rate. They knew the sun was the center of the universe. Their metal works were of superior quality. Ceramic pottery. It was amazing to learn so much about Peruvian history. They were quite an advanced society. Yes there was human sacrifice and drinking of blood. But the quality of their products is mind boggling.
Walking Lima some random photos. The purple robes are part of a procession celebrating the Lord of the Miracle. A slave painted a picture of Jesus on a wall that did not fall in an earthquake. It was great to see so many young men in suits. This procession has great meaning to the participants. The miracle is celebrated every October. October in the purple month. I need to come here in October!!! The lion is actually the very first mailbox in Peru. I love it!
Visited the museum of Santo Domingo in Lima. Visited the crypt below. Bones visible. Those buried in the crypt are 'recycled' every 25 years. Unless you paid millions then you get to stay forever.

9 September 2017

Long lines at the airport today. We were in line for an hour to check in. 🙁 It was so frustrating. But we managed and made our flight. So sad to say goodbye to Ecuador. But we are now in Lima, Peru. Can't wait to explore more in the morning.
More photos on our walking tour of Guayaquil. Beautiful town. It is very hot and humid in Guayaquil.
Today we toured Guayaquil. Beautiful town. Some photos of the main square and church.

8 September 2017

Not a whole lot to report from last night. We spent some time at the pool. Then joined the others for drinks. Then more drinks. Then more drinks. We had dinner. Then more drinks. I'm going to miss this group of travelers!
Today we said good bye to Isabella II and the Galápagos. We arrived in Guayaquil this afternoon. We spent some time at the pool then joined our friends at the bar. Discovered a lack of hotel accommodation in Lima. But David is sure it's a glitch and has his team working to sort it out. I've no doubt we will have a hotel in Lima.

7 September 2017

No photos from this afternoon. I was tired from snorkeling; which I do not enjoy! Plus my feet really wanted a break from shoes. 😉 I stayed on the ship to rest and pack my suitcase to disembark from The Isabella II in the morning. The service on this yacht has been fantastic. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a trip in the Galápagos.
We hiked a volcano this morning. 380 steps to the top of Bartolome island. Bartolome is made from the lava flow of the volcano. It is a second generation volcano with smaller third generation volcanos on it.
Love me some penguins. Three penguin sightings this morning. One on a rock and two in the water.

6 September 2017

Great hike this morning! We hike North Seymour Island. We saw many frigat and blue footed booby birds. Lots and lots of babies on this island. We have learned through this trip that the Galápagos is very much a desert island. And these naturalists like to talk.

5 September 2017

Sitting on the deck as we move from one island to the next. I very much enjoyed the kayaking adventure this morning. Al snorkeled while I was kayaking. No pictures as these were very wet activities.
After playing with the sea lions we took a short hike. We saw many many land iguanas. Love the blue footed booby birds.
Sea lions! We took zodiacs to the island and saw many sea lions.

3 September 2017

Some photos from our trip to the hot springs.
We hit the ad soon as we landed. Met a family from Qatar. Also met a gentleman from Ely of all places.
After a harrowing drive, we reached the hot springs. Last night was a historic rainstorm. Many roads were washed out creating tremendous traffic in Tena. So we celebrated with some tequila shots and wine when we got to lunch.
Some photos from around town.
I tried a grilled grub today. The grubs eat the heart of the palm. The indigenous eat them raw, steamed and grilled. We were told they taste like bacon. We were not lied to. The grubs were indeed quite yummy!
A visit to the butterfly farm this morning before we left the Amazon. So very interesting!

2 September 2017

Some photos of flowers on the resort location.
We walked in the jungle this morning. We identified a new bamboo shoot. The walk was muddy and a bit slippery in locations. Lots of up and down in the jungle. We didn't see much wildlife. But did enjoy the hike. A termite nest was pointed out to us. The termites are a natural mosquito repellent and the nests are burned as a repellent. But they do not eat termites in Ecuador like they do in Costa Rica. In fact, Barb tried to eat one and they just laughed at her and swatted it away.
This morning we visited AmaZOOco. It's an animal rescue facility in the rainforest. Most of these animals were once upon a time someone's pet. So they can never be released into the wild. Some have mental issues like Michael the capuchin. Other capuchins have rejected him because of his behavior. So he would never survive in the wild. We also saw many species of toucans and macaw. Sometimes inter species birds will mate. Then the other birds reject them. So the blue and the green macaw have to be separated from the other birds because they are looked down upon for mating with another type. Guess it's not just humans who are judgmental.

1 September 2017

Then we tried a cacao bean. Just like in Costa Rica last summer we sucked on the fruit of the cacao bean. As you can see Kathy was a HUGE fan. 🤢Donna described it as the consistency of snot! After our cacao bean spitting contest we headed home in our canoes.
We learned about blow darts. We were given the opportunity to try a blow dart. The men each tried. And we're given 2 attempts to kill the monkey. Only about half hit the monkey. If they did hit the monkey they did it on their second attempt. When they each went the complained the women had to try. I stepped up. Received my warrior painting from David. Took aim. And hit that freaking money on my first try! That is how it's done boys!
Then we learned about the indigenous drink chicha. Yucca and sweet potato fermented to make this drink. I did NOT try it. Guides recommended not drinking it. Though you can see Marco enjoyed a large serving himself!
After lunch we boated across the river to an indigenous village. David was our native naturalist. He took us on a short hike and showed us yucca plants. The palms that are used to make Panama hats. And we entered a villagers hut to learn about their traditional way of life. Al tried to blow a shell used to call people to help.
Where to even begin! Let's start with the hotel accommodations. Wow! Casa del Suiza is beautiful. The pool is cool which is precisely what you need after a hike! The hammocks on the balcony are nap worthy. If not for the mosquitoes I'd sleep there tonight!
Top of the highlands. Our little group.
This morning we are driving through the Andes mountains. The views are amazing.

31 August 2017

The Virgin who guards the city of Quito
The Jesuit church of Quito. The door demonstrates how ornate the inside of the church was. No photos allowed inside. The amount of gold is amazing. Such an ornate church.
We had lunch in the old town of Quito. Beautiful view of the courtyard. And lunch would not be complete without going to confession.
We were allowed into the entrance of the presidential palace I felt honored!
Equator!!! We were baptized by Estavon on the equator this morning! Shots of guapo on the center of the earth at 9:30am. 😍 This is my kind of tour!

30 August 2017

On our flight from Atlanta to Quito! Just wanted to show the difference in economy (Msp to alt) and first class (alt to Quito). 😉
Flying from Minneapolis to Atlanta! Very excited to start this trip. Because I really, really, really need a nap. 😴😴
We are now waiting in the Delta sky lounge...thanks to an upgrade. 😊 so free breakfast and a comfortable place to relax until our first flight takes off. Waiting for Kathy to arrive. With our upgrade our whole group will be flying first class to Quito! Thank you Delta. I love a free upgrade. 😊
On the shuttle to the airport. I can't wait to see what this adventure brings!