Monday, December 10, 2012

Day Zero - Living The Dream... 1952

Once upon a time... about 60 years ago, there was a "day-dreamer," named Marion.

Photo 1.  The year, 1952, had him, pictured on the far left of the photo, with 5 siblings. Two more would be added in the usual 2 year interval.

Photo 2.  School had not yet had his attention, except maybe for the geography class. The details covered for tests were not the appeal. The capitol of Bolivia; LaPaz...etc.  What was more interesting  - did it look like the pictures in the books? Jungles? Wild animals? Those curious things an 8 year old finds of interest.

Photo 3.  This was the year, he "met" the first love of his life.  No, not Carol. Not yet. Instead, it was camera of his own - A newer version of the Kodak Brownie. Smaller and easier to use than the older 1940 version of the Kodak Brownie box his parents used on their honeymoon in 1941.

Dreams... they included travel. Would he ever go to these places he only saw in books? Better yet, visit and take his own photos?

Just a dream he thought  (-:

An alternate web links to simplify your journey with us is using the one for mobile devices:

Day 1 of 17, Friday, Oct 26, 2012 Flight-Dearborn Michigan to Quito Ecuador

Living The Dream... 2012

Fast forward 60 years.  Carol and I have been married for 47 years.  Times a waistin’ sittin’ ‘round the shanty.  You never know how many more years your body will allow such travel?

How about a trip of the lifetime?  Maybe 2 trips?  A double header!  Alright. All set.  If you’re going to South America, why not make 2 stops?  Galapagos Islands, part of Ecuador, but 600 miles west in the Pacific Ocean.  Next, another one of those “bucket list” trips – Machu Picchu in Peru.

I have omitted using a comments section to this blog.  Past experience showed a lack of respect by non-invited viewers to add non-family friendly ads and comments.  Enough on that.  Send me a note if you are one of the “lucky few” to get a personal invite and have something to share  (-:

The GIMP Adventure was planned over many months.  This trip, like last years to Italy and Istanbul, was setup through Road Scholar and arrangements made by Holbrook Travel in Gainesville Florida. 

Details @ Road Scholar #18484

A link for last year’s adventure blog is here:

P3 – Pizza & Popes & People

To simplify my work on this blog, will limit the blog to 3 photos – a triptych story.  Can 3 photos tell a story?  You be the judge.

A link will also be added for more photos taken that day.  For 17 day trip – just over 14,000 snapshots.  So, what you will see will be a "small"portion..

Each page will also include a link or two that I feel will add to what we learned.  As Road Scholar touts – Adventures in Lifelong Learning.  Luckily, no quiz will be given  (-:

For me, the "learning" took place; before, during and after.  After going to these places realized how much more "spaces" I needed to fill in.

Photo 1.  As we left the house, the weather was “ideal” here in Michigan – cold and rainy.  After a brief stop in Atlanta, we were on flight to Quito.  Altitude over 9,000 feet.  Our tow worries – 1. Altitude sickness – 2. Sea sickness.  While waiting for cab to arrive – anxiety in pit of stomach was similar to what I found was our experience to both air and sea concerns.

Here is Wiki link for Quito.

Photo 2.  Shows flight info to Quito – sounds just like the cheese Cheetos.  Some folks want to use the Q as in quit. Which reminds me to encourage all not to quit dreaming of your own adventures.  Yes, they can be as close as your backyard or maybe the choices or chances we considered.  Now that this blog is done post-trip will say – wow, lots of fun.

Photo 3.  Our driver waiting for us at airport.  Time is already after midnight, so ride to Sheraton Hotel will show us the vibrancy of Quito nightlife  (-:

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 2 of 17 Saturday Oct 27 2012

Day 2: Quito – City Excursion & Field Trip to the Equator Saturday, October 27

Breakfast at hotel. Orientation to the program with Victoria.  Then Intiñan Museum that has a permanent exposition that details the Andean ancestral cultures. Saw replica of an ancient home and saw way of life and traditions of indigenous people long ago.

Visit El Panecillo for panoramic views of Quito.  Before the Spanish arrived, the hill known as El Panecillo (small bread roll) was used by the Inca for sun worshiping. In the early 1800s, the Spanish military took advantage of El Panecillo's strategic location and elevation (9,843 ft), and built a fortress to protect and monitor the city.  we were able to see Cotopaxi's snowy peak in the distance.

Walked and explored Quito's colonial center, with Independence Square.  Saw the Presidential and Bishop Palace, as well as the Cathedral. Visit La Compañía church, one of the most beautiful churches in Quito, legendary for its gold covered interior. Visit the historic San Francisco church and convent, raised up above a wide stone paved court originally known as Tiangues, a place used by the indigenous inhabitants of Quito to trade products.

Lunch at local restaurant including an introduction to Ecuadorian food products and typical Ecuadorian cuisine.

Before dinner, a lecture: The Past, Present and Future of Ecuador. Dinner at hotel.

Photo 1.  Found out the accuracy of Equator mark differed from my GPS.

Photo 2.  Carol and I were surprised that our 47th anniversary info was passed on by Road Scholar office.

Photo 3.  The men, dressed as early “penitents,” served us a special dessert which was made eerie with by adding some dry ice to the plate.  The blurry photo was chosen to show how my head felt that first few days.  Tomorrow though, fly back down to sea level and next stop – Galapagos Islands.  Now I can compare how the body adapts to the movement of our boat/home for the next week  (-:

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 3 of 17 Sunday Oct 28 2012

Day 3: Galápagos Islands - Flight to Baltra Island/Board Yacht; Yolita II/ Visit North Seymour Island. Sunday, October 28

Breakfast at the Quito hotel. Transfer to the airport for flight to the Galápagos Islands.  The 44-pound weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to the islands had us pack carefully.

Baltra Island is one of the two available airports in the Galápagos Islands. The other airport is located on San Cristobal Island.  At Lima airport we met our naturalist guide, Edgar, and transferred to the 16 passenger yacht; Yolita II.

Sailed to North Seymour Island. Dry landing (we get to step on rock path, instead of feet into water) on North Seymour Island using Zodiac inflatable pontoon boat.  North Seymour Island is conveniently located next to Baltra Island. It is considered one of the most active seabird colonies in the archipelago. Blue-footed Boobies will nest near the trails, we had opportunity to get a close view during the walks. 

 Web links: Galapagos

Encountered Swallow-tailed Gulls and sea lions, not seals. Sea lions have ears, seals don’t, we were told.  This site is a major nesting colony of Blue-footed Boobies and has the a very large colony of Magnificent Frigate birds. Yes, they are big – maybe 7 foot wingspan?  Also varied iguana species; marine iguanas and land iguanas, plus some lava lizards during a hike around the bird nesting sites.

Every evening we have a review of current and next day’s activities.  Very helpful.  Delicious dinner followed.

Photo 1. Our home for the next week – Yolita II. Will handle 16 passengers.  Our guide, Edgar, is at the helm of the first Zodiac inflatable boat that will allow us to make on shore landings possible.

Photo 2.  The outstanding crew that helped us.  From left to right: Edgar, our guide; Tyrone, the El Capitan; First Mate, Luis; Loberti, the engineer – a master mechanic of all things; Peter, Zodiac operator; Andy, a real “boy scout”: helpful, friendly and much more; Humberto, master chef, truly a genius in the small quarters he works in; his Sous chef, Joel; and the very notable Naldo, bartender, bell ringer for meal notifications and a wealth of knowledge on many things.

Photo 3.  The “tourists,” us;  Front row: Paula, Nina, and Laura.  Second row: Barbara, her sister; Joyce, Bonnie, Gail and Lew.  Back row: Carol, Gary, (me) Mariano, Peter, Olaf and Martin.  The old guy in the front front wouldn’t tell us his name.  He did say his favorite book is by Dr. Seuss – Yertle The Turtle!   Fancy that, considering he is a tortoise! 

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 4 of 17 Monday Oct 29 2012

Day 4: Galápagos Islands - San Cristobal Island (Cerro Brujo), Leon Dormido & Isla Lobos Monday, October 29

This morning visited to Leon Dormido (Sleeping Lion), for optimal swimming and snorkeling activities.

Web photos Leon Dormido (Sleeping Lion)

 Leon Dormido (aka Kicker Rock by British explorers) is a vertical cone formation which rises almost 500 feet from the ocean. It has eroded to give it the shape seen as a shoe or a sleeping lion. You can usually see Blue-footed Boobies, Masked Boobies, and frigate birds on its cliffs, as well as sea lions on the shores.  Later in the morning, we navigated to nearby Cerro Brujo for a  wet landing.  Cerro Brujo (Wizard Hill) is one of the nicest white-sand beaches found in the islands. It is situated in a secluded spot on the western side of San Cristobal, with beautiful views of Leon Dormido in the distance. we walked along the beach trail searching for marine iguanas, sea lions, and Sally Lightfoot crabs.

Returned to the yacht for lunch. Wet landing on Isla Lobos. Its name in Spanish means "sea lion island" due to a large colony of sea lions that made the isle their home. Loud and lively barks can be heard. These vocal and playful mammals enjoy sunning themselves anywhere/everywhere, providing us with an opportunity to observe their social antics. In addition to sea lions, the island is also home to a colony of Blue-footed Boobies and a number of frigate birds. This was also a good snorkeling site and a good place to possibly see manta rays and sea turtles.

Photo 1.  Humberto and Joel making us something tasty.  The kitchen is maybe 6 by 10 feet? Note the half-moon window that Joel hands food to Naldo who preps the buffet counter for morning meal.  The lunch and dinners are served at our table.  The bar was stock with most imbibing fluids you might want to partake in.

Photo 2.  The breakfast service counter is on the right.

Photo 3.  We were provided a variety of seafood and chicken plus other delight I can’t recollect.  Oh yes, octopus one night!

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 5 of 17 Tuesday Oct 30 2012

Day 5: Galápagos Islands - Española Island (Gardner Bay, Islote Osborn & Punta Suarez) Tuesday, October 30

Wet landing at Gardner Bay, Española Island.  This morning we enjoyed a beach walk, and a ride around Gardner and Osborn islets.  Española is the southernmost island in the Galápagos. It is best known as the nesting place of the rare Waved Albatross. Most of the world's population of these majestic birds nest here.

Gardner Bay, on the northeastern tip of the island, has a beautiful white-sand beach where sea lions like to sun themselves.  We had an opportunity for swimming and snorkeling. Tried to spot marine species like the king angelfish, creole fish, damsel fish, parrot fish, manta rays, and white-tipped reef sharks.

Afternoon field trip to Punta Suarez on the western end of Española Island.  It is home to the Galapagos Hawk and is also the best place to see the red-form of the marine iguana. Looked for mockingbirds, finches, and boobies. Learn about the lava terrain and cross the inactive lava fields.  Also saw the famous blowhole from 100 foot cliff and saw water shoot 50-70 feet into the air.

Española Island blowhole images.

Photo 1.  Omar provided a wall chart of the plans for the days we were there.

Photo 2.  Each morning in our eating area, he had a timetable for us to get ready for the day’s adventures.

Photo 3.  Since we had to anchor away from shore, the Zodiac launch was from the rear of the boat.

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 6 of 17 Wednesday Oct 31 2012

Day 6: Galápagos Islands – Santa Fe Island & South Plaza, Wednesday, October 31

Wet landing on Santa Fe Island.  The island has one of the best locations for swimming with sea lions and is also a great place to catch a glimpse of white-tipped reef shark and sea turtles.  Took trip to cactus forest to see some of the tallest opuntia cacti in the island and search for a colony of Santa Fe Iguanas. Afternoon; dry landing on Plaza Sur Island.  Continued on the trail to a cactus forest to get a close look at land iguanas and their habitat before continuing our hike in search of sea lion colonies. The small island is a great place to view seabirds in flight. A walk along the cliff offers good views of Red-billed Tropicbirds, frigate birds, pelicans, Swallow-tailed Gulls, and other pelagic species.  See web link:

Photo 1.  Wow, up close and personal with sea lions

Photo 2.  Even the iguanas were not afraid of us walking near.

Photo 3.  This Galápagos hawk flew up to us, rather than have to see how close we could get – phenomenal.

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 7 of 17 Thursday Nov 1 2012

Day 7: Galápagos Islands - Santa Cruz Island (Charles Darwin Research Station & Pit Craters) Thursday, November 01

This morning, visited the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island to  learn about conservation efforts throughout the islands.
The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) is a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. The objective of the CDRS is to conduct scientific research and environmental education for conservation. The station has a large team of scientists, educators, volunteers, research students and support staff from all over the world. At the CDRS, visitors have the opportunity to observe giant tortoises at all stages of development, from a few days old to close to one-hundred years of age.  Web links here:

After lunch, enjoy a field trip into the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.  Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the archipelago. It is the administrative center of the islands and the most populated. The National Park Service is based here, but perhaps the most important is the Charles Darwin Research Station, the headquarters of all research and conservation efforts on the islands. Giant tortoises can be spotted on the island at certain times of year and several species of Darwin's finches reside here. A dramatic change in vegetation zones can be seen as one travels into the highland region of the island.  Visit Cerro Chato and the twin pit craters (Los Gemelos).  The twin craters found in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island are actually large sinkholes--not volcanic formations. They were created as a result of the collapse, or the sinking, of surface materials into cracks. The surrounding Scalesia forest is a great place to view vegetation that is unique to the islands and search for land birds.

Photo 1.  A visit with “Ché Chuck” Evolutionary Revolutionary.  At times I feel like Charles Darwin.  Taking a “long time” to study, ponder and evaluate my observations.

Photo 2.  The Darwin research facility has much to help us understand the greatness of his efforts.

Photo 3.  Even with “data” available for 200 years, there are still some who believe his theory is just that.  It’s up to us to believe what we want?

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 8 of 17 Friday Nov 2 2012

Message in a bottle? How about in a barrel?

Day 8: Galápagos Islands – Floreana Island (Punta Cormorant, Post Office Bay & Mirador de la Baronesa) Devil's Crown Friday, November 02

In the morning, snorkel at Devil's Crown which is a shallow sunken crater that makes for one of the best snorkeling sites in the islands. The submerged volcano has clear blue waters and a variety of colorful fish.  Sea lions were seen in the water and seabirds nest in the rock crevices . 

Lunch onboard. Afternoon excursion to Post Office Bay that is on the northern side of Floreana Island. This is the site where whalers used to "mail" their correspondence. A barrel was used as a mail box and held letters from sailors across the globe. If a passing ship was heading where the mail was addressed, the captain would collect and deliver it. 

Although the barrel is no longer the original one, the system still works since we visitors continue to collect and drop off mail.  

A short walk from the famous barrel will take us to a tunnel formed by laval flows.  From the lookout point enjoy great views of resident seabirds.  Mirador de la Baronesa is a basaltic tuff formation located in la Olla Bay, between Punta Cormorant and Post Office Bay. The site earned its name from letters written by Baroness Eloisa Von Wagner and the Wittmer family describing the area. 

Web links here:

Ghosts of the Galapagos, the Baroness Eloisa von Wagner Bosquet

Wiki - Floreana Island

Photo of Margret Wittmer, Original Settler of Floreana ...

Floreana: A Woman's Pilgrimage to the Galapagos by Margaret Wittmer

Photo 1.  The Floreana 200 year old post office.

Photo 2.  Looks more like a barrel than a post office box?

Photo 3.  Us sorting thru what mail we might be able to deliver.  I took 6 hoping to learn from those who are the addressees.  That story for another time.

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 9 of 17 Saturday Nov 3 2012

It’s always hard saying goodbye )-:

Day 9: Galápagos Islands – Santa Cruz Island (Bahia Ballena, Bahia Eden & Cerro Dragon) Saturday, November 03

Enjoyed our visit to Bahia Ballena (Whale Bay). The cove of green sand is located at the base of Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) on the west coast of Santa Cruz. The beach contains a large amount of olivine crystals, green in color, that were formed from volcanic materials.

Lunch onboard, than a dry landing on Santa Cruz for a walk to Dragon Hill. Went to a saltwater lagoon and saw pink flamingoes (-:

Then hiked up Dragon Hill to see a beautiful view of the bay.  Needed to watch where we stepped.  Also see WDD – wild donkey dung - along our path!  This area has an interesting Scalesia forest and is the nesting site for numerous reintroduced land iguanas.  What’s a Scalesia forest you ask?  Web links here:

Scalesia forest on the Galapagos Islands

Scalesia trees & shrubs

Scalesia Zone Flora Voyagers

Photo 1.  A great end to a perfect sea adventure.  A toast from the crew.

Photo 2.  Even a special desert from Chef Humberto - Feliz Viaje Amigos – Happy Travel Friends.  Need I say more?

Photo 3.    We sailed into the sunset – gorgeous.

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 10 of 17 Sunday Nov 4 2012

Day 10: Guayaquil - Santa Cruz Island (Black Turtle Cove) & Baltra Island Flight to Guayaquil/Walk Along the Malecon. Sunday, November 04

Start the day with excursion to Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz Island.   A quiet dinghy ride through the mangroves. The motor will be turned off to allow close observation of marine turtles, white tipped reef sharks, yellow rays and other marine species.  Return to the yacht for a farewell snack.  Sail to Baltra Island and transfer to the airport for flight to Guayaquil.

In Guayaquil an afternoon excursion to see iguanas in city park – wow, no cages!  Then on to Malecon (river walk).  A revitalization project in the 1990s, turned it into a beautiful city with many tourist attractions. The two mile river walk along the Guayas River has become a favorite spot for locals and tourists to take a stroll and visit restaurants, art galleries, stores, and museums.  Web links here:

Wiki - Guayaquil

Lizards in Guayaquil

Photo 1.  Last morning water adventure details.

Photo 2.  We will miss our time on the water and the islands.

Photo 3.  Two sea turtles “getting cozy”  (-:

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 11 of 17 Monday Nov 5 2012

Day 11: Guayaquil - Flight to Lima (delayed) Monday, November 05

Early breakfast at hotel. Transfer to the airport for morning flight to Cusco.  Flight issues keeps us in Guayaquil. Went back to Hotel Oro Verde for a “few” hours to wait things out.  Better than sitting in airport lobby with little seating until flight arrangements confirmed.  Arrived to Lima and spent night there.

Photo 1.  The next day’s flight was to take us to Cusco.  Instead, a diversion to Lima, with great accommodations made by Daniel.

Photo 2.  Lima, the capitol, has 10 million residents – everywhere you look – people and housing.

Photo 3.  My nightly electronic gadget housekeeping.  Many batteries need charging.

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 12 of 17 Tuesday Nov 6 2012

Day 12: Flight to Cusco.  Bus to Sacred Valley (Yucay) - Chincheros Town & Ollantaytambo Ruins. Tuesday, November 06

Ugh, up at 4 a.m. To catch flight to Cusco.  Scheduling error yesterday had us spend night in Lima.  Then bus to Sacred Valley.  We visit a Chincheros town including a visit to a weaving cooperative, where you we met with locals and learn about the weaving styles and techniques.

Next, the Pisac Market, which dates back to the ancient Andean days when people in the highlands depended on trade. The natives trade vegetables, herbs and potatoes for things like matches, oranges and medicines.

Then to Hotel Boutique San Agustin Monasterio de la Recoleta.  Very nice.  Tasty food wonderful rooms and great views of mountains with ice cap!  After lunch, presentation on origin of potatoes and biodiversity in the Andean countries by Profesor Maywa Blanco Zamalloa, faculty from University Agronomía in Cusco.

This is followed by a trip to 
Ollantaytambo, a town with original buildings of Inca construction.   Here the Inca retreated to make their last stand in the highlands against the Spanish. Running water still flows through the town streets in aqueducts. The terraces above the town still are farmed by hand. The pinnacle above the town is a small burial ground.

Another lecture early evening was by Dr. Theo Paredes, an expert on Andean Culture.  He talked about Machu Picchu and its spiritual and mystical significance to the ancient Inca.

Geographic features & Photographs around Urubamba, in Cusco, Peru

Hotel Boutique San Agustin Monasterio de la Recoleta

Profesor Maywa Blanco Zamalloa

Dr. Theo Paredes, PhD – Study of Andean Culture

Peru book - Kantupata beyond Machu Picchu

Wiki - Ollantaytambo

Photo 1.  Wow, streets have no traffic @ 4 a.m.

Photo 2.  Finally, made it to Cusco.  Back at high altitude we get a cup of coca tea while boarding our bus.

Photo 3.  I keep seeing these same photos – even on the travel brochures.  Will it look that way?

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 13 of 17 Wednesday Nov 7 2012

Day 13: Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) – Excursion to UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wednesday, November 07

After breakfast at hotel took train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu following the Urubamba River with spectacular views of the Andes.  We would have taken the train form a station a city closer if the floods from last year had not eliminated part of the tracks and roadway.  As it was, only a 20 minute bus ride over a new “path” along the river to catch the train.

Along the way, went thru several climate zones; from alpine to tropical.  Checked into Inkaterra Hotel, another w-o-w place.  Orchids and birds everywhere.   Then took bus to the Machu Picchu Ruins with lunch planned at local restaurant near the archeological site.  Continued the afternoon guided field trip in and around Machu Picchu Ruins.

This ancient Inca city was “rediscovered” in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a Yale graduate.  With the group was a U.S. senator fascinated with Inca archaeology. Bingham found Machu Picchu, with the help of a local farmer who knew about the ruins, while searching for Vilcabamba and Vitcos.

Bingham hypothesized that the site was a "citadel," existing for strategic and defense purposes. He also speculated that the site was a refuge for Cusco's Virgins of the Sun, based upon the finding of skulls there, although not scientifically classified as female. Breakthroughs in archaeology since 1985 have, taken as a whole, supported the emerging view of Machu Picchu as a ceremonial and administrative center for a very populous region. Machu Picchu was built, flourished, and then fell into demise within a period of 100 years.

Today, a special day, will add a few more photos to the story.

Photo 1.  Looking out room window can see clouds or maybe water vapor coming down from ice caps on mountains?

Photo 2.  Stopped into the chapel on the hotel property, formerly a convent from Spanish times.  Am saying “thanks for the memories.”  I am here at Machu Picchu area – finally.  Had to also say thanks that we were not ill like a few members of our group.  They went to town for outside medical help.  “What if“ you had all these plans and got so close, but couldn’t go farther?

Photo 3.  Breakfast was tasty.  Even saw the ill ones from yesterday looking much better.  They said they were glad to have better health.  They have returned and are “ready” to visit their “dream.”

Photo 4.  Yep, that’s me – I am here – Machu Picchu!

Photo 5.  Carol too.  She set things up.  I am just there “for the ride” of my life  (-:

Photo 6.  Wow, it does look just like the pictures.

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 14 of 17 Thursday Nov 8 2012

Day 14: Cusco - Orientation to Aguas Calientes/Train and Bus to Cusco, Thursday, November 08

Breakfast at hotel, then guided excursion around the town of Aguas Calientes Visited the local market.  Some participants got up before daybreak to revisit Machu Picchu and try to catch sunrise from the “sun gate.”  This is the location where many of the Machu Picchu site overview photos are taken.  Unfortunately, our visitors were challenged with low cloud cover that made photos they expected, impossible  )-:

We met with the MP early morning visit group around noon in the city plaza.   Had lunch at hotel we were originally planned to stay in.  The substituted location was more than enough compensation for the delay in leaving Lima. Went to Aguas Calientes train station with trip ending at Ollantaytambo station.  Normally we would have went to next station, but both road and rail still under repair from heavy flooding of Urubamba river last year.  From the Ollantaytambo station took  bus to Cusco.  Web links here:

Hotel Inkaterra

Photo 1.  Hotel Inkaterra grounds were tropical and lush.  Just after this photo, turned to watch a flock of maybe 6 green parrots disappear in the tree cover.

Photo 2.  Carol, and my “new” old friend, Martin.  As I age, so do my friends, some of which are/were 20+years my senior.  The oldest, Bruce, died at age 97 a few years back.  I keep trying to add the dimension that Bruce suggested decades back – always add “new” friends, from both ends of the age spectrum.  As you age- this gets increasingly more difficult.

Photo 3.  Here’s Carol trying to add some new friends who are on the younger end.  Will they remember us?  Probably not, they never “knew” us.  We though, seem to be able to carry the images in our mind for decades  (-:

Click here for today's online photo album.

Day 15 of 17 Friday Nov 9 2012

Day 15: Cusco - Introduction to Cusco & Sacsayhuaman Ruins.  Friday, November 09

Excursion through the city of Cusco.  The center of Cusco is a history lesson. Modern and colonial buildings are built on top of Inca foundations, and colonial churches dominate the central square. Visited the Qorichanka, an Inka sacred site. After the Spanish conquest in 1532, during the division of Cusco’s lands and buildings, the Qorikancha fell to Juan Pizarro, one of Francisco Pizarro's brothers. Before his death, Juan Pizarro decided to donate the Qorikancha to the Order of Preachers (Dominican Order). Founded in 1534, Cusco’s Saint Dominic Priory (Convento de Santo Domingo) was the first Dominican convent in Peru.  Web links here:

Qorikancha’s altar

Notes from Peru Inka stonework.

Field trip to the Sacsayhuaman Ruins.  The fortress of Sacsayhuaman forms the head of the Puma design of old Cusco.  It is a mystery how it was constructed, since the stones are not found in the region, and most of the blocks weigh more than a ton. The largest rock weighs more than 300 tons. Sacsayhuaman is constructed of huge polygonal blocks which interlock with one another.

Lunch at a café in the main plaza, the center of colonial architecture of the city.  Good food and great music by the 5 – Brothers Roque.

Pre-dinner presentation by Gustavo León Flores, an expert on the history of Inca and Andean musical instruments. He demonstrated over 2 dozen different unique Andean instruments, plus had many others for us to view.  He played many of the instruments he talked about.  A very talented person both with instrument and voice.  Web links here:

Photos of Gustavo’s instruments from another online site:

Photo 1.  Ticket used for entrance to Qorichanka

Photo 2.  Display of representation of gold panel that had adorned walls of Inka temple.  Details above in web site on Qorikancha’s altar.

Photo 3.  Sacsayhuaman Fortress Ruins with rocks the dwarf us.

Click here for today's online photo album.