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Legacy of the Incas

Cusco, Pisac

overcast 61 °F

This morning we left Lima and flew to Cusco, at an elevation of 11,000 feet. As we entered the Andes, our first essential business was to experience a Mother Earth Ceremony or El Pago a la Terra. The ceremony was conducted by a local Shaman, who as an Inca Princess, having carried down this ceremony from her ancestors. The ceremony thanks Mother Earth and asks for good health and safe travels. After the ceremony we were treated to lunch.

We next stopped at Puca Pucara. Although there is not as much known about Puka Pukara as a lot of other Incan ruins, there is a theory that this site was probably constructed during the reign of Pachacutec. Since he was the ninth ruler of the empire, it can be said that Puka Pukara was one of the later constructions. The stones used to build most of the walls are very irregularly shaped, stacked together in kind of a here-and-there manner to create walls that are functional, but lacking very much beauty as far as architecture goes (this is in contrast to a lot of other sites in the area). Because of this, it is possible that the buildings and walls were built in somewhat of a rush because the military headquarters that Puka Pukara became was thought to be needed very quickly. When it was first built, the differently sized and shaped stones that now appear grey may have actually been a red color (hence its name, red fortress) due to all the iron in the limestone used in the walls.

It was then on to a very quaint village of Pisac, where there were a number of artisans including a wonderful silver shop.

We ended our day with dinner and a Peruvian Paso Horse Show.

Posted by rpickett 13:36 Archived in Peru Tagged cusco pisac Comments (1)

Legacy of the Incas


overcast 80 °F

Our tour actually started today, and our Tour Guide Mauricio lead us on a complete city tour. Our first stop was a local Peruvian market where we could see some of the local fruits and veggies.
We then drove back into town, and started our walking tour to the 17th Century San Francisco Monastery, and the government palace.
The San Francisco Monastery was consecrated in 1673 and completed in 1774. Though it survived several earthquakes intact in 1687 and 1746, it suffered extensive damage in an earthquake in 1970. The church is noted for its architecture, a high example of Spanish Baroque. Its granite carved portal would later influence those on other churches, including the Church of Merced. The vaults of the central and two side naves are painted in mudejar style: a mix of Moorish and Spanish designs. The head altar is fully carved out of wood. The corridors of the main cloister are inlaid with Sevillian glazed tiles dating from the 1620s. The complex is made of the temple, the convent and two other churches, 'La Soledad' and 'El Milagro'. No photos are permitted inside the Monastery.

Our dinner this evening was at the private home Casa Garcia Alvarado. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Lima’s upper class began to move their homes away from downtown Lima to Miraflores which was one of the first residential districts to be established at that time. The architecture of these homes was typical of resort homes of that period. They were made of “quincha” (adobe), decorated with wood on the façade, and contained large courtyards inside. On Avenida Larco in front of Miraflores Central Park, located a few metres from the Municipality, is the old but impressive house of the Castro Iglesias-Thorndike family which was constructed in 1912 by the Architect Rozzaga. The Castro Iglesias family goes way back to Peru's Colonial period, when its forerunners earned the titles, Count of Lurigancho and Marques of Otero, for services rendered to the Spanish Crown. Mrs. Thorndike was the daughter of a very distinguished Chilean lady and an American engineer who came to Peru with Henry Meiggs to construct railway bridges in the heights of the Andean mountains.

Posted by rpickett 13:11 Archived in Peru Tagged lima Comments (1)

Legacy of the Incas


semi-overcast 80 °F

My current adventure is with Globus Journeys participating in a Legacy of the Incas tour in Peru with a visit to Machu Picchu. This a special trip for me because my brother and his wife and cousin and his wife are with the group along with one my my best clients from Texas. Our group is only 21 folks, which is a perfect size for a tour group.

As is usual, we flew down to Lima a day early to make sure we got to Lima and to allow for a quiet day, even though we are in Eastern Standard Time and had no zone shift.

Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population of almost 10 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru, and the third largest city in the Americas (as defined by "city proper"), just behind São Paulo and Mexico City. Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as Ciudad de los Reyes. It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru. Today, around one-third of the Peruvian population lives in the metropolitan area.

As it was Sunday, I was able to attend a catholic mass a few blocks away in a beautiful church. Peru is 90% Catholic and this church celebrated 6 masses during the course of the day. After mass we walked down to Larcomar - a lovely park on the cliffs overlooking the water and had some lunch in a nice sea side cafe.

We formally start the tour this afternoon with a city tour and dinner.


Posted by rpickett 09:14 Archived in Peru Tagged lima Comments (0)

AMA Waterways - Lisbon and the Douro

The photo album of this wonderful adventure is available for viewing. Click https://goo.gl/photos/LhJ8wABiA3vzLTEL8 to view the album!

Posted by rpickett 13:41 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

AMA Waterways, Lisbon and the Douro


sunny 70 °F

This early morning we set sail for Porto, and upon arrival, headed off for a city tour followed by a tour of the Grahams Port Warehouse. Porto is a fantastic city where Harry Potter's JK Rawlins spent much time as an English teacher. The city and it's famous bookstore gave her the inspiration to write the Harry Potter books. Located along the Douro river estuary in Northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and its historical core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. The western part of its urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, has been referred to as the origin of the name "Portugal", based on transliteration and oral evolution from Latin. In Portuguese, the name of the city is spelled with a definite article ("o Porto"; English: the port). Consequently, its English name evolved from a misinterpretation of the oral pronunciation and referred to as Oporto in modern literature and by many speakers. Our tour included the train station with its famous tiles and the Cathedral!


Our final stop and final tasting was at the Graham warehouse, one of many in the port area of Porto. Again the wine was great.


The Douro is a hidden gem. Because all of the rivercruising is during the day, you really get to enjoy the countryside and its many Quintos. Most want to go to the Danube. The Douro is equal if not better!

Posted by rpickett 07:54 Archived in Portugal Tagged porto Comments (0)

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