Tag Archives: peru

Lima, Peru: CATS Revisited


img_1663Lima was our jump off point both coming and going on our trip to Peru.  Truth be told, we did not leave much time to see things in Lima.  We spent a few hours at the Convent of San Francisco after convincing a tour guide to take us on a private tour of the Catacombs underneath to see the bones…


And spent some time in Centro de Lima at the Hotel Bolivar and area…

img_1658img_1655But mostly, we were obsessed with the “cat park”  in Mira Flores.  Also known as Parque Kennedy.   Now, those who know me know I am partial to cats (good thing my dogs can’t read) – I have always owned them and, well,  I’ve been one. So it seemed only natural to explore the infamous cat park of Mira Flores.

The cat park is a sanctuary for stray cats – not feral, just stray – where they are looked after, protected, sometimes adopted when the population gets too big and loved by all visitors to the park.  In fact we quickly learned, as far as the cats were concerned, if you are in the park you were there to serve…them… in one capacity (providing a lap) or another (providing food). If you sat down anywhere in the park, it wouldn’t be long before you had one, or more visitors.



When a lap was not to be had, they made do with each other…


Or the heat coming up through the sidewalk grate.img_1668And were ecstatic when the “Cat Man” to arrived with food and treats!

img_1660img_1661img_1659We spent time there both coming and going through Lima.  Possibly at the sacrifice of seeing some other things – which I am sure in the cats’ mind, was as it should be.

And with one final photo of this Men’s clothing store mannequin, our trip to South America was complete, for the time being, at least.

img_1654Thus concludes the adventures of our South American Summer.

Next up – A Spanish Fall!

For more on South America: Go Here

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Machu Picchu: Getting There and Away


img_0937The “Coup de Gras” of all trips to Peru – getting to Machu Picchu!

While it is much easier than back in the day when the only way to reach Machu Picchu was by hiking the Inca Trail (which can be done – with lots of hand holding tours) – it is still a bit involved. The town at the base of MP, Aguascalientes, is only accessible by train – no cars.  And, the only way to get there by train is to catch from Cusco or Oyantaytambo.

We chose the Oyantaytambo route – mostly because of the multitude of things too see in the drive from Cusco to Oyantaytambo (ruins, salt mines, crop circles, quaint towns, more ruins). But, Oyantaytambo is the end of the line, from the quest to Machu Picchu standpoint…


So, early in the morning, we walked to the train station in Oyantaytambo.


In a market at the entrance to the train station was a woman selling the best coffee in all of Peru (I kid not!) for a few cents.  Had Machu Picchu not been our quest, I believe Teen and I would have gotten back off the train to get another cup.  However, it was not to be – and so we settled in for the beautiful train ride through the canyon of looming mountains – headed towards Aguascalientes.


The trip was beautiful with mountains rising up on both sides of the train, along the canyon river, and ending in the rustic town of Aguascalientes…


And before we did the journey in reverse on yet another train…


We completed our quest and made for Machu Picchu…

img_0929Next: Machu Picchu!

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Road Tripping in Peru



img_9147One of my favorite things to do in a country is drive.  Of course, I love trains as well,  But, driving allows you to stop at will. You see things that are not in any guide books, or posted on line.  You get the authentic feel of a country, catch unexpected views,  stop at random roadside stands, and see everyday life in towns.

Since as this blog posts, I am on the road again – this time in Spain, I decided to share some of my favorite random photos from driving in Peru.  Mostly in the Sacred Valley.





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Ancient Aliens Part 2: The Ruins of Moray



While it is true I could not stop calling them “crop circles” for the entirety of the trip – they are actually more oval and in truth, called The Ruins of Moray.  Yet mystery surrounds them nonetheless. Theories range from experimental farming by the Incans,  to outdoor theatre, to landing pad for aliens.  All I really know is,  we liked them…whatever their purpose. But, I have to say, I am leaning towards alien landing site because you can never have too many alien theories.


The walk around.


Stairs – cool and functional!


Rules don’t apply…


Bird’s eye view.

A quick stop, but worth every minute!

Also see: Ancient Aliens Part 1: Lines of Nazca

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Ruins for Peru: Marco’s Pisaq


photo-jul-30-4-50-58-pm  I am sorry to tell you this – but for the most part, this is going to be a boring post.  It is nothing against the Ruins of Pisaq, really – they were amazing and the town was quaint and came with the appropriate amount of South American dogs (aka the street cleaners)…

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This dog has done his job well!

And I always love a good market (Teen picked up a, if not cool, completely “Peru appropriate” hat)…

photo-jul-30-4-49-32-pmHowever, I have to say the most memorable thing in Pisaq was Marco.  Marco, is apparently the man in Pisaq, who “makes things happen.”  For us – well he made the best Empanades in all of Peru happen.  Marco is kind of a mystery, though.  All we know is that whenever there was a question on cooking, pricing, firing, ingredients, materials, you name it – in the little back-of-the-building Empanada quiosk – the workers would yell to the front of the shop for “MARCO!”.  Marco would come, as if out of thin air, do…something…to make all well and disappear as quickly as he arrived.  All I know is, I have never had empanades quite like these before, and fear I never will again.


All good to go now…thanks to Marco.

Don’t get me wrong,  the ruins were beautiful – with perfectly formed terraces…

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Tucked inside walls of mountains…

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To the halfway point…


And continuing up…

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To see the amazing views from above.

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All of which I feel sure…Marco somehow had a hand in.


For More on South America: Go Here

For more Sweet Spot Travel: Go Here

Chinchero, Peru


She’s there.

The town of Chinchero – we were going to skip it.  We had such an ambitious schedule of sightseeing on the day we drove near Chinchero, we were going to go on by.  However, our cab driver, Juan – who was taking us from Cusco to Oyantaytambo – encouraged us to make a stop.  He said the church is unique, we did not want miss it.  Ok, we have seen alot of churches in our day and were dubious about the claim.  However, we hate to think we missed something special.  So…we stopped.

To get to the church involved a walk up hill which, after hiking two ruins already that day, did not thrill the Teens.  But we pressed on up the colorful, quaint streets until we reached the church yard.  The church was an old village church – And what do you know, the man knows his country!  It goes down in my book as not only one of the most beautiful churches I have seen, but also as one of my favorite places in Peru.

Honestly, I am not sure I captured it in pictures – but I tried.

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A little Llama shopping.

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The market.

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The church yard

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The church.

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The beautifully painted ceiling

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A little fun.


She’s still there.

Next time: The Ruins of Pisaq

For More on South America: Go Here

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Ruins of Peru: Rock Sliding in Saqsayhuaman

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Jaguar Teeth

The ruins of Saqsayhuaman were impressive – ok, maybe not Machu Picchu impressive. Nonetheless, in addition to the pretty cool “Jaguar Teeth” rock construction (see above and below),

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And some awesomely huge, oddly fit together stones,

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That is one big rock…

Saqsayhuaman Ruins had one thing no other ruins we have ever been to, offered…

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A naturally smoothed rock slide! Nothing was put on the rock to make it smooth – no Disney-esk manipulations.  Just smoothed by time, and a lot of behinds. We felt the need to contribute…

The Teens spent most of our time at Saqsayhuaman going down one way,


or another…


Racing with new local friends,

photo-jul-30-11-33-37-amUntil it was time to leave,

Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetFor Marco and the ruins of Pisaq awaited!

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Beautiful Cusco and the No Tocar Lady


Planning the next adventure…

Cusco is a stunning city and as it happens, the perfect jump off point for our quest to Machu Picchu! We spent days there both coming and going.  In that time we were able to learn some very pertinent pieces of information about Cusco and Peru.

Like, for instance, Peruvian cats are pretty much the same as cats everywhere as in “Lady, hurry up and take my picture and move on down the &$# road so I can get on with what’s really important… my nap time.

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Queen of the market.

As the ever present South American stray dogs, take whatever they can get and sleep wherever they can…


A rest between trash pic ups…

The merchants work and sell in style and technicolor…

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Teen became a Chincha drink connoisseur … I think hope the kind without alcohol…

Processed with VSCO with g2 presetThe churches were grand and beautiful so as not to be outdone by the majestic surrounding mountains..

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Santa Monica Monastery


Compania de Jesus

Side Photography Note:  There was a big sign in the way, preventing me from taking this photo symmetrically. Teen pointed out later, the sign said “no foto”.

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I like my Jesus in a gold sequined loin cloth…

And unless you want to be boosted for soles for services rendered – as in payment for letting you take their photo with the baby Llamas…

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Seriously? I only bribe my kids  and pets to pose for me…

Take the photo from the back…

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Be prepared to walk, alot…

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Catch stunning views everywhere you go…


Oh – and very important!  If you are going to seek out the not to miss, but hard to find 12 sided stone, watch out for the “No Tocar” Lady.  No matter the time of day or night, the minute you get anywhere near the ancient stone, she will leap out of the shadows proclaiming her battle cry of “No Touching!!!!”.  Yeah, well, can’t blame a tourist teen for trying…


So close…

On the chance of any Incan God repercussions, for my non-payment of the Llama girls, unauthorized photos,  and Teens aggressive attempts to spurn No Tocar Lady, we thought it best to move on…

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Cusco, Peru

Next – The Ruins of Peru.

For More on South America: Go Here

For more Sweet Spot Travel: Go Here

Ancient Aliens Tour Part 1: Lines of Nazca, Peru



We had decided long before our trip we could not miss seeing the lines of Nazca in Peru.  Never mind that there is no real convenient way to get there, never mind that from Lima it takes a taxi – more than 3 1/2 hour bus ride – 30 minute plane ride to even get close, never mind that you have to actually fly over them to see, never mind that air sickness is imminent as the plane roles from side to side to view the lines, never mind that in actuality they are hard to pick out the figures – kind of like trying to see one of those pictures through a random pattern (which I could never do!).  No, none of this was a deterrent as we collectively decided it was something we weren’t leaving Peru without seeing…and seeing as how I eventually had to go back to work, and the Teens had to start school some time, we decided to just suck it up and go for it.

We got up and left our hotel at one of those hours of the morning when it would have been way more fun to just be going to bed.  The taxi picked us up at our hotel in Mira Flores, Lima and took us to the bus station.  From there we caught a bus for the almost 4 hour ride to Paracas/Pisco.


Yes, the view was somewhat bleak (although I like all views a country has to offer!)…

Processed with VSCO with se3 presetBut we weren’t hurting too bad as our bus was equipped with personal movie screens and breakfast service!

We arrived in Pisco where we were to catch the small 12 seater plane that was to fly us over the lines.  However, we had some time to kill, so we went into the nearby seaside town of Paracas.

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Having been warned of the possibility of motion sickness on the small plane as it had to roll form sided to side for viewing the figures, I was way too afraid to eat.  However, this did not stop Teen, who with his uncanny food finding skills, located a vendor with the best wrapped tamales in the entire country of Peru…

photo-jul-28-11-51-36-amFinally, it was time to go to the airport (and I use that term loosely) to get weighed for our flight, strap in, and get ready for our first “Ancient Aliens” adventure…

We were given a map of the Nazca line figures we were going to fly over, and instructed in techniques on how to best avoid getting motion sickness (umm, yeah, forget that, I took motion sickness pills). And finally, we were on our way!

photo-jul-28-1-12-51-pmIt took 30 minutes in order to get to  where the actual figures were, but along the way we began to see signs of the amazing several mile – absolutely straight lines that criss crossed the terrain.


And finally… The Lines of Nazca! We flew in and around the area for about an hour. Here are just a few of the several we saw that day.  They were harder to pick out than anticipated, but once we got the hang of it, it got easier.  The plane would go around each figure, turn on its side so each side of the plane could get a good view.


The Hummingbird



The Parrot

I think we all agreed, fittingly, “the spaceman” was our favorite although I was not able to get a photo of him (hmmm?).

And then it was back to the quaint town of Paracas to (finally) eat and get ready for the long trek back to Lima.

photo-jul-28-4-07-06-pmA long day to be sure, but undeniably worth it!

Next time – Cusco

For more travel in Peru: GO HERE

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