Travel is one of my passions, but another is photography. Since my trips are only occasional, I have decided to add more of my photographic experiences to this blog.

Since you are obviously here, please enjoy.


All pictures are for your enjoyment, and are copyrighted. Please ask permission before downloading.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Click on "Peru - 2012", above and see more pictures from my trip.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm not letting any grass grow under my feet while the temperature is in triple digits.  The first week in August, my wife Judy and I are off on a week cruise to Alaska.  Prior to the cruise, we are flying to Portland, OR to spend a few days and then Seattle, WA where we disembark.  Portland is one of the cities on our "must see" list and being just back from Peru, I found a very interesting Peruvian restaurant that I will make a point to try.  Naturally, Powell's City of  Books store is on our list, and with camera in hand (don't tell Judy), I'm looking forward to visiting their much read about parks and gardens. And of course, Starbucks will have to take a back seat while I sample  Stumptown Coffee Roasters offerings.

We intend to take the bus or train to Seattle and spend a couple of days before embarking on our Holland America cruise.

More to follow, including pictures if the rain doesn't dampen our spirits.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Peru - Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu - high on my bucket list, my dream is finally realized, as I travel with Overseas Adventure Travel on their offering - "Affordable Peru".  The day of departure drew closer and the packing was completed.  Well before sunrise  I  waited for the airport shuttle and my story began.  What follows is an overview of my experiences.

Wednesday, July 11

Time moves very slowly in this modern age of jet travel.  The fact is that with security, long lines, time zones, etc., waiting is the norm of a traveller.  

Thursday, July 12 

Finally, Lima, Peru - awakened to the sound of early morning traffic; breakfast and finally meeting our Trip Leader, Marco Luis Aragon Acuna, we set out to explore this city. Besides the 'official itinerary, Marco had a daily 'discovery' - this evening a visit to Parque de la Reserva a park of beautiful fountains, which after dark, were illuminated and turned into a fairyland of dancing waters.

Breaking the chains of the past, the
people of Peru look to the future

Police preparing for demonstrators

Franciscan Cathedral

Display in Franciscan Catacombs 

Parque de la Reserva

Always a showoff

Light Show Intro

Light Show

Friday,  July 13

A day of exploring more of Lima's history, its' social development and Inca temples.  Lunch on their spectacular waterfront.  Long walk after lunch taking in yet another temple excavation.

First view of shanty town we visited

I'm not sure

How they prepare community dinner

OAT's present of tomorrows dinner

Water delivery

Modern day area to offer sacrifice

Typical Lima traffic

Reflections on the waterfront

Lima waterfront

The Kiss

Street view

Saturday, July 14

Up early - very early to fly to Cusco for a week of exploration.  The plane's approach to the Cusco airport was spectacular, as we flew abeam of glacier covered mountains of the Andes - a sight beyond words.

After our arrival, we board a bus and then drove (up and then) down to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The terraces defied building practices of modern times, and yet the Spring greenery was evident everywhere.  Our accommodation for the coming 2 nights is an oasis of modern beauty amidst the old.

The Sacred Valley

First view of the Urubamba River

Inca Terraces

Overnight at Villa Urubamba

Sunday, July 15

There is no feeling like awakening at dawn in your unheated room and taking a brisk shower before breakfast, knowing that the temperature is only 34 degrees - Brrrr.

Today we  explore ancient Ollantaytambo  ruins, raft on the Urubamba river, and have a home hosted lunch.  All being said, the ruins were magnificent, the rafting was fun in the course of getting wet (as the lead paddler), but the home hosted lunch was the best I have experienced on a Grand Circle/OAT trip, helping to make the chili rellenos, and sampling guinea pig.  While driving back to our accommodation, the bus had to be serviced & we had the pleasure of driving in one of the motorcycle taxis, similar to a tuk-tuk in Thailand.

Farmer hard at work

Local dress
Guinea Pigs (see below)

Meet the in-laws

Rafting on the Urubamba River

Look who's in the front

Home hosted lunch.  Preparing the chili rellenos

The finished product
Remember the Guinea Pig. Tastes like duck.

Monday, July 16

We left Villa Urubamba and on our way to catch the train, stopped to see the workings of a famous potter Pablo Seminario who has collections in both the Smithsonian and the Field Museum in Chicago.   The train ride to the town of Aguas Calientes, was very picturesque, and once we arrived, we boarded a bus, taking a long winding road over 2000 feet above the town to our ultimate destination, Machu Picchu.  Having seen many pictures and talking to those who have been there before, it pales to the first views of this UNESCO World Heritage sight.  We explored for 4 hours, wandering across its terraced landscape, visiting the Sun temple, ritual baths and more, until closing and then headed back to town for a dinner and an early bed, as tomorrow we return to Machu Picchu before dawn to watch the sun rise.

Potter at work

Local transportation

I have to climb up there!

 Perfect workmanship by the Inca

Sun Temple

Great presentation

Tuesday, July 17

A 4:30 wake up call and breakfast and then back to Machu Picchu for a dawn trek.  Unfortunately the fog was very thick and obscured the land as we initially started our climb to the Sun Gate far above the ruins.  Fortunately, the sun eventually broke though to reveal Machu Picchu far below us.  After an exhausting 2 hours ascension we returned to view it last time, this marvel of an ancient civilization.  After lunch, we returned by train to Ollantaytambo and then bus to Cusco where we will spend the next four days exploring.

Start of our 2 hour trek to the Sun Gate

Ah, finally the sun breaks though
Finally made it

Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate overlook

Absolutely captivating

Our hearty group

Our train

Wednesday, July 18

Beginning with a Cusco tour of the  site of the Inca Temple to the Sun God,  and a morning "discovery" of a cemetery, we then travelled outside the city to visit Sacsayhuaman (sounds like 'sex woman'), where we saw an area constructed of huge stones, impossible to understand how that civilization could have constructed a sanctuary that dwarfs other sites such as Stonehenge.  Later in the day we also explored another ancient Inca ceremonial center of Kenko.
Cusco panorama

Early morning traffic


Cemetery Crypt

Cleaning the bronze by hand with lemon

Unbelievable workmanship


Thursday, July 19

A 2 hours drive with the ice capped Andes always in our line of sight, to the Incan ruins of Moray, an ancient agricultural laboratory made up of a series of concentric terraces.   From there we headed to Chinchero (elevation 12,500 feet), and visited an elementary school, supported by the Grand Circle Foundation.  We were entertained by the students and then sat in a classroom and interacted with them. If the children's dreams come true, Peru's future is very bright.  We then went to a village of weavers who are continuing in the ancient traditions of Peru's Quechua (pronounced Ketchuwa). We partook of a  meal of potatoes and rice which was a high (12500ft)light as our host at the table, Lucy, answered our many questions and proved to be very knowledgeable of America.  On top of working daily at  this weaving cooperative, she  also drives into Cusco daily to go to school.  Her dream is to be a tourist guide.  We had a demonstration of how they spin the wool and make the dyes, all natural as did their ancestors. Finally we participated in a Curandero ceremony, a healing ritual with Incan roots, by a mestizo medicine man. 

Photo Op

Moray, an ancient agricultural laboratory

Preparing the adobe

Adobe bricks drying

After construction

Students welcoming us to their school

Absorbed or day-dreaming?

Spinning the wool


Medicine man, do you take my health insurance?

Friday, July 20

The last day in Cusco, so the morning is spent walking the streets.  The area around the central square is teaming with tourists and vendors.  Marco, our guide pointed out many areas of Incan influence. We also visited the local mercado/market, and the Plaza de Armas to savor the pulse of the city.  Before returning to the hotel, we climbed the steps to a chocolate museum, where we sampled their locally produced items, but also chocolate tea, a very pleasant drink.  After our dinner tonight, it is time to pack and look forward to our return to Lima for a day and then home.

Turned left, and this view caught my eye

Vicuña - the rarest fleece of all 


Please buy from me!

Better his head than mine 

Smile and the whole world smiles, but this is ridiculous 

Statue of Inca Emperor Pachacuti

My dream has been realized, the experiences will remain long after the my return, and my only wish is that I could have spent more time in Peru, a beautiful country, with an interesting past and with people who look to the future.  Overseas Adventure Travels' guide, Marco was both knowledgeable and caring.  My fellow travelers were a fun group that made the trip even more enjoyable.  

……….. until the next the next journey begins………. (August 12th cruise to Alaska)

©Mort Berman 7.22.12