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Freya of Clyde
Follow Anne and Alan as they sail through the beautiful Caribbean
PART 11 - NAZCA LINES
26/Oct/2010, PERU

The Nazca Lines are a mystery, but are believed to be the remnants of an ancient culture from around 500 BC and AD 500. In the middle of the desert, between Nazca and Palpa there is a collection of geoglyphs which comprise more than 70 figures and animals. These lines are huge and only really visible from the air. and were first noticed in 1927. They were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. But the debates of their origin still continue - some sort of astronomical calendar, an alien landing strip ... uhm, who knows! We took the flight over the site and these things are really weird, especially the spaceman??!! If they weren't so old, I would think that someone somewhere was pulling a fast one! There's more photos in the gallery.

and .. these are all my own photos taken from a wee plane ...

PART 10 - AREQUIPA
23/Oct/2010, PERU

Arequipa stands in the shadow of 3 snow capped volcanoes, and is built almost entirely from a white volcanic rock and therefore it's nicknamed "the white city". It has a very Spanish feel. It is Peru's second largest city after Lima and stands at 2350 metres or 7710 feet. This was where Anne got food poisoning - thank you very much Mr Restaurant!! So, I never got to the Colca Canyon to see the Condors. There you go, you can't have everything.

PART 9: LAKE TITIKAKA AND UROS ISLAND
22/Oct/2010, PERU

Lake Titikaka (or Titicaca depending on which book you read) is the highest navigable lake in the World at 3800 metres or 12,500 feet and is also South America's largest lake. The photo of Lake Titikaka is taken from the road into Puno. We took a boat out on Lake Titikaka to see the floating islands of Uros. The residents of Uros use the local rushes which grow in the lake to make floating islands and then they build their houses on top. There are several thousand people living the way they did hundreds of years ago, and supplementing their income from all the tourists that make their way to Lake Titikaka every day. It's quite an amazing site! After we left Uros we were taken in the ferry to the Island of Taquile where we had lunch after an incredible hike up the mountainside. Lots of puff needed, especially at this height - now an incredible 13,000 feet!


PART 8 - CUSCO TO PUNO BY BUS
21/Oct/2010, Peru

Cusco to Puno - a bus journey with a difference. We were told "bus ride to Puno across the scenic high Andes landscapes only dotted by small villages and herds of lamas and vicunas": 10 hour journey, pick up 0650 from hotel. Fine, okay, it's a long way. What we didn't know, it was a TOUR from Cusco to Puno, with about 5 stops along the way to see the sights and lunch was included in the price!

We had the most amazing seats on the bus for the tour however - upstairs and right at the front. A hostess plied us with coco tea, cola and drinking water. We stopped at a couple of really interesting places, took lots of photos, saw some very interesting skulls, and finally arrived in Puno about 5.00 pm just as it was getting dark.

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One of the places we stopped was at Abra La Raya (or La Raya Pass) which is the highest point we have ever been at 14,232 feet or 4338 metres. There are more photos in the gallery.


WHITE WATER RAFTING
20/Oct/2010, CHUQUICAHUANA RIVER, PERU

So ... we had a day off from sightseeing. Thought we'd have a rest! Rest? Huh - I was completely knackered after this little jaunt down the river, and COLD!! Have a laugh at the video, and watch out for the frowning blonde with the interesting hairstyle and very serious hat!!


PART 7 - PISAQ
19/Oct/2010, PERU

Perugate organised a taxi to take us from Ollantaytambo to Pisaq, where we spent 2 wonderful nights at the Royal Inca Pisaq Hotel. The scenery in the Sacred Valley is fantastic, with more ruins and a fascinating trail behind the hotel where we strolled up the river valley. We visited the market in Pisaq which must have one of the biggest street markets in the country. We visited the market on a Thursday, but apparently the Sunday market is the best. However, this did not stop us from enjoying the chaotic market, with souvenir stalls and local vegetables for sale. Major bartering and hard bargaining in our very limited Spanish probably entitled us to buy our souvenirs at tourist rates!! Altogether we did have great fun.

Guinea Pig is the traditional dish on the menu in Peru, and we saw various "castles" where the guinea pigs are bred and chosen for eating. I just can't imagine eating what I used to own as a pet when I was a wee girl. However, it seems that this poor wee beastie is just waiting for the local Peruvian to sit down and consume him (or her)!! We saw one guy sitting down to guinea pig - it arrived laid out whole on a sizzling platter complete with its legs and head and surrounded by assorted vegetables. (There can't be much eating on a guinea pig.) Alan, Pepe and Bear did try to find one to eat at the end of our trip, but thankfully never quite managed to sit down to eat a sample - for which I'll be forever thankful!

The next photo is not for the "guinea pig" fainthearted!!!

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PART 6 - TRAIN TO OLLANTAYTAMBO
18/Oct/2010, PERU

From Aguas Calientes, we took the train back down the track, but instead of sitting on the train all the way to Cusco, we got off at a wee town called Ollantaytambo. This wee town is like a living museum, with the residents still trying to hold on to ancient tranditions.

We didn't have the energy to go climb up into the ruins there, we had to leave that for another day, but they looked amazing. However, we did wander round the town, which had cobblestone streets and narrow alleys. The hotel we stayed at - the Pakaritampu Hotel - was lovely with gorgeous gardens which were growing roses!!

Have a look at the photos in the Gallery ....

PART 5 - THE SUN GATE AT MACHU PICCHU
18/Oct/2010, PERU

Our third day in Aguas Calientes was to be a "free day", ie there was nothing planned, so we decided to return to Machu Picchu and climb up to the Sun Gate. So, we caught the touristy bus and returned to the dizzying heights of Machu Picchu. A long steep hike ensued which took us up a long ledge to the summit of Intipunku or The Sun Gate. Most hikers try to get here at sunrise to catch their first breathtaking view of Machu Picchu after their long 4 day hike from Cusco.

One of the problems at this altitude is the lack of oxygen in the air, and we were all quite breathless after our long hike up the slope - altitude 2720 metres or 8924 feet.

The Sun Gate itself is fairly unimpressive, but the view is awesome. Deep in the valley below, lies the Urubamba river, pounding through the valley. Behind the ruins of Machu Picchu the mountain Huayna Picchu rises sharply into the sky. If you're really enthusiastic you can climb Huayna Picchu with the other hikers - you have to be at the bottom really early and you have to leave by 3.00 pm and the caretakers only allow a certain number of people to climb the mountain every day. We decided just to look at the mountain!





PART 4 - MACHU PICCHU
17/Oct/2010, Peru

Many people have been asking us "Why Peru"? I've taken the following paragraph from "Places of Peace and Power" on the internet, which best describes what it's all about. Machu Picchu was certainly the highlight of our trip, absolutely awesome - hopefully the photographs in the gallery go some way in letting you all visualise what we were looking at. The photos really do not do it justice. The area is huge, beautifully preserved and the views from every direction are overwhelming.

The ruins of Machu Picchu, rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham, are one of the most beautiful ancient sites in the world. Machu Picchu stands in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. While the Inca people certainly used the Andean mountain top (9060 feet or 2430 metres above sea level), erecting many hundreds of stone structures from the early 1400's, legends and myths indicate that Machu Picchu (meaning 'Old Peak' in the Quechua language) was revered as a sacred place from a far earlier time. Whatever its origins, the Inca turned the site into a small (5 square miles) but extraordinary city. Invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu seems to have been utilized by the Inca as a secret ceremonial city. Two thousand feet above the rumbling Urubamba river, the cloud shrouded ruins have palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms and some 150 houses, all in a remarkable state of preservation. These structures, carved from the gray granite of the mountain top are wonders of both architectural and aesthetic genius. Many of the building blocks weigh 50 tons or more yet are so precisely sculpted and fitted together with such exactitude that the mortarless joints will not permit the insertion of even a thin knife blade. The Spaniards never found Machu Picchu, even though they suspected its existence. The mountain top sanctuary fell into disuse and was abandoned some forty years after the Spanish took Cuzco in 1533. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height.

There are more photos in the gallery.

PART 3 OF PERU
16/Oct/2010, Aguas Calientes

An interesting train ride from Cusco brought us to Aguas Calientes. Every backpacker in the World knows that to be able to get to Machu Picchu you have to leave from Aguas Calientes. This little town is based simply to process tourists up and down the mountain to Machu Picchu. It's not pretty, in fact, it's just a mess, but it does have its attractions - like the train going through the middle of the town. Most of the hotels are built on the small piece of land between the train line and the river, so when you're staying in the hotel you're either on first name terms with the train driver or you're kept awake all night with the noise from the river. However, we were lucky - I think - we had a room which was situated in the middle of the hotel and it had a side view. Watch the videos: and
(the name of the band, I am reliably informed, is "Kuntur Taky".)

PART 2 OF PERU
15/Oct/2010, CUSCO

Well, I was promising more ...

I've upoaded Cusco onto the gallery - remember you can click on a photo for a better image.

PERU TO TRINIDAD
15/Oct/2010, Powerboats

We've arrived back in Trinidad and are safely tucked up on "Freya". What a wonderful time we all had in Peru. The photographs will be uploaded slowly, as I've taken too many to count and it will take ages to sort through them all. I'll put some on the main blog, and others will be on the gallery. I hope you take time to look at them. Some are quite awesome.

We flew from Port of Spain to Miami and then to the desert that is Lima (and very cold). After spending the night in Lima we flew from Lima to the deepest jungle to see the parrot lick. Then we flew to Cusco, caught the train and amazed ourselves at Machu Picchu, bused down the Sacred Valley and back to Cusco. We had a hilarious day river rafting down the Chuquicahuana River, but didn't sink and thankfully didn't completely freeze!! We caught a tourist bus to Lake Titicaca which is the highest lake in the World and then onto Arequipa where Anne got food poisoning and couldn't travel to the Colca Canyon to see the condors. From Arequipa we flew back to Lima, where we travelled to Nazca. At Nazca we caught a wee plane to fly over the Nazca Lines. After returning to Lima we travelled in yet another bus to Huaraz and spent four amazing days in the high Andes.

As if that wasn't enough, we then flew back to Miami from Lima where we caught a connection to Baltimore and spent 4 nights in the Baltimore area so we could have 2 days at the Annapolis Sail Boat Show.

So, after five and a half weeks, you can imagine how tired we are and happy to be back on our wee boat.

Peru? Highly recommended for an awesome experience!

More to follow .....

By the way, the photo is a very friendly sloth and baby that just happened to make an appearance at the hotel in Puerto Maldonado on the Madre de Dios river.

BACKPACKING IN PERU
14/Sep/2010, Ollantaytambo

Just a quick update - we're in Peru on "holiday". Major amounts of photos when we return to Trinidad. Peru is absolutely amazing. Loving every minute of our experience.

INDEPENDANCE DAY
31/Aug/2010, TRINIDAD

Once again, off to Starlift Pan Yard with Jessie to celebrate Trini's Independance Day. We arrived a bit early, and everything started a bit late! However, the Starlift Guys and Girls were great as usual.

Jessie decided to eat the Trini delicacy on the bus on the way home - CHICKEN FEET - YEEEEEEUCH!! How can he eat that stuff????

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL EVENTS
15/Aug/2010, CHAGUARAMAS

Mike on "El Lobo" announced on the "Trinidad for Cruising Sailors" page on Facebook this morning the inagural Chaguaramus Hurricane and Windy Weather International and National Games otherwise known as CHAWWING. Events will include mixed mud wrestling, wet T shirt contests for the girls and the guys will compete in undershorts and strawberry mousse. There will a No Wake competition which will involve a coffin, and on the water the pirogues (local boats) will compete in a high jump contest (those in Chaguaramas Bay will have seen them in training)! There's a mast climbing event with a simple race to the top. Neils (Budget Rigging) will erect a series of identical masts for the event. In the interests of safety we will limit climbers to 4 per mast per race. Other events include dinghy jousting and crab racing. We hear that the best racing crabs are in Tobago so problems may be encountered from Immigration. The committee hope to make this an annual event and suggestions for other events will be considered.

My suggestions are that events could include tossing the spinnaker pole; exchanging wet suit race; single oar rowing race; the old faithful "spinnaker boarding" and the piece de resistance - the floating domino competition...

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