Lewis Family Peru Adventure - lewisfamilyperuadventure

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Our Peruvian Adventure

Adventure Day Two

Today's theme was Inca-redible!  We started out with a rafting trip down the Urubamba.  The air was chilly at first but warmed quickly.  (The water was another story!)  This was a mostly gentle ride, with our raft guide explaining about the archeological sites along the Inca Trail above us.  Occaisionally, though, there were some wild rapids.  And of course, the obligatory splash fight with the other rafts. 

When we pulled off a couple of miles down the river, tents and tea were waiting for us to get changed and warmed up, then we were whisked away to Ollantaytambo.  After another outdoor catered lunch, we walked through the town to an amazing Incan fort.  We were so impressed with all the Inca people were able to accomplish, and loved learning about the history from our local guide, Rudy. 

When we made it back to the Lodge, we learned to play Sapo, basically a drinking game popular in the Andes.  (staying sober, of course, in deference to the Junior Adventurers!)  Then it was movie night for the kids under the stars.  The grown ups got to enjoy dinner on their own in the Lodge's restaurant.  We decided we had adjusted to the altitude enough and broke our drinking fast with the Peruvian cerveza, Cusquena.  Kind of like Bud Light.  The boys were not thrilled, but it was better than nothing.  Pretty much the only other drinking option for the trip was Pisco Sours (kind of like a margarita with whipped egg whites on top) which some adventurers liked more than others.  We stuck with the cerveza.  Local watering holes made their own corn liquor, which we never had a chance to try, but we saw the red plastic bags tied to sticks waving from doorways.  This let everyone know where to find the party.

Adventure Day One

After a full day of travel, we got to our hotel in Lima around 1 am.  By 7:30 we were on our way back to the airport headed to Cusco.  Our Adventure had begun!  The theme of the day was "An Incan Tapestry."

We drove through Cusco, getting a running commentary on the city, to a weaving center, where a fabulous lunch al fresco awaited us.  There were demonstrations of traditional Andean weaving techniques, and beautiful creations on display and for sale.  Annabelle got to try her hand at weaving as well. 

There was even some dress up time - I especially love Owen in his farmer garb with an Inca Kola!  This is actually how most of the people we saw dressed, including the white hats like Annabelle is wearing.

 When we stopped by the roadside for pictures of the beautiful scenery, we saw another kind of "Incan Tapestry:" the many fields and terraces made a patchwork of the land.  This was a beautiful pattern we never got tired of seeing each day as we rode around.

 Then it was on to our home for the next four nights:  Sol Y Luna Lodge.  Breathtaking!  We were welcomed that night with a traditional Peruvian "family reunion feast."  Yum!  While it cooked - in the ground like a giant earthen crockpot - we were entertained with traditional dances, stories aobut Incan customs, and a dazzling view of the stars, including the Southern Cross.  Wow!


Check out our (many) pictures!

The easiest way to see them all is to choose the slide show option.  You can do this either on this page, from the blue arrow menu that appears when you hover over the album name, or by clicking on the album and then the slide show option when the thumbnails pop up. 

Or, click on the album and browse the thumbnails, clicking on only what sparks your interest.  There are, after all, a LOT of pictures.


Pictures from our Trip

Adventure Day One

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Adventure Day 2

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Welcome

As we have been telling anyone who will listen, and many who'd rather not...WE WENT TO PERU!  It was so much fun - the most amazing trip ever for us.  We took way too many photos.  So many, that if we made you look at them in front of us, you would eventually be unable to stop your eyes from glazing over.  So we're posting them here and you can pretend you've seen them all, while actually just looking at what interests you.  The beauty of the country and the warmth of Peru's people can't really be captured in photos, but that didn't stop us from trying.  Enjoy!

 

Love, Kristine, Owen, and Annabelle


Sacred Valleys and Incan Cities

This amazing trip was a guided tour from Adventures by Disney.  It was the perfect family trip, and they took care of EVERYTHING.  If you want to check them out, we've posted the link to the ABD homepage.

Other links include the hotels we enjoyed, and our friend Jim's picture page.  His photos of this trip are awesome, and just what you want to see if you're interested in more scenery and less, well, us.


Favorite links

Adventures by Disney Home Page
Sol y Luna Lodge's Home Page
Casa Andina in Cusco
Casa Andina in Lima
Jim's Pictures

The Adventure Continues

Adventure Day Three

Today's theme:  Andean Majesty.  We got to see many gorgeous vistas of the Andea mountains and valleys and stopped at a scenic outlook to take some photos. Then it was on to the archaeological site of Moray, to view circular terraces.  These were an Incan "laboratory" for acclimating crops to different altitudes and temperatures.  Each level down was several degrees warmer. 

We climbed down Incan steps, rocks placed strategically into the walls of the terraces.  We can't figure out why they're so far apart - weren't the Incans shorter than we are?  They must have been in really good shape!  Along the way, the Junior Adventurers were pulled aside and presented with a cool Andean boardgame - a kind of parcheesi that they enjoyed playing the rest of the trip.

 All around us, locals were going about their farming business, often carrying huge loads of hay on their backs, and eventually on donkeys or trucks.

 After our high-altitude hike (over 11,000 feet!) we were glad to sit and enjoy a picnic lunch in Maras while local school children entertained us with many traditional Peruvian dances. 

 In the afternoon, we explored the Salt Pan terraces of Maras, where families have mined salt for more than 500 years.  We were absoluely fascinated by the setting and the process in which a prehistoric river, full of salt from a long-gone sea, is undammed to flood the terraces, which are then left to evaporate over several weeks.  The resulting layers of salt are harvested in degrees, with the bottom, lowest quality being reserved for farm animals, and the finest top layer gracing our tables every night.  We hiked down the mountain that ran by the salt pans, finally finding the bridge that led to our bus, and back to the Lodge.

 Back at Sol y Luna, Annabelle and Kristine enjoyed a ride on Paso Fino horses.  We went all through the village behind our lodge, getting to see a typical evening in rural Peru.  We especially liked seeing cilantro harvested, and a woman in a field of calla lillies geting bouquets ready for market.  (If only I'd taken the camera for the ride!)  This was Annabelle's first real ride and she loved it!  We were both pretty fired up when we got back to the room to tell Owen all about it. 

That night, our fabulous chef Nacho gave us vegetable carving and cooking lessons, with plenty of samples.  We topped it off by making and eating our own brick oven pizzas.  Then Nacho came out from the kitchen to show off his salsa dancing.  Ali, our guide, even got Owen to give it a whirl. 

 

 


More Pictures

Adventure Day Three

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Adventure Day Four

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Mysteries of Machu Picchu

Adventure Day Four

We MAY have, strictly speaking, taken a few too many pictures at Machu Picchu.  But come on, it's Machu Picchu!  We expected it to be awesome, but we were totally blown away by the breathtaking scenery and magnitude of this Inca city.  Wow, wow, wow, is all we could say.  Plus, "Did you get a picture of that?  Take another one!"

We started the day with a train ride to Aguascalientes.  Just before boarding, Annabelle purchased the llama hat that was to become her uniform for the rest of the trip.  She enjoyed the train ride with her trip friend Kim, and before we knew it, we were seeing tantilizing clues that our destination was near.

There was a steep hike to the top and suddenly Rudy was showing us the view we had climbed for.  It was awesome.  He gave us a little lecture about the Incan building style, which he completed by handing out necklaces that replicate the three-step design found throughout Machu Picchu.  Then we were off for more guided touring, explaining all the cool things we could see.  One of our favorites was that in several place, the Incans carved large stones to look like the mountains behind them.  Pretty cool.  We also encountered our first llamas of the trip, up close and personal. 

After a huge buffet lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge, we were on our own to continue exploring.  Annabelle of course wanted to sketch the vistas.  Owen and Kristine enjoyed soaking up the beauty and watching as the light changed through the afternoon.  When it was almost time to leave, we joined our trip friend Jim for a cerveza while Annabelle and Kim enjoyed some incan ice cream. 

As we boarded the train, tired and happy, our guides provided sacks full of food to enjoy on the way back to our Lodge.  I think whenever we close our eyes, we will see the stunning scenery from this day.


Llamas, Alpacas, and More, Oh My!

Adventure Day Six

Another day, another hike.  Today's theme was Cusco Kingdom.  We learned all about how Cusco and the ruins of Sacsayhuaman above the town were built in the shape of a sleeping Puma.  (Rudy even showed us a view from above that he's printed from google earth.)  The stones of the ruins were pretty impressive, especially considering that the Spainiards who conquered the Incas hauled off about 80% of the stones to build their own mansions in town.  The giant stones are fitted together with no mortar and gaps so small a blade of grass won't fit into them.  They've been standing for hundreds of years.

The views from Sacsayhuoaman were beautiful.  We could see the mountains all around, and the Andean valley and city of Cusco below.  We all touched the largest stone, which is supposed to ensure us eternal youth.  We'll let you know how that works out over the next few years.  Then the guides led the kids off on their own adventure while the grownups got to play on the giant stone slides left by receding glaciers.  When we caught up to the kids they were playing a rowdy game of llama, llama, alpaca. 

After a steep hike down the Incan steps into town, we were on our own for our final afternoon in Cusco.  Owen enjoyed photographing the narrow streets and interesting architecture.  Most of the buildings are set on the original Incan foundations, with the colonial walls rising from them.  We explored the large market on the edge of town, and Annabelle added to her finger puppet collection.

 

That evening, there was a painting activity before dinner.  Everyone played along, with varying degrees of success.  Dinner was at the hotel, followed by a wild white elephant exchange.  We had all wrapped up our Pisac Market purchases (some even used their placemats from lunch) and Annabelle and Kim got to explain the rules.  There was lots of stealing, trading, shouting and laughing, and we all felt this celebration was a great way to cap off our last evening together. 

Adventure Day Five

The day Annabelle had been waiting for....Loco for Llamas!  She was bouncing off the walls, because today was the day the Disney literature had promised she would get "up close and personal with llamas and alpacas."  She wasn't disappointed.

First, we had to bid farewell to those other four footed friends, the horses of Sol y Luna.  It was the end of our four nights here.  Our first stop was at the Pisac Market.  We had fun bargaining for souvenirs, and spending the 10 soles our guides had given us to purchase a gift for a white elephant exchange the next night. 

Then on to Awana Kancha Camelids Center.  ("The Place of the Weaver" in the Quechua language, this Center promotes understanding of the origins of llamas, alpacas, vicunas and guanacos, as well as the products made from their fine coats.)

Llamas and alpacas like alfalfa.  A lot.  If one holds some fresh alfalfa, one is pretty much a llama magnet, as we all discovered very quickly!  Annabelle wasn't sure she liked being rushed by full grown alpacas and llamas, but she LOVED feeding the babies.  She even got to bottle-feed several of them.  Some of my favorite photos are ones Annabelle took from her eye-level, right into those funny furry faces.

 

Leaving Awana Kancha, we headed into Cusco for lunch at a local Italian restaurant.  Just like any other city, Cusco is full of restuarants from other parts of the world, especially Italian and Chinese.  We received a quick walking orientation of Cusco, including its beautiful Plaza de Armas, with two huge churches, then got settled in to the Casa Andina Private Collection in Cusco.  We were feeling the altitude (over 12000 feet!) a little bit by now, but the hotel set up an oxygen machine in our room and we were in great shape the rest of the trip.  The afternoon was spent shopping and exploring this lovely city, and dinner was at a local restaurant with some of our new friends.   


And...More Pictures

Adventure Day Five

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Adventure Day Six

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Adios!

Adventure Day Seven

Our last day started with a flight from Cusco to Lima.  We laughed at the billboard for altitude sickness tablets at the Cusco airport.  (BC powder worked just fine for us!) 

In Lima, we took a brief bus tour, ending up just off the Plaza Mayor.  This was the original city center founded by Pizarro.  We saw the Government Palace, guarded by tanks, then headed to Casa Aliaga.  This colonial mansion, built in 1535 has been continuously occupied by the same family for 16 generations.  While access is limited for "regular" tourists, Disney had arranged live entertainment and a white-glove service  for our farewell luncheon.  It was really cool.  We said goodbye as a group in the lovely formal living room, then headed back to Casa Andina Private Collection Lima to prepare for our flight home. 

Annabelle got in a swim in the hotel pool, we finished packing up, and had dinner at the hotel with Jim, Joan, Don, and Gail.  This was some of the best Peruvian food we had on the trip, and the manager even presented Annabelle with an icecream dessert made to look like a llama.  Late that night, we caught the redeye for Atlanta, making it back home the next afternoon.  It was a fabulous trip.  We definitely want to return to Peru, and we can't wait to try another Adventure by Disney.


Our last day started with a flight from Cusco to Lima. We laughed at the billboard for altitude sickness tablets at the Cusco airport. (BC powder worked just fine for us!) In Lima, we took a brief bus tour, ending up just off the Plaza Mayor. This was the original city center founded by Pizarro. We saw the Government Palace, guarded by tanks, then headed to Casa Aliaga. This colonial mansion, built in 1535 has been continuously occupied by the same family for 16 generations. While access is limited for "regular" tourists, Disney had arranged live entertainment and a white-glove service for our farewell luncheon. It was really cool. We said goodbye as a group in the lovely formal living room, then headed back to Casa Andina Private Collection Lima to prepare for our flight home. Annabelle got in a swim in the hotel pool, we finished packing up, and had dinner at the hotel with Jim, Joan, Don, and Gail. This was some of the best Peruvian food we had on the trip, and the manager even presented Annabelle with an icecream dessert made to look like a llama. Late that night, we caught the redeye for Atlanta, making it back to Wilmington the next afternoon. It was a fabulous trip. We definitely want to return to Peru, and we can't wait to try another Adventure by Disney.

Last Day Pictures

Adventure Day Seven

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Do You Like a Picture?

Do you see yourself in a picture?  Want a print of that gorgeous mountain range?  Feel free to save any of our photos to your shutterfly account, or to order prints for yourself.  The option pops up with the pictures.

What's Next?

It's already time to plan for our next adventure!  In June of 2009, we will be doing Adventure by Disney's Southwest Splendors tour.  Starting in Sedona, Arizona, and taking us to the edge of the Grand Canyon and beyond, we know there will lots of new photo opportunities.  We can't wait!


Related Pages

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4/24/2014 1:57:01 PM