No. of Recommendations: 20
we're home and with horrible colds however you don't want to hear about that <sneeze> ;)

It was quite an adventure, relaxing vacation? NO! But adventure, yes!

we left on 3/10 supposed to depart from MIA to Lima, Peru at 11:30 p.m.,changed to 12:30 a.m. and after a full night in the freezing airport on the floor with other bodies wrapped in skimpy blankets, finally took off at 7:15 a.m. on 3/11/08! Had some interesting moments with the other miserable souls (on the floor) and I can tell you who snores and who doesn't.....<BG>

Met our group leader in Lima airport and quickly transported to our hotel, totally exhausted. Did a short sightseeing tour around Lima in the afternoon bug maybe due to total exhaustion didn't really see much to Lima.

3/12- 3/13 - flew to Cuzco, the old capitol of the Inca empire. 11,000+ feet above sea level (remember we're at sea level here at home in S. Florida). Some of our group experienced altitude problems as he walked down the ramp from the plane! DH & I were o.k. so far. We loved Cuzco, beautiful, interesting city. Peru is so poor and getting used to children begging on the streets is tough! We saw the Plaza de Armas, the 16th century cathedral built on the ruins of the Inca Palace, restored colonial buildings etc....the Spanish colonials totally destroyed existing Inca culture, the Incans really allowing them too as they thought they were the "promised return" of the white, blue-eyed gods in their own legends.

3/14 flew from Cuzco to Machu Picchu. took the Vista Dome train for almost a 4 hour ride through the lush Urubamba Valley, viewing the extremely turbulent Urubamba River and it rushes through the area. Whitewater rafting is almost impossible (far too dangerous) in many of its sections. I was disturbed to see the collection of debris along the banks of the river. However it was quite a site, we could see many remains of Inca forts, storehouses etc. The train is comfortable and the ability to view all of the scenery is wonderful. We didn't think we could or wanted to hike the Inca trail up to the site.

We stayed in an adequate hotel and headed for the Lost City of the Incas which was rediscovered in 1911. The genius construction of the Incas is an amazing site. What a civilization they had. The buildings/fortresses and citadel constructed to catch the position of the sun in its settings. A phenomenal experience, one I can now check off on my "bucket list". We hiked, a pretty strenuous hike - unable to talk and hike at the same time due to altitude issues for DH & myself. But we did better than many,even at our advanced age! ;0 We both had mild headaches and actually DH felt better than I did. I had taken Diamox before I started the trip, taken Lunesta to try and sleep in Miami airport and probably due to the combination of the meds + the sheer exhaustion made me pretty sick while still in Lima. However, I wasn't going to miss this trip to the site for anything!! others in our group were much worse off than me!!

The weather was a bit rainy and misty but not enough to spoil th hikes. I insisted on going up part of the Inca trail just to say I did it and we went as far as the guardhouse at the top. I'm pretty proud of us!

Mar 15-16th - Left earlier than we wanted to do go back to Cuzco, another long ride and the next day visited Pisac (the market) and toured the sacred valley of the Incas with all it archaeological ruins including Secsahuman (Sexy Woman) as its pronounced to keep the tourists happy. The market was fun, the ruins were wonderful - a lot of hiking but much easier than Machu Picchu....we saw lamas and visited weavibng home-style factories, taking the pre-requisite pix of the native women and men(for a price) and babies rolled up in the blankets on the backs of the women. Everything is carried on their backs. They were wonderful flared skits, colorful blouses, and wonderful hats to designate their class status and region.

March 17th - flew to Quito, Ecuador (see part 2 re. Ecuador and Galapagos in my next post if you are interested)

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