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South America » Peru » Cusco February 26th 2021

26th February - Chincheros Incas Textile Techniques. Another trip I didn’t want to miss, these virtual trips are often more than one date but I had missed out earlier and just by chance managed to book one thus afternoon. To the Incas gold was merely an adornment. Far more valuable were their alpacas, Vicuña which produced an ultra-soft fleece that they wove into clothing, rugs and tapestries. These textiles – not gold – were used as currency throughout the empire. Soldiers and high-ranking officials were paid in alpaca garments, and clothing woven from vicuña wool was so highly prized that only members of the royal family were allowed to wear it. The Inca had developed this ultra-fine fleece through centuries of selective breeding. They culled all but the best male alpacas and separated vicuñas and alpacas ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco February 9th 2021

8th February - Cusco: The Inca Capital - Peru The City of Cuzco (also Cusco) at 3,400 m above sea level, is located in a fertile alluvial valley fed by several rivers in the heart of the Central Peruvian Andes. Cusco was the religious and administrative capital of the Inca Empire which flourished in ancient Peru between c. 1400 and 1534 CE. The Incas controlled territory from Quito to Santiago, making theirs the largest empire ever seen in the Americas and the largest in the world at that time. Cusco, which had a population of up to 150,000 at its peak, was laid out in the form of a puma and was dominated by fine buildings and palaces. Cusco is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city of Cusco is said to be ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños February 7th 2021

Hola loyal blog readers! Let me begin this entry with a WARNING - the following includes a slightly graphic description of a medical procedure. If that kind of thing makes your stomach lurch, skip down to the 4th paragraph. (haha, now you're all curious and will surely read right from the start) In early December when I returned to Ecuador from the US, I planned to stay in Quito for a few days to deliver some of the things I'd brought for my friends and also to have a colonoscopy. (oh joy!) Since I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease 20 years ago, I'm supposed to have my colon scoped every three years...and I think it's been at least five since my last test (but who's counting?). I stayed with my 92 year old friend Margarita that ... read more
Up in the Clouds
Vibrant Hydrangeas
Baños from Above

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 3rd 2021

3rd February- Santiago - Chile We started our virtual tour today in front of the Palacio de La Mineda (Palace of Mint) The seat of the President Chile. It also houses the offices of three cabinet ministers: It occupies an entire block in the area known as Civic District. We heard how Chile’s armed forces stage a coup d’état on 9/11 1973 against the government of President Allende, the first democratically elected Marxist leader in Latin America. Allende retreated with his supporters to La Moneda, this fortress-like presidential palace which was surrounded by tanks and infantry and bombed by air force jets. Allende survived the aerial attack but then apparently shot himself to death as troops stormed the burning palace, reportedly using an automatic rifle given to him as a gift by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco January 29th 2021

After writing for almost a year about other people having Covid, I now have the opportunity to give a first person account of having Covid in Cusco. Thankfully, I had a very mild case. I had a fever for two days and a slight cough the third day after the fever was gone. Unfortunately, the person who brought it to my home was so sick that I had to play nurse for about a week, before a family member could come get him. I’ve done the contact tracing, which goes from my houseguest-turned-patient to his family, who live in a small town in the Sacred Valley. When I first realized that this was probably Covid, I found a list online of places in Cusco that supposedly can test for Covid. Of the 57 places listed, I ... read more
Use of a mask is obligatory
Danger!
Protect yourself from the Coronavirus

South America » Peru » Lima January 23rd 2021

6th January - Barranco - Lima Barranco is situated along the Pacific Coast, one of 43 Districts in Lima. It has earned a reputation as the Bohemian District because of its bright buildings, street art & charming streets. Barranco was originally a fishing village. Legend has it that a group of fishermen lost in the sea mist at last saw a distant light and rowed toward it. When they came ashore, they found that in the spot where they had seen the light was nothing but a wooden cross in the sand, and built the church. In the main plaza we viewed the statue of Chabuca Granda, Peru’s beloved poet, composer and folk singer. Next to Chabuca is the sculpture of a Peruvian riding horse, the subject of one of her songs. There were several young ... read more

South America » Peru » Lima January 20th 2021

Lima - 22nd December 2020 The Main Square of Lima is located in heart of Lima, founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, is a World Heritage Site, declared by UNESCO. The Square was the headquarters of the Spanish Colonial Government and was heavily damaged during the earthquake in 1746. Lima is the second largest desert capital city after Cairo in Egypt. The city is located on a desert strip between the Pacific Ocean and Andes Mountains. The Government Palace was originally built by Francisco Pizarro, governor in 1535. The most recent alterations to the building were completed in the 1930s. It was interesting listening to our guide,Vanessa, talk about the distinctive balconies. During the Spanish Colonial rule of the 17th and 18th centuries, the stand-out features of public and private buildings was the addition of balconies ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz January 20th 2021

29th December 2020 La Plaz - Bolivia I probably over-dosed on tours yesterday, note to self organise your trips better 2nd tour was to La Plaz in Bolivia with our tour guide David. The Plaza Murillo is the central square of the city of and the open space most connected to the political life of Bolivia. The most prominent buildings on the square include the Presidential Palace, the Government Building and the Cathedral of La Paz. An interesting sight is the clock in the spire of the Government Building, the clock runs anti clockwise but we weren’t able to get a close enough photo. There is a major problem with pigeons in the square, it reminded me of all those years that pigeons were a tourist attraction in Trafalgar square almost as much as the surrounding ... read more

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires January 20th 2021

29th December 2020 The 3rd of my trips yesterday. Buenos Aires - Plaza de Mayo The Plaza de Mayo is the oldest public square in Buenos aires, and has been the scene of many of the most important events in the city's history. The square is named after the Argentine revolution, which began on May 25, 1810. So many beautiful buildings around the square including the cathedral where Pope Francis conducted mass for 20 years, the seat of the national government, the national bank and the intelligence secretariat & one of the oldest bookstores in Argentina. The green kiosks are the only place that people can buy newspapers. Buenos Aires is the only Argentine city with a metro system. The rainbow road crossings show just how diverse Argentina is in relation to LGBTQ pride. Fabian our ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito January 6th 2021

Poet, novelist, and travel writer William Graham holds a BA and MA in English and a MS in Communication from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He lives in Stowe, Vermont. Many of his books are also available on Audible.com. His latest novel is url=https://www.amazon.com/Portland-Noir-Maine-Murder-Mysteries/dp/B08MSLXMN2/ref=sr_1_2?crid=W50AA0CGTCD4&dchild=1&keywords=portland+noir+maine&qid=1609951356&sprefix=portland+noir%2Caps%2C172&sr=8-2Portland Noir, the fourth and final installment in his Maine Murder Mysteries series. It was early: six-thirty in the morning, dawn on the equator in the country of Ecuador. The sun, however, had yet to make a dent in the thick cloud cover in the Ecuadorian cloud forest at the 2,000-acre preserve of the Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge, situated at 7,000 feet above sea level and about a two-and-a half-hour rugged drive north o... read more
Old Town of Quito
Ice and Snow Covered Summit of Cotopaxi Volcano
Dense Cloud Forest




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