September 20th, 2008

Next Stop - Rio de Janiero

The bidding process for our next post is complete and the selection has been made. In April 2010 LosMorris will be heading to sunny Rio for our next two year tour. Between now and then we still have another year in Peru and will follow that with Portuguese language training in Virginia.

We are delighted but a little sad as well. When you find yourself faced with a list of posts all over the world your imagination is opened up. We were kind of hoping for Dakar, Senegal and the opportunity to live on another continent. But hey, we loved Rio on our honeymoon and now have the opportunity to enjoy it in full during a two year tour. So for those of you who have not been able to visit us in Miraflores you still have another opportunity for a South America adventure!

Come see the beaches of Rio:

Rock with the locals on the beach:

Enjoy romance and beach life with your sweetheart on Rio's "boardwalk":

Cusco & the Sacred Valley

Cuzco and the Sacred Valley are the gateway to Machu Picchu so visited to some degree by most tourists. But they offer an incredible amount of history and scenery in and of themselves. My sister Sharon and her husband Craig joined us for a few weeks to enjoy time in Lima and travel to some of Peru's treasures. We spent 4 nights in Cuzco at the Novotel (we recommend it if you can stay in the older colonial section)and took a day to visit the Sacred Valley, a day in Machu Picchu and the rest of the time wandering around Cusco.

First stop Cuzco - a beautiful colonial style city with a terrific Plaza de Armas and cathedral.

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Just outside of town is the very impressive Sacsayhuaman historical site. The ruins are on a hill overlooking the city and include enormous polygonal stone blocks representing some of the finest stone masonry you will ever see. Apparently most of the stone has been taken away over the centuries to be used for construction materials but what remains is quite impressive.


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We then spent a day traveling through the sacred valley between Cuzco and Machu Picchu. The valley is slightly lower in altitude than Cuzco so many people start their visit here to acclimate. Agriculture is major business in this area though tourism is rapidly taking over. Huge ears of inca corn (choclo) are grown in this valley, still using oxen to till the soil. The sacred valley derives its name from the growing of this corn which was sacred to the Incas.

Throughout the valley and in many other parts of Peru we had the opportunity to pose with local women and their alpaca:

Sunday market in Pisac:

Stop for a relaxing lunch in Urubamba:

More climbing at the Ollantaytambo ruins

The town of Ollantaytambo - a stopping point on the train from Cuzco to Machu Picchu and gateway to the Incan trail (a four day hike into Machu Picchu):

And views of the impressive Andes:

Machu Picchu

Having lived in Peru for almost a year now we finally made the trek to one of the Seven Wonders of the World and Peru's most visited tourist site. The ocassion was the visit from the States of my sister Sharon and her husband Craig.

It was a pretty intense trip - including Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca - and most of it spent between 10,000-13,000 feet above sea level. Fortunately Sharon and Craig came from Denver and Richard and I had lived there for over 15 years. We were humbled however by the magnitude and altitude of the Andes - this country has seriously high mountains!

So onto the travels..... I'll do a separate post for each of the destination points since they were each unique and worthy of separate mention.

Machu Picchu

There are two ways to get to Machu Picchu - you either trek in on the Inca Trail or take the train in from Cusco. We chose the latter but are considering doing a trek next April or May. In any case the train accomodations are pretty nice.

The train arrives in Aguas Calientes, which was just a small pueblo when I was there 10 years ago and has now grown to meet the tourist demand. Sadly, the development has created a bit of chaos and not so much planned development. But after a bus trip up the mountain we arrived in the Machu Picchu ruins and were suitably impressed. This is a place that truly deserves its designation on the list of the Seven Wonders:

So here we all are standing in what has to be one of the most photographed locations in the world.

And the picture you have seen in all the travel books

And no Morris family posting would be complete without recognition of the original citizens of this famous spot: