Before sharing some insights about our Travels in the Peruvian mountains, it would be a serious oversight not to post a few photos of our Amazonian fishing expedition. Several members of our group successfully caught flesh eating pirañas! Apparently a large animal can be devoured in a matter of minutes by these tiny fish. We were very careful to hold our catch at a safe distance! But a warning that one of the following photos is a fake – the rare red piraña was caught by our trusty guide who carefully dehooked it and threw it back into the water.
In complete contrast we then spent several days high in the Andes mountains reaching almost 4,000 metres above sea level. Most of us were affected by the altitude but acclimatised after a couple of days. Our base was Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire. The colourful streetscapes, plazas and ancient Inca ruins provided a fascinating backdrop for our visit to this amazing region.
After exploring the major Inca landmarks we visited several interesting sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This included Pisac with its ancient farming terraces and Chinceros where we saw women producing colourful textiles – from treating, spinning and dying Alpaca wool to weaving the finished product. We marvelled at their skill which had been passed down through many generations. Once the wool has been spun, it takes 25-30 days work, 6 hours a day to make a table runner.
But the highlight of this segment of our tour were the two days that we spent at Machu Picchu! Words cannot describe the truly awesome felling that one experiences when entering this most significant, spiritual Inca site. Machu Picchu was abandoned by the Incas early in the 16th century. To avoid this sacred settlement being discovered by the Spaniards, the former inhabitants covered the stone buildings with natural vegetation. The site was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911.