1 A guardrail along a mountain road
2 Falling back in time
3 Grabbing breakfast - Often this consisted of fried bananas and rice with fresh pineapple juice.
4 This is my lovely mother, who is currently spending 9-month stints teaching English in Peru.
5 First stop - Chiclayo - north of Lima - This city also hugs the west coast. We met our guide, Zenon, who is a direct descendent of the last Incan king, in Chiclayo to begin our first adventure.
6 Early Tuesday morning we hopped a bus. Little did we know our destination was 10-hours away leaving plenty of time to gaze out the window as we wound up and down the Andes Mountains.
7 Dad taking a snooze
8 Quickly, the terrain became rocky.
9 A bakery outside the city
10 Rice fields by a river that eventually feeds into the Amazon River
13 We saw countless adobe bricks out to dry. While not sustainable or earthquake proof, they are basically free.
14 As the cities fade away a more traditional Peru emerged.
15 Around 11PM the bus arrived to Chachapoyas. In the morning, this high mountain town was pushing away the rain to reveal sunny skies for the rest of the day.
16 Waiting for a cab to complete the last leg of our journey
17 Our cozy hotel
18 And finally, my last leg of the ride on this friendly pony
20 Up on the hillside, you can see cylinder shaped houses resting under the cliff.
21 Back on the road, we followed the Utcubamba Valley to the ancient walled city of Kuelap, our destination.
22 The structure of the main building is circular and for security purposes, the access corridor is sufficiently narrow to allow only one person at a time to enter.
24 Designs, know as friezes, adorn the buildings. This one represents the eyes of a puma.
25 Rather untouched by tourists and the modern world, countless human remains are still buried in the stone walls of Kuelap. This one I just found lying around.
26 You can see the main entrance in the background and in the foreground a sacrificial site. The fortress contained more than 450 round stone houses.
27 More stone houses and yes, a strategically placed llama (not native to the area) for your viewing pleasure.
28 The inside of a typical circular home - a stone for grinding corn and a hole right inside to bury your family members - plus a tunnel to keep qui, or delicious guinea pigs!
29 Some facts: construction began around 500AD, the top of the lookout sits 9,500’ above seal level, and it was originally home to the Chachapoyas, or Cloud Forest people.
30 Zenon gave us a historical rundown before we went inside.
31 Kuelap - the view
32 Just one of thousands of copper and gold pieces - Surprisingly enough, shell was of much higher value than gold at the time, and that’s what those puma inspired fangs are made of.
33 Numerous graves were found and are in the process of being uncovered. On the left is a replica and on the right is an original skeleton.
34 From our hub in Chiclayo, we took a day trip to see the Museum and Pyramid of Sipan. This is the museum that houses most of the remains and other items found during excavation. I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures here.
35 Corn and sugar cane fields on our way out to the Sipan excavation site.
36 Beside the pyramid is the Moche Burial Ground, where the King of Sipan was found adorned with countless treasures and surrounded by 8 other people, a lama, and a dog.
37 Once a great pyramid of the Moche people, this is now all that’s left of the adobe structure.
38 On the way back to Lima, we passed one last house where my mother resided.
39 Across the street from the Fuller Center House, we met a family that raised guinea pigs. Often they are the most expensive item on the menu.
40 Adorable kitten
43 A church in La Florida destroyed by the 2007 earthquake
44 The ancient pet turtle that roams the school wherever he pleases
46 The courtyard at the public school in La Florida where my mother worked two years ago
47 Some of the very friendly sisters and students at the school in San Vincente
48 We flew back to Lima to visit my mother's Peruvian life. This is the street outside the Catholic school and convent where she lives and teaches English.
49 Here I am with my mom.
50 While we sent dad off to ride an ATV, my mother and I took a trail ride.
51 Our trusty steeds by the riverside
52 The town center and local church
53 Local flavor
54 Local flavor
55 All over Peru, you can find remains of the Incan trail, as seen on this mountain.
56 Since we ran out of time that day to check out the Nazca Lines, a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert, we made a new plan to visit Lunahuana.
57 As the sun was setting, we arrived in Lunahuana, another small town outside of Lima. While seemingly under the radar, tourists flock here to white water raft, go four-wheeling, and take trail rides.
58 On the way, we picked up a machete at the local hardware store, which was my father’s only souvenir.
59 Masks found in Pachacamac
60 A close up of a hairless Peruvian dog - This ancient breed predates even the Inca’s. Folklore describes them as hot to the touch and mystical. He was indeed hot to the touch and a bit scaly.
61 We had one last set of Incan ruins to see. Right outside Lima sits the massive Temple of Pachacamac, which is more like 17 temples in all.
62 Our guide and my father full of questions
63 This is the main temple, called Temple of the Sun. Before years of damage, it was once bright red. Small chunks of original paint can still be found. A view from the opposite side includes the ocean and Penguin Island.
64 This building, about half reconstruction/half original, was a home to the skilled women. They worked on weaving, amongst other things, and since they were the best at their jobs they were often chosen as sacrifices.
65 After all of our running around, we finally stopped and spent the day in Lima. The weather usually looks like this, gray and misty.
66 While there were other adventures, such as this club http://www.brisasdeltiticaca.com/ and a trip to see the Presidents house. I hope you enjoyed this photo journal of Peru.
67 A strip of beef jerky as dad and I head back to the states
68 And one lovely souvenir