Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Good Morning Machu Picchu

Wednesday, March 30, 2016, WTRD 82

The alarm got us out of bed at 4:00 am. We had breakfast at 5:00, checked out of our hotel, and walking down the steep cobbled streets to the bus terminal in the early morning light.  Sunrise is late here because the mountains are so tall.  Nevertheless, we board the busses about 6:00 am, ride for 25 minutes up a one way, winding road on the sides of the steep mountains to ascend to the base gate of Machu Picchu.

There is a sign here that says Machu Picchu 1450-1540.  This is UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely one of the wonders of the world.  This is not an ancient site, but one built at the same time as Europe was in the medieval period and sending explorers across the seas.  Machu Picchu was not built for commoners but for the royal nobility of the Son of the Sun King, chiefs, and administrative staff.

Once inside the gate, we ascend up a steep trail and steps to the first sunrise lookout.

Just as we arrive, the sun begins to peak over the mountain in the east and a golden light begins to shine on the ruins of Machu Picchu.

It is evident why the Inca sun worshippers have chosen this place as the site for their holy temple, solstice and equinox ceremonies.  This was a giant conference center.  

Our Intrepid Group Makes It to Machu Picchu!  

The Sun Temple

The greats only came for short stays and did not reside here.  While being built over 10,000 common people worked on the site by day to build walls, houses, terrces, and paths, farm, carve, clear rocks, But they lived in the valleys below.  This was made by them but not for them.  Only 300 people were residents of this retreat, and they were servant caretakers.  

Water line

As the sun rises, the beauty of Machu Picchu unfolds.  We are fortunate to be here on a clear day.  For the last week, Machu Picchu has been shrouded in clouds and rain.  But today, the Sacred Center is in its full glory as the sun rises.  Windows face east to capture the morning sun.  Prominent stones in strategic locations, cast shadows for telling time and season, solstices, and equinox.  There are reflective mirrors made from still water to observe the stars, and to capture the glow of sun on seasonal celebration days.

We have a guide, Patrick Manuel, who explains all of this to us.  He is quite a dramatic character, rolling his R's with such gusto that his spittle glistens in the morning light.  He claims to be a great, great, great.....grandson of the Son of the Sun, King.

He relishes the magic and the secrets of Machu Picchu and shares them with us.  We wonder through out the complex.  By 10:00 am, the sun is high in the sky, the complex is filling with people, and it is very warm at 8,000 feet.  The shade of the rock walls is growing narrower and becoming more difficult to find.  Without the original roofing, there is little shade.
Temple of the Condor - Sacred Bird. Striated Vertical Rocks represent His Wings in Flight.

Russ and I hang around awhile after the tour on our own, but the magic of the sunrise and the long shadows have vanished, and we decide it is time to descend back to Aqua Calientes.  We return to our hotel, relax, download photos for editing, have lunch, and head to the train station for our return to Ollantaytambo.  The train rattles and rolls down the hill. After and hour and a half, we disembark, climb on a bus and head to Cusco for another 2 hours.

We arrive just as I am finishing this blog 6:30 pm.   It's been a fabulous day, and we can check off another world wonder from the bucket list!

All is Well With the Worrall Travel R's To Machu Picchu and Back To Cusco.

Inca Ruins and Terraces

Inca "Priest" and "Goddess"
Monday and Tuesday, March 28-29, 2016, WTRD 80-81

Monday:  On our way out of Cusco and on our way to Ollantaytamba, we stopped at five sites.

One was at a Christo overlook

 that had expansive views of Cusco, surrounded by mountains on three sides, a challenge for pilots landing and taking off. (see airport runway in middle of photo below).  We will fly out of here when we go back to Lima.

Looks more than the .5 million reported people

Population creep up the mountains
 These ladies have a wonderful scenic view for selling their wares.

Second was at military, temple area of the Incas:

Massive Stones Chipped, Smoothed and Fit into Place Like A Giant Puzzle

Grooves, holes, and handles provide clues to how these rough stones were moved and lifted into place.

Because this is not a palace or temple, these stones are not as finish perfect as the ones in town.

On top of the mound of the military grounds are the remains of an Inca Sun Temple.
Note the large circle of temple (just above my head)

Our third stop
Photo opportunityposers get ready for their day at these sites.

The Alter is a cool place believed to be where priests prepared bodies for burial.
was at a temple that was carved in passageways through large outcroppings of stones.  All very interesting and thought provoking.  The achievements of these indigenous people without iron or wheels continues to beg the question:  How was this done?

Once we left the outskirts of Cusco we traveled through mountains and valleys on our way to Olliantaytambo

Roasted Guinea Pig Sales in Small Towns - Not KFC but KFGP!

bypassing several small communities, and finally visiting a small community that Peregrine/Intrepid supports.

Our fourth stop, and first stop in this rural community was a farm house and cocoa kitchen where we enjoyed a delicious lunch, and had a demonstration of how this one family makes chocolate bars from cocoa beans. Yes we bought some chocolate, not very good, but hey! it was chocolate.
Mountain Village with Red Flag on a pole...What could this mean?

Fellow Travelers Marguerite and Janne waiting for lunch before dessert

Now for Dessert and Chocolate making Demonstration

Bittersweet and gritty.

Our second community stop was at another rural home and pottery studio.
Knock, knock...anybody home?

Doors for little people.  Watch your head Russ!

The family finds dried clay within their region, grinds, sifts, and hydrates the clay so that it is malleable.

With a home made potter's wheel and tools made from sticks and tin cans, the Papa sculpts the shapes of bowls, glasses, candle holders, soap dishes, mugs, pitchers, etc., and the Mama paints, kilns, and glazes.  Yes, we bought a few souvenirs.

Our last stop was at a farm home where the Mama makes Chincha, a beer made from corn.  Interesting to learn about the process.

She makes Chincha traditionally

Just Like Great Grandma Did
And it's still served in a giant glass.

Apparently, when the beer is ready for consumption, the family brew houses, fly a red flag outside their door.  Most of the red flags are red plastic bags tied to a pole.  In this case, the Mama put red flowers like a bouquet outside her door.  This Mama is much more classy.

In the courtyard after we sample the chinch, we tried the fun little drinking game that patrons play.  If they lose, they buy the beer for their friends. The game is a type of coin toss onto a flat surface with spinners and holes with different point designations.  We all miserably failed.  Mama however has had a lot of practice and she racked up the points.

Fun, but no we didn't buy any of the beer. Not to our liking.  Nevertheless we all gave Mama a tip for the demonstration of beer and  and how to play the game.

  We arrive late in the day at our accommodations and take an early evening stroll through the picturesque town.

Tuesday:  Today, we are in Ollantaytambo and have had a wonderful morning climbing the terraces in the Sacred Valley.  The views have been breath taking.  This must have been a beehive of activity between 1200-1500 with thousands of workers building terraces, quarrying stones, building granaries, and farming crops.

It defies the mind how the large stones weighing several tons were quarried high up on the mountain across the valley and transported up the steep slopes atop the terraces without horses, plow animals, carts or wheels.   There seems to have been an interrupted construction on top of a temple with massive stones when the Inca were conquered in 1520.  It is a mystery with many probable theories, but there is no positive proof and no written records or art depicting how this was accomplished on such a massive scale.

Grooved Stones give rise to theories about how they were transported

Ramped and Rolled on Smaller Stones

INCA Terraces

We are taking a brief rest before boarding a train to the base of Machu Pichu where we will spend the night, and ascend by bus up to the ruins tomorrow.

Everyone in our group had assigned seats on the expedition train.  There were roof windows for us to gaze in awe at the towering mountains.  The ride takes an hour and a half to Agua Calientes.  Driving a car takes 7-8 hours on a twisty one lane road that stops short of Agua Calintes.  We were happy to be on the train!

The train snaked through the Urubamba River Valley between open fields, rainforest, and mountains.  Agua Calientes (hot springs), is built on the side of one of these steep mountains.  There are no cars or vehicles other than the busses that will take us up to Machu Picchu in the morning.  Just like the Incas, every part of this city is hand carried up the mountain on the backs and on manpowered push-pull carts.

We walk around town in the afternoon, 

and two geocaches,
Geocache in the lower crevice of this rock

buy some souvenirs, enjoy mojitos for happy hour, and meet up with our group for dinner.  We retire early because it will be an early morning tomorrow if we want to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu

All is well with the Worrall Travel R's on the way to Machu Picchu