6. May 2012 18:00
A young boy in Ollantaytambo peered down an alley as we passed
On Saturday, we visited Ollantaytambo, where we caught our train to Machu Picchu. This village name means resting place for a warrior and high above us on the mountainsides were terraces and garrisons where Incan warriors tried to stop the advance of the invading Spaniards.
We saw the Incan canals that ran beside most streets that carried fresh water from high in the Andes and offered sanitation 600 years ago. We also saw the small crosses and team of bulls that rest on many rooftops to show reverence for God and prosperity for the dwellers inside.
It was a beautiful morning and this village was busy in its role as a conduit for many travelers making their way to Machu Picchu, about an hour and a half away by train.
These dolls were an adornment in a home we entered in Ollantaytambo
Many homes are set off the street within ancient corridors
Sacred items within this home included mummified alpacas and skulls of ancestors
5. May 2012 03:57
This fountain honors an Incan king in a city square of Cusco near our meeting site
I'm in Peru with Tourism Cares for a restoration project at Cusco's Mercado Central de San Pedro park, where we'll be removing grafitti, painting its walls and planting flowers in old flower beds long filled with trash. We're also visiting Machu Picchu, one of the world's most treasured archaeological sites that rests some 8,000 feet above sea level in this country's Andes Mountains.
This raucous welcome with costumed dancers was given to our group on Friday, May 4, prior to a day-long tourism summit with local officials, professors and dignitaries. Peru ranks very highly with affluent travelers in the United States and sends the second most visitors here after neighboring Chile.
Tourism Cares CEO Bruce Beckham brought a blue chip panel with him and asked USTOA President Terry Dale to moderate a discussion of how this country can continue to grow its American travel business. Industry leaders here are into serious long-range planning to deal with the sustainability issues that arise with an ancient site that draws so much visitation like Machu Picchu does. Several local professionals including Rogers Valencia Espinoza of Andean Lodges and Ruth Shady, an archaeologist who helped to discover Caral, the oldest city in the Americas, led a discussion of those plans and gained input from the American tour operators in attendance.
Costumed dancers entertained us as we entered the Cusco Convention Center
A band played for our delegation as we prepared for our day long meeting with local leaders in Cusco
The primary theme of Peruvian industry leaders today is sustainability of their sacred sites like Machu Picchu