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May 20

I’ve arrived in Lima, Peru and am thrilled by this lovely city! Good food, interesting architecture, and so many interesting things to do.

May 21

Our Peru tour kicked off today with a drive south on the PanAmerican highway to Pisco, where we caught a flight to see the Nazca Lines. This ancient site is a mystery, likely created sometime from 500BC to 500 AD by the Nazca people. In the desert, enormous patterns, figures, animals, and abstract shapes were made by scraping away the top layers of soil to expose a lighter color underneath. What is strange is that nobody knows the function, especially because these shapes can only be seen from the air.

We saw a spider, a monkey, a man with a big head, and lots of geometric patterns. The plane ride was fun but also a little nauseating as we swooped down to get a closer look. Tonight, we are sleeping in the little seaside village of Paracas, and enjoying a bit of pool time.

If you’d like to learn more about the Nazca Lines, here is a piece from National Geographic:

May 23

Our day started early, leaving for the airport at 5, and flying to Puerto Maldonado near the Bolivian and Brazilian border. We loaded onto buses and then to boats to float to our Amazon retreat. Along the way, we saw Macaws, Capybaras, Caymans and more.

After checking into our ecolodge deep in the jungle, we ventured out to a view tower far above the canopy for watching the sunset. We spotted lots of monkeys along the way and got to hear the roar of the famous Howler Monkey. What an amazing day.

May 24

Our guides took us on a nocturnal walk through the rainforest tonight. We saw a boa constrictor, two other kinds of Amazon snakes, spiders, stick bugs, giant ants, and, at the end of the walk, we turned off our flashlights to see a sky of fireflies. Absolute magic, expertly led by our Amazon guide Joss.

May 26

It was a long day and a lot of travel to get from the rainforest to the Sacred Valley, but some days in travel are like that. We’ve arrived in the Andes, and have already been treated to some local color as we passed through Cusco.

May 27

Our hosts made us a lunch with ingredients from their land—quinoa and vegetables and a fantastic soup, a main staple of their diets. The ladies wear traditional costume not just for visitors, this is their every day dress. Weaving is their main income and they work on it all the time, spinning and knitting even while walking and carrying a baby.

May 28

I’ve traveled all over the world and have seen some things. Today ranks somewhere near the top, in terms of pure cinematic beauty and spectacle. We started our day by taking the train to Aguascalientes through a magestic landscape of peaks and rivers. Once we arrived, we took a bus to the trail for Machu Picchu. This Inca city was only rediscovered about 100 years ago, and is incredibly intact.

But that’s not the thing that makes it one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s the location. I cannot really describe to you the absolute awe you feel at the top of the world. The peaks and valleys, the way the light hits the ruins, it’s all just magnificent. There is no other word. Magnificent. There are great travel experiences out there, but Machu Picchu is on a different level.

Since I was a little kid, I’ve always loved llamas above all other animals. It’s a thrill to see them in their natural habitat!

This is a special photo: the four of us have seen two of the seven wonders of the world together.

AWS Staff

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