Friday, 17 August 2018

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu sits at a lower altitude than Cusco - thank goodness! No more headaches. No more shortness of breath or dizziness. No more nausea. Yahoo!

We arrived in Aguas Calientes (AC) by train.

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Trains are the lifeblood of AC, transporting local citizens, goods, and tourists to and from civilization. Tracks run directly through the business sector, and trains have the right-of-way.

(If ya hear one of those things comin', leg it off the tracks, pronto!)


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There are no cars in AC. Just trains, legs, and stairs. (Yippee-skippy. More stairs. Ha!)

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There is a bus service up the mountain to Machu Picchu, though! We rode up in the dark, which was rather disconcerting. It's easy to imagine sheer drops in the dark. Ulp.

Once at the top, daylight came quickly and we headed through the entry gate.



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Arriving early meant we could take our time and breathe in the beauty of the site without being pushed along by the crowd.


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Our perspective changed every few steps. All other thoughts were replaced with, "ohhh, wowww", and "wowww". (Eloquent, I know. ha!)

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This is the view down to Aguas Calientes. Wayyy down!

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And this is my favourite llama shot of the day!


Llamas are the "lawnmowers" that keep the grounds trimmed and tidy.

They can also cause traffic jams, as you can see here. (Llamas have the right-of-way, too!)

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Derrick (our son), Brynne (his partner), and Brynne's folks climbed the tall peak in the middle of my photo ↓↓ while Chuck and I wandered the ruins. They said it was amazing, but it would have been a thing of nightmares for me. Nothankyouverymuch. I'll just look at their pictures!

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I think I did well just keeping my eyes open during the trip back down the mountain!

We counted 14 or 15 switchbacks, and the trail was narrow enough that buses had to pull over as far as possible and wait for oncoming buses to pass.

Yup.

I read that true courage isn't being fearless. Courage is overcoming the fear and doing things anyway. My fear of heights is visceral, so this was no small task for me. But I did it!

Living my mantra - Try, Learn, & Grow!

Carole

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Escape to Peru! (and some quilts, too!)

Carole?
Carole Gold?

Present!

I've played hooky a couple of times since my last post: Once for a long weekend at the lake,

Beachcombing at Brightsand Lake, SK
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and again for a trip to Peru.

PERU!!!

My new friends at Machu Picchu!
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Prior to leaving, I quickly finished binding this Quilt of Valour so it could be delivered to the Edmonton Rep on our way through.

Blocks represent Ontario, Nunavut, British Columbia - and everywhere in between - in this quilt!
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Blocks of all sorts and sizes were made by quilters from one end of Canada to the other, and my job was to plan, piece, and finish the quilt so it can be given to an injured veteran as a thank you for their service.

A "row by row" layout gave order to the chaos of dealing with many odd sized blocks.
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This is the second "Hug Block" quilt I've completed, and I'm going to keep at it.

It feels necessary to provide emotional support for folks who often feel unappreciated - or worse, ignored - after giving their all for Queen and country.

If you'd like to support Quilts of Valour - Canada Society, please follow the link and contact the Regional Representative closest to you. You can contribute at your own pace - from making a single block, to finishing an entire quilt, (or somewhere in between) - any help will be welcomed.

Between hooky sessions, these beautiful quilts came through my studio:

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This one practically glowed!
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Quilted with hearts and loops.
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The next one was Super Fluffy - double layer of batting, PLUS a thick, minky-ish backing blankie! (Almost couldn't get my foot over the seams!)

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So Cozy!

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Rather than make one large quilt as a wedding gift, my client made coordinating "His" and "Hers" laps quilts.
This idea could catch on, methinks!

"His" featured a touch of black + Mimosa panto. "Hers" featured two purples + Popcorn panto.
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And then I went to Peru. (pinch me!)

We spent time in Cusco, Aguas Calientes, Ollantaytambo, and - of course - we visited Machu Picchu.


First stop: Cusco city

This trip is not for sissies, I tell ya.

We spent our days in Cusco city with headaches and general feelings of malaise due to the lack of oxygen at such a high altitude. And the whole city is up-and-down hill. Not great when one is already short of breath!

The stairs go on FOREVER in places! (Hope you can zoom in and see for yourself. I count at least six tiers - unreal!)
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Even the streets that *appear* to be flat are, in fact, giant ramps up and down.

Looks flat. Not exactly. This one leans downhill toward the city center.
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(P.S. It took me a few blocks to realize that  ↑↑ *this* ↑↑  is a typical Cusco city street shared by motorists and pedestrians! People drive wherever it's flat enough to get through. Also, cars have the right of way - if they honk, you'd best hightail it out of the way!)

It was fascinating to see how people live with all the stairs in the old part of the city. Laundry, groceries, tanks of cooking gas, small children - you name it! - must all be carried up block after block of stairs without the aid of wheels. And then, when they finally get to their door, there are probably stairs outside, inside, or both!

I wonder if there are more stairs inside these doors? Probably.
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More stairs, up
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Inside this door in the wall? Stairs down!
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And, ya never know what might be inside a door. Could be a corner store, a music shop, a jeweler, an art gallery, a bakery, a cafĂ©, a hotel, a private home, or . . .  ANYTHING, really!

Gallery
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Artists' workshops in there, no museum despite what the sign says.
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Hostel entry
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Convenience store.
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Sometimes a building needs propping up.
Life goes on around (and perhaps inside) it.
(People seem to live wherever a roof can be found, safe or not.)

Old buildings lean now and then.
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People work hard in Peru. I wonder if they still see the beauty around them?

Views pop up where walls erode.
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Built to last.
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There's no shortage of goods at the San Pedro market.

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Every part of an animal is used. Every. Part.
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More my speed.
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Out of respect, I refrained from taking pictures with people in them, so can't show what it was really like in the marketplace.

There were butchers, bakers, cheesemakers, local food vendors (it would have killed us had we eaten there, thanks to the water - but the food sure smelled good! The food prep was done on the spot in tiny spaces, and I saw a woman washing cutlery in a pot of hot water still on the burner. Rudimentary, but they pumped out dish after dish to hungry locals!)

In addition to the foodstuff (nuts, fruits, spices, veggies, etc.) and flowers (rows and rows of fresh flowers!), there were things for tourists to browse. Alpaca clothing of all sorts, acrylic knock offs, handmade books, bags, key chains, mugs and crockery, booze, and the list goes on. Lots of similar fare throughout, which makes me wonder if the vendors are all working for an overlord, of sorts. Central warehouse?

In addition to wandering the streets and visiting the market, we did some educational tourism, too. We visited The Museo Inka, La Catedral (impressive - highly recommend a visit), and La Compania (built on the ruins of an Incan palace). No photos allowed in any of them.

Add sore ankles to the litany of complaints suffered on this trip. Luckily, it was easy to ignore physical discomfort in a city that wowed us at every turn!

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Adios, Cusco!

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Too many photos?

Alrighty, I'll stop. (For now. Muahahaha!)

I wonder if you'd like to see Machu Picchu next time?

For a girl who's afraid of heights, I took some dang amazing photos of that place!



Try, Learn, & Grow!
(and play hooky sometimes!)

Carole

P.S. Find me on Instagram @ freshofftheframe (my bloggity-blog name, in case you didn't know!)