Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Carving 2012

The Steagles Annual Pumpkin Carving took place tonight!  It was a big success!  So without further ado here are the 2012 Pumpkin Carving Results!

Liz's Pumpkin Robot

Jessie's Cute Pumpkin Face

The Collection 2012

Mackay's Kitty

Jessie's Lit Up

Amanda's Black Cat

Josh's Friend Hunter's Owl

Josh's Dino Tricker Treater

The Group

Here they are!

Our Final Day in Peru

We stayed that night in Auguas Calientes and we spent our time wandering the streets in search of a great meal (didn't really find one there.) Also doing some shopping as we went. There was one funny incident over a pair of shoes. Brad was buying some stuff from one vendor and was trying to get a deal. The guy would not deal on the shoes and the girls really wanted them. Brad ended up walking away and the girls were freaking out because they really wanted those shoes. They ended up heading back and buying them for the price he wanted. It was pretty funny. The girls just think it is mean to bargain. We slept snug in our little Hostel, except for the occasion train that rips through town all night long....go figure? It really wasn't too bothersome though. The next morning we had breakfast included with our stay and found that our own little Hostel had the best food! We should have eaten there the night and learn. IMG 1772 IMG 1773 We had fresh squeezed orange juice. Eggs made to order all served with fresh fruit and yummy pita type bread, jam and butter. It was delicious!

 We took our train ride back to Ollantaytambo and we had another afternoon and night to spend there. The boys opted to sleep again and the girls headed off for more shopping. We ran into some girls from America and we sat and chatted for a few minutes. They mentioned that they had met another group of American's who had flown over for $300 on Tacca airlines because of a mistake fare. We said we had done that too and they were so surprised! They told us about a free trade store in town they had learned about in their college classes and it was one of the reasons they had come to this town. One of them was planning to come back and volunteer there. It was a store set up to help some of the High Andes people sell their goods for a fair price. They told us to go and check it out and so we did. It was pretty cool and the products were very nice there. As we were coming back from there we stumbled upon this really cool cafe called The Heart's Cafe. I bought a cookie there and checked out their menu and we decided to come back there for dinner that night. This cafe was set up as a foundation by an English woman. She used the proceeds to help the children in the region with education, sanitation, clean water and food. We returned that night for dinner and the food was so good and they wash everything in mineral water so you don't have to be afraid to eat fresh things (I still didn't). Mackay and I got the same thing, a local dish and it was yummy!

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Machu Picchu was really the main reason we came to Peru and it did not disappoint but along the way we met some really great people, did some fabulous fun shopping and ate some pretty great food.  Here is where I will stick in all the things I left out so far and just know that we packed fun into every corner of this quick whirl-wind vacation.  If there is one thing that the Beagles know, it is how to have fun on a vacation.  So sit back and enjoy these last random pictures of our time in Peru!

Ollantaytambo, we loved this little village which was settled amidst ancient Inca ruins.  Even the village itself is a remnant from Inca times.  We loved all the stone path ways and the maze of streets.  They had a large market that was so fun to walk through and we bought tangerines there everyday.

The city streets were like a maze with these thick walls all throughout.

This pretty little town sits right along the Sacred Valley that leads to Machu Picchu.

The girls and I spent every spare minute shopping!  It was so much fun!  The prices were so good and you could bargain of course but half the time we just paid pretty close to what they asked.  Because that is how we are!  We figure they could use the extra dollar more than we could!  Amanda and Liz both bought these colorful pants they were so pretty!  We probably went to this little shop about 10 times.  I found some really lovely rocks and crystal there and the girls loved her selection of pants.  

We spent some time hiking the ruins around the town.  We even got Brad to come along!  But we couldn't get Mackay to come.  He was still sleeping off the airplane rides!

This was a beautiful little hike up the mountain side.  Very, very rocky but they seem to like to carve steps everywhere.  That is pretty helpful sometimes.  These Incas really like to build things up high!

Amanda with Liz her photographer setting up the big shot of Amanda spanning the walls of the Inca storage unit.  They believe that they used these buildings for storage.

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Here's the great span....okay not so impressive!

The big finish....tah dah!

Now are you impressed?

Take a big breath do it again.

Probably my favorite shot of the day.

We found a fellow hiker to snap this photo.  Love my fam!
Enjoying the evening breeze.

Mackay loved playing with the kitties.  There were tons of wild dogs roaming the streets everywhere.

Well, this sums up the trip other than a 3Am departure the next day and 17 hours of flying with long layovers.....Uggh!  We made it though!  We got home safe and sound!  It was a such an adventure and we loved seeing Peru and it's wonderful Sacred Valley!  Great Fall Break, wonder what we'll do next year?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Machu Picchu Onward and Upward!

So we walked over to the bus station and headed up the mountain toward Macu Picchu.  I have to say that the Andes Mountains are amazing.  The Sacred Valley is something too but the mountains are just gorgeous.  It was a breath taking ride up to the site.

Here we are ready to roll on the stop Machu Picchu.

I'm posting a little bit about the site here for future reference for me and maybe there is something here you would like to know too.  The truth is no one really knows what Machu Picchu is why it was built or what it was really used for.  Everything the experts say is just an educated guess.  It truly is a magical place and I love that it is still shrouded in mystery.  So if you are not interested in the facts just scoot on down for some really fun pictures!  Thanks for reading!

A smidgen about the history:
Machu Picchu was built around 1450, at the height of the Inca Empire.[6] The construction of Machu Picchu appears to date from the period of the two great Incas, Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui (1438-71) and Tupac Inca Yupanqui (1472-93).[7] It was abandoned just over 100 years later, in 1572, as a belated result of the Spanish Conquest.[6][8] It is possible that most of its inhabitants died from smallpox introduced by travelers before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the area.[9] The latter had notes of a place called Piccho, although there is no record of the Spanish having visited the remote city. The types of sacred rocks defaced by the conquistadors in other locations are untouched at Machu Picchu. [8]
Hiram Bingham theorized that the complex was the traditional birthplace of the Incan "Virgins of the Suns".[10] More recent research by scholars such as John Howland Rowe and Richard Burger, has convinced most archaeologists that Machu Picchu was an estate of the Inca emperor Pachacuti.[8] In addition, Johan Reinhard presented evidence that the site was selected because of its position relative to sacred landscape features such as its mountains which are purported to be in alignment with key astronomical events important to the Incas.
Johan Reinhard believes Machu Picchu to be a sacred religious site. This theory stands mainly because of where Machu Picchu is located. Reinhard calls it "sacred geography" because the site is built on and around mountains that hold high religious importance in the Inca culture and in the previous culture that occupied the land. At the highest point of the mountain in which Machu Picchu was named after, there are “artificial platforms [and] these had a religious function, as is clear from the Inca ritual offerings found buried under them” (Reinhard 2007). These platforms also are found in other Incan religious sites. The site’s other stone structures have finely worked stones with niches and, from what the “Spaniards wrote about Inca sites, we know that these [types of] building[s] were of ritual significance” (Reinhard 2007). This would be the most convincing evidence that Reinhard points out because this type of stylistic stonework is only found at the religious sites so it would be natural that they would exist at this religious site.[11] Another theory maintains that Machu Picchu was an Inca llaqta, a settlement built to control the economy of conquered regions. Yet another asserts that it may have been built as a prison for a select few who had committed heinous crimes against Inca society. An alternative theory is that it is an agricultural testing station. Different types of crops could be tested in the many different micro-climates afforded by the location and the terraces; these were not large enough to grow food on a large scale, but may have been used to determine what could grow where. Another theory suggests that the city was built as an abode for the deities, or for the coronation of kings.[12]
View of the city of Machu Picchu in 1911 showing the original ruins before modern reconstruction work began.[3][4]
Although the citadel is located only about 80 kilometers (50 mi) from Cusco, the Inca capital, the Spanish never found it and consequently did not plunder or destroy it, as they did many other sites.[8] Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle grew over much of the site, and few outsiders knew of its existence.
On 24 July 1911, Hiram Bingham announced the discovery of Machu Picchu to scholars. As an American historian employed as a lecturer at Yale University, Bingham had been searching for the city of Vilcabamba, the last Inca refuge during the Spanish conquest. He had worked for years in previous trips and explorations around the zone. Pablito Alvarez, a local 11 year-old Quechua boy, led Bingham up to Machu Picchu.[8][13] Some Quechuas lived in the original structures at Machu Picchu.[citation needed]

The Entrance Gate

Loved climbing through these boulders to a gorgeous view off the mountain.

Beautiful View!

We even loved it when it rained.

These Boys asked Amanda to be in their picture!  So cute!

We had such a fun day exploring together!

Love my family!

They had built little canals for the water to run off of the ingenious!

Mountain Pose

I swear this was a a Chinchilla????

I just love my girls....what a fun day we had.

Liz loves her film camera and we were so glad because both mine and Amanda's ran out of batteries!

Chilling on the mountain top.....what a view.  I could have sat there forever!

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