Category Archives: Out and About

Peru, Land Of The Inca

Peru – a multicultural nation. This country has everything the planet has to offer, all the micro climates and all the regions – stunning coastlines, highlands, jungle, rainforest, lakes, green as well as snow covered mountains, canyons, palm trees, waterfalls, swamps, deserts, the Andes – Pacific beaches up to the snow line. Peru – ancient, mysterious, stunning. Soaring peaks and carved valleys lead the way to THE bucket list topper: Machu Pichu…..

A diverse range of animals are to be found in Peru from monkeys, seals, cheetahs and other big cats, butterflies, frogs, llamas, exotic birds, butterflies and frogs, flamingos. A diverse food and drink menu is available traditional style. Partake in extreme sports, hiking, bike tours, skiing, white water rafting, horse riding, shamanic workshops and retreats drinking the sacred brew Ayahuasca or the cactus San Pedro. My mum and I have both drunk Ayahuasca in Brasil, and my Mum also went to Peru to go on a 6 week Shamanic workshop with San Pedro, Peru is steeped in rich history, tradition and customs. Visit Historical ruins shrouded in mystery and magic, witness tribal ceremonial dances to customary dances such as the Alcatraz. Vibrant city life with a busy night life to more humble indigenous dwellings – In Peru you can find just about everything that takes your interest and that inspires you. And it’s so cheap once you’re there!

Peru is also home to a UNESCO world heritage site – The Nazca Lines in southern Peru are a group of pre-Columbian geoglyphs etched into the desert sands. Covering an area of nearly 1,000 sq. kilometers, there are around 300 different figures, including aliens, animals and plants. Composed of over 10,000 lines, some of which measure 30 meters wide and stretch more than 9 kilometers, the figures are most visible from the air or nearby hilltops.

In fact, just watch the video to be inspired!

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=Co3Zy0LLWuI%2520

RELATED: Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas, Peru

Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas, Peru Part 2

One of Machu Picchu’s foremost uses was definitely astronomical observation. This is indicated by the Intihuatana stone (also known as the Saywa or Sukhanka stone), which means ‘Hitching Post of the Sun’ and has proved itself to be a precise indicator of the date of the two equinoxes and other prominent celestial periods. At midday on March 21st and September 21st, the sun, being almost directly above the pillar creates no shadow whatsoever. This is when the sun is momentarily ‘tied’ to the rock and is also a time when the Inca held sacred ceremonies.

Shamanic legends claims when a sensitive persons touches his or her forehead to the Intihuatana stone, it opens one’s vision to the spirit world.

The Inca believed that when the Intihuatana stone was broken at an Inca shrine the deities of the place departed or died.

Fortunately, the Spaniards who searched out the Incas sacred Intihuatana stones and destroyed them never discovered Machu Picchu and therefore the site was left intact, and so the Intihuatana stone and its resident spirits remain in their original position. The mountain top sanctuary was inhabited until the Spanish conquered Cusco in 1532. Supply lines that linked the Inca social centres were disrupted bringing the great empire to an end.

Travel

All visits at some point originate in Cusco. Cusco can be reached by a domestic flight from Lima, or international flight from La Paz, in Bolivia. The tourist train from Cusco, takes 3 and a half hours to get to Machu Picchu. Thence follow several options.

on the train to Aguas Calientes y machu PicchuTrain to Machu Picchu

The most common option is – take the train to Machu Picchu in the morning, explore the ruins for a few hours returning to Cusco in the afternoon. The train stops at Puente Ruinas station, where buses take tourists up the mountain to Machu Picchu.

Today, annually thousands of tourists walk the Inca roads – in particular The Inca Trail getting used to the environment in Cusco before embarking on a two or four day journey, both of which are controlled by the government. This requires travellers to be reasonably fit. The trip involves sleeping in tents.

Another option is – stay overnight near the ruins of Machu Picchu, rather than returning on the same day. Many hotels are located at nearby Aguas Calientes. There is just one hotel at Machu Picchu itself. From Aguas Calientes buses commute to the ruins regularly during the day, an 8km ride up the mountain (roughly one and a half hours if walking).

There is also a helicopter service available that runs from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, although in the 1970’s helicopter flights directly into Machu Picchu stopped in due to concern about their damage to the ruins.

Related link:

Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas, Peru part 1

and:

10 Ways to Avoid Altitude Sickness in Cusco and Machu Picchu

www.machupicchu.info

 

Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas, Peru

Awe Inspiring Beautiful Architecture and Surrounding Countryside

The ruins of Machu Picchu, sometimes referred to as the ‘Lost City of the Incas’, are one of the most beautiful, awe inspiring and enigmatic ancient sites in the world.

The city is 5 square miles big and is extraordinary, mysterious and inspiring to behold. Machu Picchu is located 2,430m (7,970 ft) above the rumbling Urubamba river in the Urubamba Valley on a mountain ridge, about 70 km (44 miles) northwest of Cusco. From below the city is not visible. The city is completely self contained, watered by natural springs and encircled by agricultural terraces adequate to supply food for the entire populace residing within.

Machu Picchu

The ruins found in the city are cloaked in clouds and mystery. There are temples, palaces, baths, storage rooms and around 150 houses to be found, all in an extraordinary form of preservation. The structures are carved from the gray granite of the mountain top. A lot of the building blocks weigh 50 tons plus, are sculpted and fit together without mortar and such precision a knife blade cant even be inserted in the joints. This is a true wonder for architects and visitors of Machu Picchu alike.

machu macch

The roads of the Inca are some of the most interesting constructed by pre-Columbian cultures in South America. This network of roads intersected at Cusco, which is the capital of the Inca Empire, one of them leading to the city of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu is probably the most renowned symbol of the Inca Empire. The site has been designated a United Nations Educational World Heritage Site since 1983. It has also been the subject of concern regarding potential damage caused by tourism. In 2003 alone around 400,000 people visited Machu Picchu. Peruvian authorities insist that there is no problem.

In 1981, an area of 325.92 square kilometres surrounding Machu Picchu was made an ‘Historical Sanctuary’ of Peru. This area, not just limited to the ruins themselves, includes the regional landscape with its flora and fauna, emphasising the abundance of orchids found there.

History and Legends

The Inca are believed to have used the city of Machu Picchu for secret ceremonies from the 1400’s onwards. However, there are myths and legends that suggest the site was regarded, with awe, as a sacred place since a much earlier time.

It is believed the site was picked for its unique location and geological features. The silhouette of the mountain range behind Machu Picchu is meant to represent the face of the Inca looking skywards, and the largest peak, Huayna Picchu (meaning Young Peak), represents his nose.

 Continue reading… Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas, Peru Part 2

India, Geography, States and Union Territories part I

The Republic of India is more commonly known as India. It is a sovereign country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country in the world by geographical area, as well as the 2nd highest populated country, and the most populous liberal democracy in the world.

Surrounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India has a coastline of over 7000 kilometres. It borders Pakistan to the west; Nepal, China and Bhutan to the north-east; and Myanmar and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is near the Maldives, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Home to the Indus Valley civilization (c. 3300-1700 BC, flourished 2600-1900 BCE), as well as a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was associated with its commercial and cultural wealth for a lot of its long history.

4 major world religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism have their routes here. Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrianism arrived in the first millennium CE and formed the region’s diverse culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early 1700’s and colonised by Great Britain from the mid 1800’s, India changed into a modern nation-state in 1947, after a struggle for independence that was distinguished by widespread use of non-violent resistance as a means of
social protest.

With the world’s 12th largest economy by exchange rates and the 4th largest in buying power, India has made fast economic progress in the last 10 years. Although India’s standard of living is projected to ascend sharply in the next half-century, it currently battles high levels of poverty, persistent malnutrition, illiteracy and environmental degradation. A pluralistic, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic culture, India also boasts a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

India, Geography, States and Union Territories part 2

India, Geography, States and Union Territories part 2

Geography

India makes up the major portion of the Indian subcontinent, which sits on top the Indian Plate and the north-westerly portion of the Indo-Australian Plate. India’s north and north-eastern states are to a degree located in the Himalayan Range. The rest of northern, eastern and central India comprises of the fertile Indo-Gangetic Plain. In the west, bordering south-eastern Pakistan, the Thar Desert is located. Southern India is almost entirely composed of the peninsular Deccan plateau, which has 2 hilly coastal ranges on either side, the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats.

India has several major rivers, including the Ganges, the Yamuna, the Brahmaputra, the Godavari, the Narmada, the Kaveri and the Krishna. India has three archipelagos (a large group of islands) – Lakshadweep, which lies off the south-western coast; the Sunderbans in the Ganges Delta of West Bengal and the volcanic Andaman and Nicobar Island chain to the south-east.

The climate of India varies greatly – tropical in the south to more temperate in the Himalayan north, where higher regions receive continuous winter snowfall. India’s climate is heavily influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert. The Himalayas, together with the Hindu Kush Mountains, stop cold Central Asian katabatic winds from blowing in. This keeps the greater portion of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes. The Thar Desert is accountable for attracting the moisture-laden summer monsoon winds that, between June and September, are responsible for most of India’s rainfall.

The Administrative Divisions of India

India is a union of 28 states and 7 federally governed union territories. All states, as well as the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the union territory of Puducherry, have elected governments. The other 5 union territories have centrally designated administrators.

The States

1 – Andhra Pradesh
2 – Arunachal Pradesh
3 – Assam
4 – Bihar
5 – Chhattisgarh
6 – Goa
7 – Gujarat
8 – Haryana
9 – Himachal Pradesh
10 – Jammu and Kashmir
11 – Jharkhand
12 – Karnataka
13 – Kerala
14 – Madhya Pradesh
15 – Maharashtra
16 – Manipur
17 – Meghalaya
18 – Mizoram
19 – Nagaland
20 – Orissa
21 – Punjab
22 – Rajasthan
23 – Sikkim
24 – Tamil Nadu
25 – Tripura
26 – Uttar Pradesh
27 – Uttarakhand
28 – West Bengal

The Union Territories

1 – Andaman and Nicobar Islands
2 – Chandigarh
3 – Dadra and Nagar Haveli
4 – Daman and Diu
5 – Lakshadweep
6 – National Capital Territory of Delhi
7 – Puducherry

Both the states and union territories are subdivided into districts. In the larger states, districts are sometimes grouped together to form a division.

28 States, 29 languages!

RELATED LINKS:

India’s Amazing Diversity

India climate, when to travel and where not to travel part I

India – climate, when to travel and where not to travel part I

The Climate

India’s climate encompasses a wide range of weather conditions across a vast geographic scale and varied topography, making it hard to generalise. India plays host to 6 major climatic sub-types, from arid desert in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, and humid tropical regions supporting rainforests in the southwest and the island territories, based on the Köppen system. Many regions have entirely different microclimates. There are 4 seasons – winter January and February; summer March to May; a monsoon (rainy) season June-September; and a post-monsoon period October to December.

India’s unique geography and geology heavily influence its climate. This is especially true of the Himalayas in the north and the Thar Desert in the northwest. The Himalayas obstruct the extremely cold katabatic winds coming in that blow down from Central Asia. Hence, North India is kept warm or only mildly cooled during the winter season. In the summer months, the same phenomenon makes India pretty hot. Although the Tropic of Cancer, the boundary between the tropics and subtropics, runs through the middle of India, the entire country is considered to be tropical.

As is common throughout much of the tropics, the monsoon and other weather conditions in India are unstable – huge droughts, floods, earthquakes, cyclones and other natural disasters are infrequent, but have killed or displaced millions.

The climate is of major importance when deciding when to visit India. Bear in mind that there is a distinct difference in climatic conditions in the far north to those of the extreme south. Although there are of course 4 seasons, generally, India’s climate is defined by 3 seasons – the hot, the wet (monsoon) and the cool, each of which may differ in duration from north to south. The most pleasant time to visit most places is during the cooler period from November to roughly mid-February.

The Hot Season

The heat starts to gather on India’s northern plains from around February, by April or May it gets really hot, with the hottest time being June. Temperatures of 45°C and above are common in central India. During these months South India also becomes extremely hot, sometimes unbearably so! Late in May the first signs of the monsoon appear in some areas – high humidity, electrical storms, short rainstorms and dust storms that turn the day as dark as night. The hot season is the time to leave the plains behind, heading for the cooler hills. This is when hill stations are at their best – and busiest!

The Monsoon Season

When the monsoon fully arrives, the rain falls steadily, usually starting the beginning of June in the extreme south, then spreading north to cover the whole country by early July. The main monsoon comes from the southwest, but the southeast coast – and southern Kerala – are mainly affected by the short and astoundingly wet northeast monsoon, which brings rain from around October to early December. Things don’t really cool down though – hot, dry, dusty weather is merely replaced by hot, humid and muddy conditions. It doesn’t rain all day, but usually it does rain every day. Followed by the sun this makes for a tiring steam room environment.

India – climate, when to travel and where not to travel Part II

India – climate, when to travel and where not to travel Part II

The Main Tourist Season

Sometime close to October the monsoon finishes for most of the country. This is when India receives most of its tourists – however, it is now too late to visit Ladakh. For this, May to October is the best period. During October and November it is generally neither too hot, nor too cold, although October can still be hot and/or humid in some areas.

Deep into the winter season, around mid-December to mid-January, Delhi and other northern cities can turn surprisingly cold, especially at night. In the far north it is freezing cold. In the far south the temperatures are comfortably warm over this time.

Festivals

It’s worth finding out the dates of particular festivals – you may be attracted or repelled by the chaos and over-pricedness of everything at these times. There are virtually no festivals during May and June. The wedding season is between November and March, when you’re likely to witness at least one lively procession through the streets.

Areas of Conflict

There are several Indian regions which are prone to occasional conflict. Jammu and Kashmir (as district from Ladakh) are subject to political violence and travellers should seek consular advice before entering any area bordering Pakistan in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab.

Consular advice should also be sought if considering to travel to Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur in northeast India. Militant groups operate sporadically in some rural areas of Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Orissa.

It is advisable to check out the following website for more information on this:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india

Following the death of Hizbul Mujahadeen commander Burhan Wani, there have been widespread violent protests in the Kashmir Valley since 9 July 2016, resulting in a number of deaths and serious casualties. Protests and demonstrations are ongoing across the valley. An indefinite curfew remains in place in Srinagar with continued military patrols in operation. All markets, shops, restaurants and tourist sites are closed, but hotels remain open. Mobile and internet telecommunications are suspended, all transport and local infrastructure have been severely disrupted by the protests.

Flight schedules are disrupted and travellers may need to provide proof of travel to access the route to the airport. The Amarnath Yatra which was suspended on 9 July 2016, re-opened on 12 July 2016. If you’re travelling in or through Srinagar you should remain vigilant, avoid protests or large gatherings, follow the advice of the local authorities and your travel company and monitor the local media.

India – climate, when to travel and where not to travel part I

Luna Adventures and the Luna Project – wilderness guiding company in Ontario

Have you heard of this amazing project in Canada before? Or maybe you have been there already? Tell us about your experience in the comments 🙂 I haven’t been, but this sounds totally amazing to me.

LUNA Adventures offers fully guided and outfitted Canadian Wilderness Expeditions no matter what your level of experience. Whether you’re new to wilderness hiking, or you’re an experienced white water paddler, Luna adventures are your one stop adventure outfitter.

Alternative learning center
Wilderness guiding company
Safe, informative, enjoyable
From canoeing to snowshoeing
Guides with skills and the necessary knowledge
Situated in southern Ontario
Part of the rural community of St. George
Major city centers of Brantford, Cambridge and Hamilton are close by … the list is endless.

The LUNA Project is a working model of low impact sustainable Living – examples of solar and wind energy, water conservation, organic farming, and natural habitat restoration. All awaiting your discovery.

To make the most of your wilderness adventure, you will be supported by guides who supply the necessary skills and knowledge and who give you the confidence to make the most out of your wilderness adventure. There will also be opportunities where you can develop and maybe even reflect on your values and there is also a chance for you to experience how you might be able to take an active role in creating a healthier environment for our future generations. Trips are available for kids, families, groups and schools.

Also check out the website for workshops and events –

The LUNA Series is a collection of programs and workshops offered by passionate, skilled, instructors to help sooth your body mind and soul. It’s our hope and desire that this series will help to bond together a strong community of like minded individuals, who are passionate to create a positive change in our world, and within themselves. Utilizing the unique calming environment that LUNA provides, all workshops will take place in the forests, meadows and yurts on-site.

Do you want to go there right now? Then click here for more info → www.lunaticadventures.com

La Tomatina – annual tomato food fight in Valencia, Spain

“La Tomatina” is said to be Spain’s most famous and popular ‘ fiesta’. People come together from all corners of the planet to take part in the worlds biggest, craziest tomato fight. Beyond any shadow of a doubt this will be more than messy.

The Spanish Festival takes place in Valencia, which is in the east of Spain in a village called “Buñol”. This is a yearly event and happens on the last Wednesday in August and starts at 10am.

La Tomatina has become a highlight in the festivals of Spain. And once the tomato lorries arrive with their 100+ tons of tomatoes, it is almost impossible to get into the central Piazza del Pueblo.

“Bunol” is a small village with a population of 9000 people. Prior to 2013 anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 (reported to be 50,000 in 2012) people crammed into this huge tomato fight, greatly expanding Bunol’s normal population! Since 2013 official ticketing has been in place limiting the number of participants to just 20,000 lucky people…..

If you are planning to be there to fling squashed tomatoes at each other lets hope there are still tickets available! The last Wednesday this year is August 31st. It’s a week-long festival and features music, parades, dancing, and of course fireworks.

Not my kind of thing, so don’t look out for me. Lucky I don’t have to clean up the the mess. 😉

And before I forget, bring your goggles. 😉

For more information please click here – www.latomatina.org

For ticket pricing and information please click here – Official Site (as far as i can tell anyhoo)

also check out – “La Tomatina” Tours – prices actually appear to be rather reasonable and include 3* accommodation or a hostel (at time of writing hostel option sold out) and entry for 3 or 4 days from £149

Ngala Private Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa

This private game reserve was the first to be incorporated into the globally renowned Kruger National Park. An incomparable, unforgettable experience of the Big 5 and lots of other African species awaits you. If you weren’t in the know, the big 5 are – the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo – although it’s not easy to see them all – in particular the leopard as they are nocturnal, secretive and well camouflaged creatures. However, just being in the bush and seeing tiny animals like ants and frogs interact, and learning about the relationship between them, can be even more exciting than a procession of lions and elephants. This means that even if you miss out on one or two of the big guys, you’ll still have a great time.

There are 3 type of accommodation available for you to enjoy your preferred choice of exploring and discovering the area.

* See the wild at night with an adventure packed game drive under the stars, tracking cheetah and the African wild dog.

* The main lodge encompasses 20 romantic chalets and a Safari Suite with its own lounge and dining area, bathroom and glass walled shower which overlooks the river. On top of this, a large pool and a private 4×4 safari vehicle and ranger are at your service. Pan-African feasts are dished up in the candle or lantern lit boma or courtyard.

* 6 luxury tented suites with bathrooms, outdoor showers and lap pools reflecting the seasonal Timbavati River.

* To experience a rare intimacy with the wilderness, the Walking Safari Camp with its 4 roomy en suite tents is a truly amazing, awe-inspiring experience.

Ngala game lodgeNgala Thatched Chalet

FACILITIES

– Swimming Pool
– Game Drives
– Luxury Accomodation and Facilities
– Child Friendly

ATTRACTIONS

– 2 Daily Game Drives
– African Big (and little) Game
– Bush walking

LOCATION

Location – set in 14,700 hectares in the Timbavati region of the Kruger National Park with self-drive and scheduled air access.

RELATED LINK:
Ngala Game Reserve — Kruger National Park, South Africa