Saturday, July 4, 2015

Lima, Peru


We arrived in the evening and had a half day tour the next morning and then it was back to the airport for our flight to Cusco.
The tour only stopped at the Plaza de Armas and the Parque Del Amore, but we drove across many of the different better neighborhoods.

The traffic was so bad I started to worry we might not get back to the airport in time, but I worried for nothing. Currently they only have one public bus line, but more are planned, small private buses known as collectivos and too many taxis are the cause for many of the traffic jams.

Along our route we saw;

Plaza dos de Mayo

Plaza de Armas, this plaza was surrounded by restored buildings,  government buildings, a Cathedral and nearby was a Monastery.
The fountain with the Lima Cathedral in the background.
A better view of the Cathedral.


The Archbishop's Palace and museum, nearby was a Gastronomy Museum. We had time for neither, to be fair I only just found out about the Gastronomy Museum.
 The Government Palace and resident of the president.

The Cathedral had a facade of stone but internally the parts normally made of stone were made of wood, the columns, the vaults. It was done to help resist earthquakes.

The Cathedral had a room for Francisco Pizarro, the guy who was the downfall of the Incas. There is quite a bit of animosity towards him, the Spanish and the Catholic church.
 This hold some of his remains.

A doorway in the Monastery, they also had extensive catacombs with lots of bones. No Photos were allowed. The Monastery also held an important painting of the Last Supper, on the menu was Cuy(Guinea pig). There was a similar painting in the Cathedral in Cusco.
This was parked outside the Monastery. Very retro. I had our guide ask permission to take the photo.

Parque El Olivar, an Olive grove started in 1560, with 3 Olive trees brought over from Spain, the park was made a National Monument in 1959. It looked like a pleasant place to stroll, but we didn't stop.

Huaca Pucllana, on the border of San Isidro and Minaflores neighborhoods is a 1500 year old archeological site having adobe and clay pyramids and other structures. We barely got a look. The adobe lasts because Lima does not get a lot of rain, mainly drizzle. It is one of the driest capitals in the World. The Andes Mountains to the East keeps the rain from the Amazon from reaching Lima.

Parque del Amore, here we got out again and took a short walk along the cliff top, below there were lots surfers and there were also para-gliders. There was a sculpture by Victor DelfĂ­n entitled El Beso (the kiss), but we were not impressed and took no photos.
 The Pacific Ocean.
Surfers and some restaurants on the pier.

We then flew from Lima to Cusco (90 minutes), were met in Cusco by Umberto and Michael Schumacher jr. (who spoke English as well as we speak Spanish). Umberto gave us the itinerary for the next day and sent us on our way with Michael, who drove us to Ollantaytambo, about an hour and a half over hill and dale and many switchbacks. It was an interesting ride.
 Just outside the airport in Cusco.
 Some rolling hills on the way to Ollantaytambo.
 And some mountains with glaciers.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Peru Lodging

On our trip to Peru I can't say we had a bad room, the airport hotel was the least luxurious but was clean and roomy enough.

Lima
Costa del Sol Airport Hotel
Spent one night here, only complaint was we were too tall for the bed.
Standard hotel, it was right across the street from the airport, very convenient.
The view from the hotel room looking inland, a giant 3D 6 pack of coca-cola.

Ollantaytambo
El Alberque Hotel
The hotel lobby and restaurant was located on the train station platform, but our room was in a separate building out back. We could hear the trains from our room, but they were not too disruptive. One night walking back from dinner in the town, the sky was so dark all you could see was stars. So many stars I couldn't even pick out any constellations, though we were in the southern hemisphere so I am not too up on those constellations.


 Looking towards the door, the windows had shutters which could be opened or partially shut for light and privacy.
 Looking back to the wardrobe and the bathroom.
The view from the porch down the valley towards Machu Picchu which was an hour and a half away by train.

Machu Picchu
Sanctuary Lodge
Located next to the entrance of Machu Picchu. The room was not huge, the toilet/shower room was small, but it was clean and a pleasant enough place to stay. We also had a patio.
 Our room was the furthest room in the building in the right of the picture.
Not the largest room of the trip, but the location was great.

Cusco
La Casona
This was the most impressive of all the hotels we stayed in. There were celebrations both days we were in the city. The second night I heard drumming and fireworks till 2AM and then at 4AM it seemed like celebrations for the next day started. The Inti Raymi, the Inca Sun Festival was held on June 24. More people were lined up along the parade route for this than the Great Civic Parade in the Plaza de Armas which took place the day before. That parade had villages and organizations marching all day long towards the Plaza and I think there were more people actually in  the parade than watching.

The main room
 The entrance door, had a small window you could open to peer into the courtyard and allow fresh air in when using the fireplace.
 Turn-down service included chocolates and hot water bottles.
The fireplace worked, but we didn't ask for it to be lit.
The bath room was huge. If you called the front desk, they would draw you a bath for free.
The shower was behind the mirror to the left and the toilet behind the mirror to the right.

Peruvian Amazon
Delfin II
We finished out trip relaxing on the Peruvian Amazon.
Here's the Delfin II, top floor was the open air observation deck and bar to the right and lecture room aft. Second floor was suites forward and the dining room aft. Third floor was more suites forward and the engine room and other mechanical stuff aft.
 Top deck looking forward.
 Top deck looking aft towards the bar and the lecture room.
One of the 10 passenger skiffs we went out on twice a day.
Our suite.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Steps

Thursday 3810 steps 4 floors; to Lima
Friday 6640 steps 29 floors, Lima tour, flight to Sacred Valley
Saturday 10945 steps 101floors, Ollantaybo, Moray, salt pans
Sunday 9249 steps 188 floors, Machu Picchu
Monday 12817 steps 122 floors, Machu Picchu, to Sun Gate
Tuesday 11941 steps 50 floors, Cusco, Tamboachay, Saqsayhuman

Some floor counts are probably not correct and affected by changing altitude in a van on bumpy roads.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Aliases

Things are a bit slow so I figured I would post a micro-post
If I am on a the run try these aliases
  1. Les Houches
  2. Nick Kleben
  3. Bubbles Jaillance (drag alias)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Rover repairs

This past weekend we had some pretty nice weather,  got some odds and ends done, was disappointed by the F1 race in Canada, watched some movies and had to do some work-work.

Current Blooms:
 Geranium cinereum 'alice'
 Sedum japonica senanense, not a fan of Sedum, but this works well in this tray. Needs a bit of weeding.



Land Rover Repairs:
Our Land Rover Lump, has been getting louder and louder even more so than normal. Lump is a diesel and has no noise insulation. I expected it was all of the exhaust pipes, but amazingly it was just the mid pipe. The mid pipe connects to the front pipe with 3 bolts and with 4 bolts to the muffler, there is a copper gasket at that point. After dowsing the bolts with penetrating oil and letting it set a bit, Gina was able to get 5 of the 7 nuts free. Stainless steel bolts and nuts had been used which helped a great deal. She applied more penetrating oil and let it sit overnight. The next day Gina was able to get the last 2 bolts started using vice-grips. After that it was just slapping in the new pipe and having Gunther fabricate a new hanger. It was a beautiful afternoon and I sat outside and drank a beer.
 Some muffler sealant was used at the cone connection, but probably wasn't needed. The old pipe's mating face was in very good shape.
 There is a copper gasket between the mid pipe and the muffler, provides a good seal and makes it easy to disconnect.

The clutch master(MC) or slave cylinder(SC) also seemed to be in need of repair, but upon further investigation it was determined that one of the master cylinder push rod lock-nuts had worked itself half an inch out of position. This meant that with a stroke of 1 3/8 inch, at most only about a two-thirds of the MC was being used to disengage the clutch. The bolt was tightened back up against the trunnion and things seemed fine on the test drive.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Stars at Night

Visited San Antonio Texas over Memorial Day weekend, made a long weekend out of it. Only used 2 vacation days, my gal pal was there for a conference and I was just there for fun. Remembered to bring the fitbit tracker along, hope I do for the next trip, will be interesting to see how many flight we record. There was some rain and a tornado warning, but nothing that ruined our outings.

Sights:
Thursday, 12388 steps
Arrived at the hotel, went out for dinner and walked around a bit.

Friday, 13145 steps
  • The Buckhorn Museum: The saloon exhibition was a bit cheasy but the Texas Ranger section was very interesting. The ticket taker all dressed in Western garb originally came from Clifton NJ, he got tired of shoveling snow.
  • The Briscoe Western Art Museum: Yep, western art and a stage coach and a chuck wagon. Was $10 to get in and well worth the price.
Saturday, 5976 steps
  • Visited the Alamo free admission
  • Walked around the city
Sunday, 15103 steps
Planned to watch the F1 race in Monaco that morning, but the bad weather from the previous night took the channel I needed out of service. So I started sightseeing early.
  • San Antonio Museum of Art Housed in an old Lone Star brewery building, had a very impressive and extensive collection of art from various times and regions of the world.
  • Hop on Hop off Sightseeing bus [website]
  • La Villita An area full of arts shops
Monday
Made it out of Texas before the floods in Howston, our flights connected there.

Meals:
Charlie wants a Burger: Had very good burgers there. The hostess had lots of different catch phrases intended to lure in customers.
BierGarten: No Hofbrau beer, so had to fall back to Paulaner, the bratwurst was good, the German potato salad was not. Sat at the bar, the bartender mentioned he wanted to move to NYC and I convinced(?) him that he should. Saw
Saltgrass Steak House: Our salads were pre-made but were very tasty and the dressing was good. I ordered a too large steak which was excellent, Chef had ribs which were good.
MadDogs British Pub: A British Pub where the wait staff wore kilts and served Irish Food. I had a pint of Boddingtons which was great, food was just OK. Chef's cottage pie was mediocre, my steak and ale pie was better than I expected.
Landry's Seafood: Salads fresh from the cooler, they must have been stacked, they were quite flat. I had a thin gumbo, salty dirty rice and forget my entree already. Chef had seared scallops.
The Country Line: We both had brisket smothered with BBQ sauce and I also had sausages which were quite good. The brisket was a little dry, the mashed garlic potatoes was very good

All of these restaurants were on the River Walk.

 The Flag of the Independent State of Texas flying over The Emily Morgen hotel
 Surprised to see this kind of detail on a building in San Antonio.
 The Tower of the Americas has an observation deck and a revolving restaurant.
 The Alamo
 The Long Barracks at the Alamo, part of the fort complex.
 Market Square A large outdoor plaza/bazaar west of the downtown area billed as the largest Mexican market in the US.
 The San Antonio river and one of the tour boats, some can be used as taxis.
 Another view of the river and the adjoining walks, this a bit further north (up river) near the San Antonio Museum of Art.

There was a tunnel built to allow excess water to bypasses the San Antonio downtown area in times of flood conditions. [further info here]