Two weeks ago my wife Donna went to Machu Picchu. She wanted me to go but I declined for a couple of reasons. The first was that I wanted to go with an established tour company, something that would have cost more than going with a less-established company. Donna did not want to use the expensive companies, so she booked with a lesser known company. I thought that might have been a mistake.

The other reason was that I wanted to fly business class – I am not interested in 12-hour flights anymore, having made many of them (and longer) when I was working. Again, Donna did not want spend the money, so ultimately she decided to go by herself.

That left me alone at home with my bed buddies.

As I remember it, the trip started off okay. Donna had a nice hotel room (see pictures) with an entrance made out of ancient blocks and beautiful views.

Outside of Hotel Room
Entrance to Hotel

She also had an incredible breakfast. It seems the breakfast and lunch are the big meals in Peru, not dinner.

After arriving, she visited some markets. This was something I was not interested in, but she enjoyed it.

Women Vendors in the Market

She also bought a tapestry and a hat.


I believe she then took a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. The train ride is a scenic 3.5-hour trip each way along tracks that run right along the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley, with dramatic canyon walls on either side. So far, so good, right?

View from Train

This is when her problems began. The tour company she contracted with did not make her hotel reservation. As you might imagine, she was really pissed off. The wound up staying in what she euphemistically called a “dump.” As you can tell from the pictures below, the ceiling would have leaked if it rained, and there was a drain next to the toilet in case it overflowed.

Leaky Ceiling
Drain by Toilet

The next day, though, was better. This is when she actually go to go to Machu Pichu. So, before pictures, a little bit about Machu Picchu from Wikipedia. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas”, it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.

Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of how they originally appeared. If you look at the picture below, you can see that the roof lines are quite similar to roof lines you see today.

While she was there, she also climbed Huayna Picchu, a mountain that the Incas built a trail up the side and built temples and terraces on its top. The peak of Huayna Picchu is 2,693 meters (8,835 ft) above sea level, or about 260 meters (850 ft) higher than Machu Picchu. Donna said that the guide was huffing and puffing, while she had little trouble climbing up.

According to local guides, the top of the mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. Every morning before sunrise, the high priest with a small group would walk to Machu Picchu to signal the coming of the new day. The Temple of the Moon, one of the three major temples in the Machu Picchu area, is nestled on the side of the mountain and is situated at an elevation lower than Machu Picchu. Adjacent to the Temple of the Moon is the Great Cavern, another sacred temple with fine masonry. The other major local temples in Machu Picchu are the Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows, Principal Temple, “Unfinished Temple”, and the Temple of the Sun, also called the Torreon.

When she returned to Lima she booked her own trips, one of which was to The Museo Larco a privately owned museum of pre-Columbian art, located in the Pueblo Libre District of Lima, Peru. The museum is housed in an 18th-century vice-royal building. It showcases chronological galleries that provide a thorough overview of 5,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. It is well known for its gallery of pre-Columbian erotic pottery.

Here are a couple of pictures from the museum. There are many, many erotic pictures, but I don’t want to have to put an “adults only” tag on this blog.

Pre-Columbian Jewelry
Pre-Columbian Erotic Carving

So, except for the hotel fiasco, the trip was okay, right? Well, not exactly. When Donna got to the airport, she discovered that her flight had been delayed 6 hours! Somehow, don’t ask me how, she managed to get transferred to a different airline and wound up arriving back in Austin hours BEFORE her original flight.

Because her birthday occurred while she was away, I made her a zucchini cake! No pictures of that.

There is one more picture I have to add, because I think it is so cute. This is a little cat that hung around her hotel.

Black Cat

We plan to go back but, because she gained so much knowledge on this trip, we will take care of everything ourselves. You can book guides once you are in Peru with no problem.