There to Here - A Love Affair with South America

There to Here - A Love Affair with South America

Picking up from where we left off ... (add link from last blog of the series) we did indeed take a left out of the Panama Canal, sailed about 700nm south, crossed the Equator and arrived in La Libertad, Ecuador. If you followed our later travels, in fact, you’ll find that we did this twice … but for now, let’s talk about getting to Ecuador the first time. Our limited visits to Venezuela and Colombia while in the Caribbean whet our appetites for more exploration of “the other America”. For sure, we had never given travel in South America much thought until I read the sailing magazine article about Ecuador. From the moment we arrived, we were hooked. What a splendid continent, rich in diverse indigenous cultures and Spanish heritage.

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hats collage  

I have a love-hate relationship with hats. On the one hand, there are some of them that look great and if I wear them as an accessory, say to a wedding, it's wonderful. On the other hand, sometimes they look goofy, but they're a necessity in order to keep the sun from burning off my scalp or my ears from freezing and falling off. They always flattened down my hair and leave me disheveled. There's no avoiding hat hair if you wear a hat.


peruvian bombin


People wear hats for different reasons. Native Peruvian women, for instance, wear bowler-type hats called bombins. The style of hat indicates their “tribe”.


taquille hats


Men on Taquile, an island in the middle of Lake Titicaca, wear woolen stocking caps which are knitted by the men themselves. Depending on the way they wear them indicates their marital status and whether or not they're flirting with someone.


ambryn in vanuatu


The hats worn by some of the native tribes of the South Pacific are pretty elaborate though I had no desire to buy or wear one.


top hat


There are formal top hats, which in my humble opinion, look ridiculous on all men. There are stovepipe hats a la Mr. Lincoln and pillbox hats a la Jackie Kennedy. Veiled hats, picture hats, fedoras, derbies, berets, tams and dingleberry hats. There are those cool ones that the U.S. Park Rangers wear and the iconic ones that are worn by the French Foreign Legion. How about the Bearskin hats worn by the Buckingham Palace guards or the Beefeater hats? If you've got to wear a hat, you might as well make a statement.




Panama hats are my favorite. They're made in Ecuador, not Panama, and we received quite a lesson in quality hat making when we visited Montecristi, Ecuador, the Panama hat making capital of the world. We tried on many and we each ended up buying one. I liked the jaunty way it sat on my head as I tilted it to the side a bit. It blows off in a good wind, however … like on a sailboat, for instance.


ball cap


I tend to wear the typical baseball cap for excursions ashore. It covers my head and stays on when it's windy, but allows my pony tail to stick out the back. It does not cover my ears, however, which can sometimes pose a problem, so I slather on the sunscreen. We wear watch caps on night watch and sometimes even ear muffs. The hat hair seems to matter less in the dark, at sea, at 0300.

Machu Picchu - Lost City of the Incas

mach pich climbing huayna picchu

Climbing Huayna Picchu

No, we're not in Peru! Since we're not traveling at the moment, however, we thought we'd entertain you once a week with some of the best places we've visited over the past 13 years. Sometime we'll highlight a whole country; sometime just a region, but it'll always be an adventure. Come on along...we love the company.

We left Cups berthed in Ecuador and trekked and bussed around Peru for six weeks with just daypacks on our backs. It's an awesome country with some distinctly different offerings. The highlight is, of course, the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu. It's hard to capture the essence of Machu Picchu in words or even photos. It's spiritual, uplifting, amazing, historic, breathtaking … lots of adjectives and none do it justice. It's on the list of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and justly so. It's that magnificent.

Here's just a sample of what we saw. Visit the website for more photos and a blow by blow description of our trip.


machu picchu - view from the guard house

View from the Guard House


View after view after view

View after view after view


Llama grazing

Llamma grazing

The city of Cuzco was considered the capital of the Inca Empire. We began our exploration there, but were put off a bit by the commercialization of the place. Everybody wanted a piece of the tourist trade.


mach pich cusco cathedral night view

Cusco Cathedral at Night


mach pich view from the train heading to aguas calientas

View from the train heading into Aguas Calientes


Selling lillies on the train route

Selling lillies on the train route

We were disappointed to learn that the wait for hiking the Inca Trail was nearly a month, but in actuality, taking the train to Aguas Calientes and then a bus to Machu Picchu worked out just fine and was much easier on the legs.


mach pich  early morning fog lifts

The early morning fog lifts


Trail up Huayna Picchu

Trail up Huayna Picchu


machu picchu - marcie and david atop Huayna Picchu

Marcie and David atop Huayna Picchu

We arrived at the site early in the morning and climbed nearby Huayna Picchu for spectacular views of Machu Picchu far below us as the morning fog lifted.


mach pich david Temple of the Moon

David at the Temple of the Moon

By the way, a good read if you're into the history of the Incas is John Hemming's The Conquest of the Incas.

Lonely Planet Peru was our guide of choice.

So, what do you think? Ready to pack your bags and head to Peru?

Days and Ways to Celebrate
A daily list of mostly obscure holidays and fun ways to celebrate them.
Dr. Seuss' Birthday
Theodore Geisel, Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. I prefer to think of him as a philosopher as well as the author and illustrator of 44 children's books. His honors included two Academy Awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award and the Pulitzer Prize. He had something to say. Read a little Dr. Seuss today and listen to what you read.