Monday, April 27, 2015

Inca Empire Cruise - Final Thoughts

The main attraction of this cruise for Val and I was the chance to see Machu Picchu, but it turned out to be a lot more than that.  Machu Picchu was certainly the highlight, but we found Central and South America to be fascinating places to visit.  Val and I both realized how little we knew about Latin America and our cruise really piqued our interest.  Most of the countries we visited, although fairly peaceful now, have had a turbulent political history, and learning about the history and culture of those countries really added some depth to the cruise we didn’t really expect.  We also learned a lot about the Inca, Aztec and Mayan civilizations and their demise at the hands of the Spanish Conquistadors, also extremely interesting.  We would take this cruise again as having limited time in most of the ports left us wanting to know more and see more of the places we visited.

The highly anticipated centerpiece of the cruise was the visit to Machu Picchu and it didn’t disappoint.  We both read about the Incas and the Spanish conquest before we got to Peru so to see some of the actual places we read about was really exciting.  Machu Picchu itself was something I think both of us will always remember and was truly awe inspiring.  I don’t know whether I will ever make it back, but I am glad at least to have seen it once.

Another aspect of the trip was the fact that most of the countries we visited are third world countries and extremely poor.  Although we see it on TV and read about it in the newspapers, it's another thing to experience it first hand.  These countries have such a rich cultural history and are full of wonderful people so it's hard to see conditions not as good as they should be.  It would never keep us from going back again, you just have to go with an open mind and understand the circumstances.

I enjoyed all of the ports we visited, but a few of the other highlights of the trip for me were visiting Antigua in Guatemala, the Embera Indians in Panama, and Ecuador.  We were lucky to have had calm seas and very good weather for the trip.  The heat and humidity were difficult and wearing, but it’s what you have to deal with when you visit the tropics.  All in all, it was a great trip and exceeded our expectations.

What’s Next

We don’t have anything planned for the immediate future as we have some catching up to do around the house after being gone so long, and with the exception of last summer, we usually don’t like to travel during the summer months.  We do have our annual Geezer Gathering planned for mid-September and this year we have rented a house on a ranch near Sheridan, Wyoming.  Val and I are planning to extend that trip by going on into Montana and the Dakotas before heading back to Oregon where we have booked a room at the Crater Lake Lodge.  So maybe this year it will be a just a couple of long trips and not much else...we’ll see, you never know!  That’s it for now, see you on down the road.

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