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In Lima, posing with police

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Kate Rice and her two daughters, ages 17 and 10, are on an Adventures by Disney trip to Peru and Machu Picchu. She writes from Lima:  

We started in the capitol city, where we admired the pageantry of the changing of the guard in front of the government palace. We also admired the bright colonial colors of buildings that the Spaniards and subsequent generations used to offset the fact that for much of the year Lima's skies, in conquistador Francisco Pizarro's words, are grey "like a donkey's belly." Moorish touches, such as ornate balconies, abound.

Kate-RiotPoliceIt's a friendly and gracious city, as illustrated by the fact that police in riot gear invite visitors to pose with them!

Traffic is horrendous (8.5 million people, no subway because Lima is in an earthquake zone), but, fortunately, cabs are pretty cheap.

Then it was off to Cusco, an hour's flight over the Andes. This city of 500,000 is gateway not just to Machu Picchu but to Lake Titicaca and the Amazon.

Outside Cusco, we visited a traditional weaving center -- textile prowess could be more important to a family's economic success than land or animals. And each piece is highly personalized, reflecting the events of the weaver's life at the moment.

The scenery is stupendous. We stopped for a photo op, and my daughters posed with a new friend from our Adventures by Disney group; at dinner that night, another member of our tour believes that all three of them are sisters.

Wall-to-wall information

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Photo courtesy of ShutterStock.com; Cardiff Castle WallsSometimes information sources go out of their way to get information for a journalist, as I was reminded this summer.

I was writing a story about Cardiff, the Welsh capital, and I wanted to convey to readers how extensive the Cardiff Castle grounds are.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any source, reliable or unreliable, that said anything about the length of the walls that surround the castle area or the size of the grounds themselves.

I sent an e-mail to Ed Townsend, the head of public relations for Cardiff & Co, the city's marketing agency. He couldn't find any source with the information either.

So, he went to the castle and measured the walls himself. It is a rough measure, he assured me, but at least now I have a usable number for my story.

The size? Approximately a quarter of a mile of battlement walls surround three sides of the castle grounds, and the fourth wall is accounted for by the exterior walls of the castle's staterooms. The enclosed area and exterior moat together cover about five acres.

When I told Ed I hoped it was a sunny day when he set out to do his measurements, he said it was indeed a beautiful sunny day, adding, "Not a problem, though. The castle does not shrink in the heat -- or stretch in the wet. We have washed it carefully over the years and always left it in the open air to dry!"

Then, enjoying his prowess with the calculator, Ed signed his message:
"Best wishes,
"E(ucli)d"

 -- Nadine Godwin 

 Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com. 

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