Inca Gold: Illapa

As a mostly agriculture-based society, the Inca worshipped what was important to them. They worshipped Inti the Sun-God who provided sunlight and enlightenment. Mama Quilla the Moon-god who provided the seasons, protection from the dark, and was a protector of women. The third God would be the essential piece missing for an agricultural society to thrive and that God’s name was Illapa, Master of Clouds Rain and Hail.

The Inca believed that when it rained it was because a jug of water had been spilled from a broken water jug high in the sky. This water jug contained water from the Milk Way Galaxy.

Works cited:

https://religionoftheinca.weebly.com/inca-gods.html

Inca Gold: Viracocha

Viracocha was considered to be the father of all other Inca gods. He created the earth, heavens, sun, moon, and all things living. After Viracocha finished his work he traveled the world teaching humanity and introducing civilized arts. It was believed that after Viracocha was finished creating the world that he traveled far and wide teaching and influencing his creations. His next step would be to move west across the Pacific. Never to be seen again but promising to return. In his absence, lesser gods were assigned to the duty of managing the human race.

Inca lore surrounding Viracocha states that humans were his second attempt at creating life. He originally created a race of giants , made of stone , in the age of darkness. The ogre race was found to be unruly and Viracocha found it suitable to punish them with a great flood. The giants that survived were eventually returned to their natural stone form. Some of these stone giants can still be seen today at sites such as Tiahuanaco and Pukara.

For his second attempt Viracocha tried using clay. He also gifted them clothes, language , agriculutre, and arts. It was during this time he created the Sun , moon , and stars. It’s believed that all of these creations were created from the islands in Lake Titicaca. Viracocha was satisfied and felt he could he continue this path around the world. It is believed he ended in Manta (near Ecuador), then Viracocha walked across the waters of the Pacific heading west. He promised to return one day to the Inca.

Works cited:

https://www.ancient.eu/Viracocha/

Inca Gold: Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo

Inti was concerned for the Tiawanako people. Living along the shores of Lake Titicaca, the Tiawanako people were mostly fishermen. Inti felt his people deserved more.

The son and daughter of Inti and Mama Quilla; Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo were created to civilize the Inca people and guide them to enlightenment. Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo were told by their parents to search for fertile land upon which their empire would be built. Inti gifted Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo a golden stick. Inti instructed them that the stick would sink if the wielder was standing in the promised land. The promised land they found was a region near Lake Titicaca.

The shores of Lake Titicaca were inhabited by the Tiawanako people. Because of the gold stick, the fancy clothes, and jewelry Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo wore they were perceived as Gods by the Tiawanako people. Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo taught the men how to create a society and worship the Sun God. Mama Ocllo taught the women domestic tasks such as textile and provisioning.

Works cited:

https://www.machupicchu.org/the_legend_of_manco_capac_and_mama_ocllo.htm

Inca Gold: Mama Quilla

Mama Quilla or Mother Moon governed the festival calendar of the Inca. She represented the seasonal cycles, health, prosperity, divination, and time. Mama Quilla was insightful to the Inca. She could warn of impending danger through the means of eclipses and provide guidance through divination. She was the sister and wife of Inti, daughter of Viracocha and mother of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo ( the founders of the Inca empire and culture). She was widely viewed as a defender of women and was the Goddess of marriage and the menstrual cycle.

Divination was common in Inca society. While the Sun is shining, sit beneath the shade of a tree and watch closely as the Sun’s light shines through the branches and leaves. While observing the shadows cast and the patterns it would make one should keep a question in their mind. Mama Quilla’s response would be written in the patterns and changes of light in the shadows. Another common divination ritual was for unfavorable weather. In the event of unfavorable weather, place any yellow-colored herbs on a fire source and watch what unfolds. Popping or flying indicates lots of energy and positive response. Smouldering indicated anger and an iffy response. Finally, if the flames died out completely then this was understood as a definite negative and one should not proceed.

Lore suggests that Mama Quilla cried tears of pure silver and that Lunar eclipses were caused when Mama Quilla was under attack by an animal ( usually a supernatural jaguar, mountain lion, or serpent ). The Incas feared lunar eclipses as they believed that during the eclipse if Mama Quilla was not protected by the Inca and the attack was successful then the entire world would be left in total darkness. The method of defending Mama Quilla was to make as much noise as possible. This would frighten the attacker and ultimately save the entire world. This tradition continued even after the Inca were converted to Catholicism by the Conquistadors. Unfortunately for the Inca, the Spanish could predict when eclipses would take place; thus using it to their advantage against the Inca.

To be continued..

Works cited:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Mama-Quilla

Inca Gold: Inti

Inti God of The Sun and Patron of Empire and Conquest was all-powerful. Inti was married to the goddess of the moon Quilla ( or Mama Quilla ). The original leader and founder of the Inca civilization, Manco Capac and his wife Mama Ocllo were believed to be guided by Inti or may have even been the son and daughter of Inti and Mama Quilla. This connection to humans allowed Inca rulers to claim divinity and act as translators between the Gods and the Inca people.

It wasn’t until the Wiraqocha Inca (1425 CE) or the 9th Inca ruler Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui (1438-1471 CE) that the cult of Inti really became established and helped promote Inti to an all-powerful ruler. Inti was not the divine ruler though. This burden weighed on Viracocha. Viracocha was higher in status than all the other Gods and lived on a private island in Lake Titicaca. Viracocha usually remained in the background regarding worldly affairs and allowed the other gods to govern the Incas. With the expansion of the Inca empire and a fixation on Inti and sun worship; It was not long until every city in the Inca empire contained a shrine to Inti. Sun worship was quickly integrated into the religions of the conquered peoples and used as imperial propaganda that the Inca were the people with a divine right to rule.

The greatest of these temples dedicated to Inti was the Coricancha Temple or “House of The Sun”. The temple was located in the sacred district of the capital of Cusco. It was at the Coricancha that the most senior High Priest of The Sun (Villac Umu) presided over rites in honour of Inti. The High Priest of the Sun was exclusively assisted by young virgin priestesses. Both female and male priests were allowed to carry out sun ceremonies but only virgin priestesses were allowed to assist The High Priest of The Sun.

Inti was usually represented through art. A gold statue, a sun disk, or a golden mask. Gold ( or the sweat of the sun as sun worshipers believed ) was his gift and he should be honored through it. The Temple of The Sun interior was exactly that. It’s walls lined with a thick gold plate ( 700 half-meter panels of beaten gold whilst outside the temple was a life-size scene of a field of corn with llamas and shepherds all made from gold and silver. Inside the shrine held the most sacred statue of Inti. The statue was of Inti but as a small seated boy, called Punchao (Day or Midday Sun). From head to shoulders sun rays protruded from him. His head wrapped in a royal headband and also had snakes and lions coming out of his body. The stomach of the statue was hollow and used to contain the vital organs of previous Inca rulers. Every day this statue would be moved outside and into the golden field so that Inti could absorb the sun’s rays.

To be continued..

Works Cited:

https://www.ancient.eu/Inti/

https://www.ancient.eu/Inca_Civilization/

Inca Gold: A Brief History

It’s important to understand that the Andreans (Aboriginal inhabitants of the area of the Central Andes in South America) didn’t have a written language, they hadn’t developed the wheel, money, buying and selling, or even the concept of an economy. Imagine a world with no economy and a strong religious presence but with an excess of gold.

The Inca civilization arose from the Peruvian highlands sometime in the early 13th century. The Inca created one of the largest and cohesive empires the world has ever known in under a century. Every aspect of Inca culture was encompassed by religion. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in the city of Cusco. Success or failure in any form was considered to be directly influenced by their gods. For the Inca, Gold was a gift from the Inti and it should be used to honor him along with the other Inca gods. If Inti was not honored there could be severe consequences.

Inti was the God of The Sun and The Patron of Empire and Conquest. Inti was revered and held in prestige by his devoted. He gave and he took away as he saw fit. Every city had temples devoted to Inti. The most significant temple of the Inca empire was Coricancha in Cusco city. Coricancha means “house of gold” in Quechua ( Inca official language). Its walls were covered in thick gold layers. Innumerable amounts of gold coins, jewelry, and religious artifacts dedicated to Inti were inside. Where’s all the gold now? What happened to it? What happened to the people who supposedly recovered it? We’ll explore these topics in more in the following weeks!

To be continued..

Sources Cited:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/archaeology-and-history/archaeology/lost-inca-gold/

https://nga.gov.au/exhibition/incas/default.cfm?IRN=227632&BioArtistIRN=91406&MnuID=SRCH&ViewID=2

We Have Good News If You Love Big V8 Engines

One American automaker just put big money into building them.

General Motors has been making big moves over the past several months, announcing plant closures and the discontinuation of six models. Couple this announcement with the company’s renewed focus on building seven million electric cars by 2030 and plans to morph Cadillac into an all-electric brand and you wouldn’t be mistaken for believing there isn’t much room for big V8 engines in the future.

However, fans of big, pushrod V8 engines will be delighted to hear that GM has just invested big bucks in developing its 6.2-liter V8.

GM’s 6.2-liter V8 with Direct Fuel Management made it on Ward’s Top 10 Engines list for 2019 thanks to its advanced cylinder deactivation technology. DFM can seamlessly shut down cylinders in the engine with up to 17 different combinations to improve performance and fuel economy. Even though many automakers are focusing on downsized engines and EV powertrains, there may still be a future for the old school V8.

Source: CarBuzz.com ; JARED ROSENHOLTZ

Lickety-Split London Layover: The Three Hour Tour

Do you have the world’s shortest layover in London- but cling to big travel dreams?

Have you ever dreamed of being transported to another country for even just a few hours? How amazing would it be to wake up to breakfast in Paris or close the day with a nightcap in Rio?  I love long trips, but there’s also an intoxicating allure to the whirlwind visit, getting just a tantalizing taste of what a city has to offer. And lately, I’ve been thinking about the flavors of London. Specifically an ultra-short London layover.

I have a good friend who we’ll refer to as Graeme (because that is in fact his name!) who recently did just that. He had the briefest of layovers in London while on route to another European city. A layover so short that we even pondered if it was worth his time to leave the airport at all! In general, I rarely recommend layovers where you have less than 4 hours of leisure time but such sensible practicalities are lost on a wild soul like Graeme, who was determined to see London for the very first time.

And now Graeme isn’t the only traveler I know who’s embracing a lickety-split layover in London – my friend Valerie is considering it too! So if Graeme and Val sounds just like you and you have a devil-may-care approach to layovers – or if you simply have extremely limited free time to see the city on a business trip – here’s what you can do in London when you have just three hours, plus a few options to extend your day if you have five to six hours.

Is it really a good idea to try to see London on a super short layover? Can anyone see London in just three hours? Can you even see anything at all? YES! There are many overrated tourist sights in the world but the classics of London aren’t among them. And, happily, they are all within easy walking distance of one another, allowing you to see a lot in a short amount of time. I’ve never heard of anyone who hasn’t been thrilled with their first visit to London, no matter how short the layover is. We can make this work – here’s how.

(This itinerary assumes you’ll be traveling to and from London Heathrow airport. We’re talking 3 or more hours of leisure time, not just 3 hours between flights. You have to take into account your time getting to and from the airport, clearing customs, checking back in, and so on. Before diving into any layover make sure you have your logistical ducks in a row. Research your transportation options, double check your flight times, and come up with a solid plan for your luggage.

Take the subway (the “Tube”) from Heathrow airport directly to Green Park station.  If you’re lucky and the timing works out, you might just be able to see the Changing of the Guard at nearby Buckingham Palace. The music begins at 11:15 and the event itself at 11:30.

If you’re going to miss it, take heart. This is still a great place to start a quick London layover tour. You’ll get a much better look at the palace when the Changing of the Guard is not taking place.  Take some time to look around and take photos of the palace and the surrounding area.

(Got tons of time? Grab a hotel. One of our favourite places to stay is the The Rubens At The Palace, just steps from Buckingham Palace. It is very posh, very English, and the perfect place to splurge on a proper high tea or a full English breakfast. We loved staying here. If your budget is very limited, not all that far away is an “EasyHotel”, run by the same folks as the EasyJet discount airlines.

Walk to Trafalgar Square via Whitehall and Downing Street.

From Westminster and Big Ben, walk up Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square. On your left, you’ll see Downing Street (home to the British Prime Minister) and the Household Calvary Museum, as well as the grounds for the Horse Guard Parade and the Changing of the Queen’s Life Guard.

In short, the Horse Guard Parade and the Changing of the Queen’s Life Guard have all the spectacular pageantry of Buckingham Palace’s Changing of the Guard, but with a fraction of the crowds. So take heart if you missed the fanfare at Buckingham Place! You can see this activity weekdays at 11:00, Sundays at 10:00 (learn more here).(A shout out to my battered copy of Lonely Planet London for this smart tip).

(Got lots of time – and politics isn’t your thing? Take this alternative route instead. Walk along the River Thames on Victoria Embankment and take a glimpse at the river’s traffic and the Whitehall Gardens. Turn left at the Embankment tube station, walk through the station’s foyer and out the other side, and take Villiers Street up to Charing Cross Station (peeking into the Victoria Embankment Gardens as you do) and emerge at Trafalgar Square – our next London Layover stop.)

Source: TurnipSeedTravel.com

Why a Funky Old Gas Station in Napa Valley Is Now a Mecca for Millennial Wine Drinkers

Tank Garage challenges tradition and draws younger oenophiles

Some entrepreneurs plan out their next business venture in their heads and on their laptops. James Harder spotted his from behind the wheel of his car.

It was 2012, and Harder was driving Foothill Boulevard, a meandering ribbon of asphalt that threads the tiny Napa Valley town of Calistoga, Calif. With a population of 5,311, Calistoga has little in the way of major industry, except of course for wine.

Chateau Montelena, the Kenefick Ranch Winery, Castello di Amorosa—these and scores of other vineyards nestle in the rolling countryside surrounding the town. Wine was the reason Harder was there, too. He and business partner Jim Regusci, scion of the highly respected Regusci Winery, had already collaborated on a number of successful ventures including the T-Vine Winery. But Harder was looking for a new project, a departure from what he’d already done.

That’s when he spotted the abandoned gas station.

Harder had resolved to take that independent blending style to California, to be a renegade himself. He’d spent his career in the regimented world of traditional winemaking where a cabernet was a cabernet and a merlot was a merlot.

“It was done to death,” he said. By contrast, blending was “an opportunity to remove the handcuffs of conformity.”

So, Harder bought the garage, turned it into a bohemian tasting room and made it the centerpiece of his new brand. Tank Garage Winery, which opened for business in May of 2014, is a small operation that sells one-off wines, some online but mostly inside the old filling station (more on that later). It is not a brand that’s likely to threaten the preeminence of a Colgin Cellars or the dominance of an E. & J. Gallo. But in its colorful nonconformity and manifest coolness, Tank Garage nevertheless represents a significant development in the highly stratified business of wine, one Americans support to the tune of $32 billion annually. It suggests that artfully blended wines can find a place between the established segments of premium labels and mass-market jugs. And perhaps more significantly, Tank Garage also exemplifies how millennial drinkers and their tastes are changing the hidebound world of wine.

The brand is only three years old, but it’s gotten plenty of attention both locally and nationally.

“Tank Garage speaks volumes to the new wave of the region’s wine tasting culture,” Sonoma alternative weekly the North Bay Bohemian reported.

Source: adweek.comRobert Klara

Top Recommended Sunday Brunch Spots

Listed in Alphabetical Order

Links to the brunch menus and pages are found by clicking the restaurant’s name below.

The omelet station during Sunday brunch at Robard’s in The Woodlands. Photo by Phaedra Cook.

So you’re thinking about Mimosas and delicious food this Sunday? What are the top recommended options according to Woodlands Area Foodies (WAF)? We’ll list them here in alphabetical order for you. Know these spots and recommend any must-have items? Let us know in the comments below.

April Sound Country Club

Your search for great restaurants ends right here at your own Club. At April Sound, we strive to provide you with an extraordinary Club experience each and every day – this includes our phenomenal array of daily dining options. Whether in the mood for formal or informal fine dining, your options for world-class cuisine at April Sound are virtually endless. 

Black Walnut Cafe (Conroe)

With an inventive, extensive menu and a put-you-at-ease atmosphere, Black Walnut Cafe emerged in 2002 as a contemporary destination for hungry Houstonians, and we’ve been savoring the fun ever since.

Encouraged by our fellow Black Wal-“nuts”, we have since expanded across Texas (with locations in Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin) and into Georgia with our newest restaurants in Atlanta. Since our creation we’ve had the continued desire to create a space where casual comfort welcomes a cultivated palate — your go-to place for a quick burger, a leisurely brunch, or simply just because.

From handcrafted sandwiches and freshly tossed salads to chilled local craft brews and swirly rows of gelato, you have at your fingertips an option for every appetite and any occasion — and a favorable chance that during your next visit, you’ll happen upon something entirely new.

We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week, happy hour twice daily with a wide selection of beer and wine, and To-Go and Catering service when you’re on the run or in a hurry.

Browse our menus, see what we’re up to in the community, and always feel free to let us know how we’re doing.

After all, this is your place.

Churrascos
Image Credit @BrunchNoir, Twitter

Established in 1988, Churrascos offers the bold flavors of the South American Parilla with all its fire and passion. From appetizers like empanadas and ceviches to our signature chimichurri marinated center-cut tenderloin and famous Tres Leches. Paired with distinct wines, Churrascos warmly transports you to an orchestra of flavor celebrating the grill, fresh ingredients, and your guests.

Cru Wine Bar

Yes, you can brunch at lots of places. And yes, many of them will serve you a mimo-so-so-sa-like beverage, made with (gasp) sparkling wine from a box. But at CRÚ, we’ve elevated brunch to the casually elegant dining experience you imagine it to be (and wish for) after a weekend of hardy partying. Oh, and our Mimosas are made from charming prosecco and grove stand orange juice. Cheers!

Crush Wine Lounge

All You Can Eat Sunday Brunch Buffet is available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Crush is located at 20 Waterway Avenue Suite 200 in The Woodlands, Texas on the beautiful Woodlands Waterway.

We offer hundreds of treasures and one-of-a-kind wines personally selected by our wine specialists:

Boutique wines, limited production, up-and-comers, and other wines that you just will not find elsewhere. All are reasonably priced.  A vast selection of wines by the glass, combined with the best view in The Woodlands create a unique lounge experience second to none.

We also have an extensive Spirits, Beer, and Cigar menu, bringing an eclectic mix of the classics along side various craft selections.

We believe the service we provide is just as important as the drink in your glass.  Let our staff introduce you to new beer, spirits and wine,.   We welcome you to the premier wine destination in The Woodlands.


Fielding’s Local

At Fielding’s local kitchen + bar, fresh is everything. We source our products from 44 Farms, Houston Dairymaids, Mill King Family Creamery, small wineries and craft brewers everywhere. We hand cut our own steaks, we dry-age our own beef, we make our own pasta and we bake all our breads and pastries daily.

Our restaurant was built using as many repurposed and energy efficient materials as possible. The main wood is reclaimed Douglas fir, while part of the bar is made of a reclaimed white washed wood and all booths and bar stools are recycled leather. The majority of lights are LEDs, the heating and air conditioning system is environmentally friendly and the grill itself only uses wood as it energy source. We even have a filtering water system for cooking and drinking water.

The Goose’s Acre Bistro and Irish Pub

While back in Ireland visiting relations, Brian Young and Colm O’Neill proposed purchasing the contents of the pub, to include both bars, from the previous owner who was distraught over the pending loss of the pub’s history and heritage. Although it meant shipping the pub across the Atlantic Ocean, the previous owner was ecstatic that The Goose’s Acre Irish Pub would continue its traditions of bygone times.

Brian Young and Colm O’Neill made the decision to bring this authentic pub to The Woodlands to share the romance and history of years past. We welcome you to pull up a chair and enjoy the experience of The Woodlands Only Authentic European Pub.

Robard’s Steakhouse

“Do the impossible, because almost everyone has told me my ideas are merely fantasies.” – Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes constantly challenged what he could be and devoted himself to every endeavor with a zeal that excluded all else. Much like he redefined what it is to be a businessman, Robard’s is redefining the classic American steakhouse. An evening at Robard’s is an experience that unleashes the adventurous spirit in all of us – whether through a wonderful meal, a social hour spent on our inviting patio, or an evening relaxing by the firepit. Our commitment to pushing the boundaries of what a steakhouse can be makes for unforgettable dining moments that embrace the extraordinary.

Walden Yacht Club

Walden Yacht Club is open to the public, its the best kept secret in Montgomery Texas. If you’re in the mood for a fine dining restaurant overlooking Lake Conroe, with great food such as seafood, steaks, Walden Yacht Club is what you need. Reservations are recommended and children are always welcome. A special menu for children under age 10 is available. “Take-out” from the Dining Room is another service offered by the Walden as well a great family night.

Walden on Lake Conroe is the hub of the Walden social activity. The 17,000 square-foot building contains the spectacular Lakeview Dining Room with a great view of Lake Conroe, as well as smaller rooms for meetings and private parties and weddings. Walden on Lake Conroe boasts an award-winning executive chef, a superb service staff and a full-time banquet event coordinator. Providing full-service, Walden on Lake Conroe also offers catering service for all types of events.