29 OCTOBER 2008 Living life to the full seems to be a personal motto for Spain's Queen Sofia. Amid preparations back home for her 70th birthday on November 2, the royal accompanied her husband King Juan Carlos on an official visit to Peru this week, and has been taking a keen interest in the ancient sites they have been exploring.
The most impressive stop-off on their tour was undoubtedly South America's largest pre-Colombian community, Chan Chan, which dates from the first-century, and Huaca de la Luna, the final resting place of warriors from the Moche civilisation.
As archaeologists guided the royal couple around the adobe ruins the cultured multi-lingual queen - she speaks five languages, including English - listened intently.
She could have been forgiven, however, if her mind occasionally turned to her upcoming birthday celebrations, which coincide with those of Leonor, one of her eight grandchildren. The daughter of her son Felipe and his wife Letizia, Leonor turns three on October 31.
Commenting on her approaching milestone the royal matriarch said: "It's one more stage. Every era has its joys and is special. The most important thing is to have your health and enjoy your family. What has always made me happy is family."