Peru

The trip in Peru ended in early December. Man, I miss it. I miss the place, the people, the experience and the culture I discovered during that part of my journey. But when I look back at it, there is so much to talk about and so many pictures to go with these stories, that it becomes almost impossible to imagine a time when I’ll forget about the richness of life while out there and the memories that go with it.

“I would rather own a little and see the world than own the world and see a little.”

Juber is a man who wears an incredible smile and always puts on his best t-shirts. He is a fun, honest and caring person who has taught me much about compassion and respect for others. From La Paz through Puno, Cuzco, Ollantaytambo, Arequipa, Colca, Nazca, Paracas, Ica and finally Lima – he showed us the beauty of his country and his people. He wasn’t just our guide in Peru but also my friend. I made a real effort to better my spanish-speaking and he was incredibly receptive by always chatting with me in castellan and teaching me more every time I wished. Thank you so much for everything you have done for us along this jourey! Hopefully you will remember us as we remember you – a wonderful person!

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One of the amazing things about this trip was that it took us only 21 days to complete this journey! We saw so much in such little time – yet there is still loads to see and appreciate about this country. We barely scratched the surface by visiting the typical tourist locations such as Puno, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Nazca and Lima; we did not venture into the dense jungles of the north or experience the supersized temples hidden away in the jungle; we couldn’t go further up the country to visit more of the glorious valleys and mountains of the Andean range. But I digress … that will all have to wait until next time! I am forever grateful that I’ve been able to visit these places and what they had to offer. Thanks to Juber, we were able to experience some of the best adventures in the country with the least worry possible.

“We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.”

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Arriving in La Paz, Bolivia, with this view was amazing … until a few hours later when the altitude sickness really kicked in and made me feel like I was dying. I was honestly not prepared for what hit me that night and the overwhelming pain for the next few days.

Now, in all honesty, I was pretty ill for about one week between La Paz and Cuzco. I was suffering from altitude sickness and a rather nasty larynx infection. The combination of both made me feel like I was dying – until I decided a doctor in Puno might actually be able to get me out of this mess. Juber took extremely good care of me by helping me contact the local hospital and coming to see me while I was being treated there. Anyway, I got over it pretty quickly once the antibiotics were administered and had been given enough oxygen to think clearly again. Unfortunately, I have no pictures from that first week … so the next two weeks of the trip will have to be enough to make you want to travel here one day – and I’m sure at least some of these will be enticing enough for you to book some tickets!

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

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Inca King Atahualpa, located in the centre of Cusco. This city used to be the religious and administrative capital of the Inca Empire
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The central plaza of Cusco (left side)

“The life you have led doesn’t have to be the only life you have.” – Anna Quindlen

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“Oh, my darling, it’s true. Beautiful things have dents and scratches too”
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The people you meet when you travel are some of the ones you cherish the most because you have no other choice than to accept each other in that one place and time. That moment will never come again, and that makes all the difference.
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“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens”
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“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles” – Tim Cahill
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Our first glimpse of Inca remnants before the Machu Picchu hike
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Juber, the one and only!

Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.” – Wendell Berry

After this small town, we set off for the Inca Trail (some of our group completed the Lares Trek instead and met up with us at Machu Picchu). If you want to see all the pictures from our hike, check out my dedicated article here. Nevertheless, here are my favourite pictures from that page!

“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need to change your life or you’re the one that’ll change theirs.”

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“Remember why you started”

The pictures above are from Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city. On our first day, a few of us decided to do an organised tour of the city for 4 hours. Big mistake. The bus tour was awful, and I’m dead serious when I say it was not only incredibly boring but also very tiresome. We stopped to see five sites in 4 hours and they were all a waste of time (except the Alpaca stop, that was funny). Anyway, enough ranting. I’m sure the city itself has plenty to offer, but we weren’t served that joy on our stay while we were there – it will have to wait until next time.

“Sometimes, what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.”

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“Appreciate good people. They are hard to come by.” Thank you my friend for helping me have an amazing time in Peru!

“There are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and live just a little bit better.”

These shots were taken in Colca Canyon. We were there to see the famous Condors of the Andean range. We stayed up on the ridges for some hours without really seeing anything, but the view was good enough for me! I love mountains and they definitely delivered an awe-inspiring feeling. Then, about halfway through, one condor flew up above us – it was so sudden I had to scramble for my camera and only got some faint pictures, nothing good compared to what I experienced in Patagonia.
What made this day a little less enjoyable was the constant (and I really mean constant) reminder from our day guide (not Juber): “we might see condor today. we might not see condor today”. It’s fair to say the feeling of exasperation was felt all across our group and it manifested itself by means of disapproving facial expressions – none of which I was fast enough to capture on camera …

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I swear if I could add emojis to this text, the laughing/crying one would be my top choice to caption this picture!

“In a society that profits from self-doubt, liking yourself is an act of rebellion.”

Arequipa by night on the 1st of December was pretty fun with our little group! We got to experience the joys of Christmas in Peru with the song ‘Feliz Navidad’ on repeat for most of our time in the city … nonetheless, the festive aura was around and we made the best of it!

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. Isn’t that sad?”

I attached my GoPro on the wing of the airplane to see the Nazca lines … well, as you can see, my camera didn’t quite capture the moment as I had wished – we can’t see anything from this angle. From inside the plane however, we managed to see approximately 11 different figures that had been carved in the desert some 2000 years ago. The crazy part is that these drawings aren’t visible where you’re on the ground – only once you’re in the air do they represent something …

These 10 pictures were taken by my friend Claire Dunn while I was busy operating the GoPro that was attached to the wing of our Cessna! Despite not being able to see much in the following video(s), we had a pretty good view and a wonderful experience up in the air. Arguably, some members of our group weren’t quite as well suited in the air as Claire and me, but they did their best to enjoy it while they could!

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“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”

Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury

The burial grounds of the Nazca people. This place extends hundreds of square metres and most of it is a grim sighting … These mummies are placed in the foetal position and left with their belongings for the afterlife, though nearly all of those were pillaged when grave robbers discovered these tombs sometime in the 20th century. This place gives me the creeps – and it’s in a very windy, dry and never-ending desert … Not the most glorious of places!

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

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“Because when you stop and look around … this life is pretty amazing”

These are the ruins of Cahuachi, near the city of Ica. This remnants of this ancient civilisation are still being uncovered, so we don’t really know much about it – except that it’s in the middle of a desert with nothing but sand and rock around it. The site itself is very impressive, even when so little of it has been uncovered by research teams. It was a bit out-of-the-way, but most special things are …

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

The sandboarding in Ica was definitely worth the money! We were literally in an oasis in the middle of a desert – our time in the dunes was fantastic, but it was followed by a glorious lunch and swim in the restaurant’s swimming pool. A cold beer and good company while having a swim is the best you can ask for in this scorching weather.

Here’s a little video to get a grasp of what we did on the dunes!

“Sometimes, you need to step outside, get some fresh air to remind yourself who you are and who you want to be.”

Welcome to iPhone photography when on the move. I’m kind of disappointed the images are so grainy, but it’s better than nothing. Lost my camera a few days before and had to resort living with my GoPro and my iPhone to capture my travels – it isn’t until I arrived in Los Angeles, CA, that I could once again use a camera for stills.

“Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to enjoy your life.”

There are some people you simply cannot forget because they played such a huge part in the enjoyment of your lifetime adventures. This group is without a doubt a huge blast and am so thankful to have been matched with them! Although a lot of them had been travelling together since Rio de Janeiro, passing through Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, they spent as much time in Peru than all those other countries combined – and I was lucky enough to be with them for that last leg. There is nothing I can say or do to thank them enough for making this trip exceptional. I think some of these pictures display the wonderful ways of our group but they will never encompass the reality of our awesomeness together. They are outgoing, fun and compassionate; everybody bonded quickly and formed one big group rather shy away and begin smaller ones which made the entire experience all the more special!

To all of you who made this such a memorable journey: Claire, Sheila, Natalie, Rachael, Hayley, Francesca, Laura, Hannah, Kat, Grace, Britt, Antony, Daniel and of course Juber (with special mentions for Chrustin …)!
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I’m going to miss you all so much as I continue on with my journey!

“You get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again.”

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All the best,

From one lost traveler on a

Journey in a wonderful world.

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