Hello there !
Today I feel like writing about PERU… a country I discovered 9 years ago.
I know, it seems long, and totally out of the blue (because I’m not Peruvian, in case you haven’t noticed). But Peru is very close to my heart ! It is a beautiful destination, rich in culture, delicious food and most importantly: beautiful people !
In 2009, I was 21 y.o. and I was going through a hard time and… well, I needed to do something ‘crazy’. Something that would make me feel reckless and somehow proud of myself !
So I left everything behind, I cut my hair very short, bought a one-way ticket and went for it ! 🙂
I probably scared my mum as well but she was supportive enough to let me go … And to see me coming back with open arms.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to do the same when you are in your twenties (leaving your job, cutting your hair and selling all your belongings is probably a bit full on… I confess…) but I can definitely say that my experience was one of the best I’ve ever had and I have NO REGRET. I also highly recommend to experience travels … either accompanied or by yourself (note that it is completely different when you travel alone !). It teaches you so much and opens your eyes … (ps: I don’t know about you but I was very naive at 21 …travelling changed me a little 😉 )
First, after a stopover in Atlanta and a total of 13 hours in a plane, I landed in Lima, the capital city. Big, crowded, polluted, hectic,… slightly overwhelming. But after some time and in good company, you can really appreciate your time there.
There I met Gino.
Gino and I became friends immediately (note that one of the aspects of travelling alone is that you meet incredible people and you never end up alone! Plus every encounter matters and you value friendship more than ever!!! which – sorry but not sorry to say – we forget in real life!).
Anyways, his family became like mine: his mother (that I was calling ‘mamita’ because she was taking care of me like a real mother <3), his brother, his cousins, nieces and nephews, etc… they were all incredibly welcoming and made me feel like home !
So I want to share with you my experience through pictures. I don’t want to be too personal (and/or boring) so I’ve been aiming at selecting the ones that really speak by themselves and most of them are landscapes because it’s very delicate to post pictures of people without prior consents…
Here is my story in images, the only remaining of that magical adventure…
Monastery of San Francisco
Park of love (night time)
In the National Museum (Museo de la Nacion)
Going out of Lima
After 3 or 4 days in Lima, I took a bus in direction to TINGO MARIA.
That was the beginning of a new adventure…
The landscape on the way to Tingo Maria … 13 hours drive going up and down (but mostly up… up to 4’000km hight)
TINGO MARIA (Huanuco Region):
Tingo Maria is known by its nickname ‘sleeping beauty’ because of its mountain shaped like a reclining woman.
Panoramic view from the ‘Mirador della bella durmiente’
Plaza de armas
It looks quiet and peaceful … But It’s also a place known for its coca plantations (and narco-traffic)…
The above pictures were taken during a strike (for or against the coca cultivations)
Tingo Maria is also known for its National Park and beautiful surroundings
I stayed 3 months in a place called Aldea Ninos de los Andes (link to their website here).
The Aldea is a village for children. The concept is to take care of kids in need, some coming from very poor families, some orphans. The team in the Aldea feed them, give them a roof, educate them and most importantly ; love them. I was given the opportunity to live there and my mission was to teach English in the school of Naranjillo (next village) so for the children of the Aldea to be able to go to school for free. (free education in return to a free teacher … a win-win!)
(These kids are all so gorgeous it’s hard not to want to share that with you. And I literally spent an entire week selecting the nicest shots because I took so many pictures of all of them … ❤ )
From there I took a shared car (‘carro compartido’ – very common way of transportation in that area) in direction to AGUAYTIA (jungle):
Very luscious nature And I even found a giant flying saucer …
Then I went visiting the city of HUANUCO (mountains)
I discovered the house of the Perricholi (La casa de la Perricholi)
And I visited the Archeological site of Kotosh:
Then I went to TRUJILLO (North West – Pacific Coast):
And I visited the Archeological site of ‘Chan Chan’ (abandoned city, ancient home of the Chimu/Pre-colombian Kingdom)
I was blown away by the size of that site, all the ruins were amazing and also… surprised by this funny dog ! Isn’t he cute ???? (#humour)
Then I returned to Lima and from there, Gino, Mamita and I went down to ICA:
We drove all day and night through the desert… it was magical!
We arrived in Ica and visited the Oasis of ‘Huacachina’ :
And we went surfboarding in the desert:
We visited the Islas Ballestas in Paracas
And we finished our trip down in NAZCA, where we saw the famous Nazca Lines;
4 months later … It was time for me to go back home (personal and family reasons sometimes call you off).
As you can see, this wasn’t the typical tour of Peru (I didn’t even see the Machu Picchu … hopefully another time…) and I had a chance to immerse in the real Peruvian life.
Of course, part of the travel is to share all the best memories and forget about the difficult times. The reality is: I got sick a few times, I felt scared and unsafe at times but most importantly; I felt alive, happier than ever, surrounded by beautiful people and I enjoyed every second of it.
Hasta luego Peru ! Gracias amigos Peruanos !