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Travelers in Peru

  • Saskia Bräunlich
    Letzter Tag in Barranco, Lima 7m
    Joined September 2016
  • Lisa Wil
    Pendant zum Urlaub aufm Bau... 20h
    Traveled in 3 countries
  • Jutta
    Cusco 1d
    Traveled in 2 countries
  • Kim Vollebregt
    onderweg naar Aguas Calientes 1d

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  • So after checking in to the new hostel which is lovely, one of those square buildings with nothing in the middle, just a balcony decorated with flowers all the way around outside the rooms, we decided to have another snooze and then take advantage of the best shower I have had in ages. Super powerful and really hot 😄
    We headed into town for lunch and went to a place called crepissimo, they had so many different types of sweet and savoury crepes! Rob went Nutella and banana and I had mango,lemon and sugar. Delicious. Although there was a mix up with my order and after watching Rob eat all of his I eventually Google translated some Spanish for "where is my food please" and finally got to eat mine.

    In the afternoon we headed to the Sanctuario Andino Museum (Museo Santuarios Andinos)which told the story of a young girl whose frozen body was found at the peak of one of the Andean volcanoes in almost perfect condition, a sacrifice by the Inca's to the gods. We saw artefacts and dress from burial sites and eventually got to see Juanita (the young girl) in her frozen state. It was amazing, she still has skin and hair and muscles and organs. All in perfect condition where she was wrapped up. Very eerie but so very interesting.

    In the evening we wandered the shops, there are no loud music laws here apparently and it shows when you see the electronic shops with speakers the size of cupboards for sale everywhere. They sound like night clubs! We headed down a high street we hadn't seen before and past many lovely and cosy looking restaurants. If we had more time here it would be amazing to try out more of them. We stopped at an alpaca clothing shop too and bought a souvenir throw which is lovely and soft. Still want something brightly coloured though! They had lots of bright and colourful cotton throws but they're a bit too heavy to buy just now.

    Finally we headed out for dinner. We were meant to grab takeaway food as my belly was being funny and I didn't want to eat out, however it took so long to find anything we might as well have sat down somewhere. After an hour and a half of wandering and searching, including in a massive supermarket that had surprisingly little food, we decided to go back to the same place as yesterday so I could have the alpaca Rich had.
    Unfortunately the service was not so good today and we had a man serve us who I think as soon as he found out we were English, decided we were not worth any effort. He was very rude and we were left waiting ages, which is a shame as the food was good and it let it down after the previous night. Still, we were at least fed at last and we wandered back to the hostel to the sound of 'under the sea' steel drum style, playing from somewhere on repeat and extremely loud.

    Its morning now and we have awoken to fresh bites that are very ankle looks like a cankle 😣 apparently we are not immune at altitude and we regret throwing the bag of repellents away now after one burst in the bag and actually melted the bag ( the wonders of DEET).

    We have just had breakfast with another juicy mango that Rob managed not to massacre and we also caught ourselves a Charmander! (yes we are having the odd pokemon hunt within the confines of the WiFi). Apparently being close to volcanoes helps to catch the adorable fire pokemon. Just going to get packed up and ready for another day now before we meet Rich at about 17:00.
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  • On arrival in Arequipa yesterday morning we attempted to walk to our hostel. It was a lot hotter than expected being so high and the air was very very dry. The area around the station wasn't great and as we didn't want to get fobbed off we walked a little further away, and into what we hoped was town, to look at a map. We then realised just how far the centre of town was and so instead decided it required a taxi. Back to the station we went! We drove towards the centre of town in a pretty shabby taxi, but as we got closer to the center it was clear the city here was not shabby and we realised how much nicer this was than Lima. A lot cleaner and just far more peaceful, despite still being bustling. The streets are all shiny cobbles or slats and the buildings are very similar too. All very old and charming with lots archways and large wooden doors. Lots of the buildings are painted in bright colours and there are colourful flowers all over. It's very pretty and collonial.

    The views from our hostel room of the two volcanoes are amazing. They tower in the distance, one snow capped and a little flatter and the other a perfect domed volcano, Mt Misti! The whole place is dominated by their backdrop.

    After sorting ourselves out and finally handing over our laundry (we had to put in in another bag and I felt I had to apologise profusely for the smell as we did so) we quickly headed to the main plaza for some much needed breakfast at around 11:30. We found a cafe on a balcony surrounding the beautiful plaza, and looked out to the views of the Cathedral, which forms one side of the plaza, and the lovely fountain in the middle surrounded by palm trees, flags and lovely flowers. All was made more lovely when we were serenaded by locals whilst eating, traditional dress, pan pipes and all.
    We then we made our way back down to soak in the new city and explore.

    We spent quite a bit of time taking photos around the busy plaza. In particular we were hoping for a shot of the Cathedral with the volcano behind, you can see it from ground but not quite as spectacularly as if you were a little higher. We spotted a rooftop terrace bar so may have to have a look into that later.

    After lots of photos we tried to have a look inside their cathedral but unfortunately we were not dressed appropriately. It was a very hot day but shorts and t shirts are not acceptable so we may have to come back another time.
    We headed to the monastery instead which has been described as a city within a city, and they are not wrong. It is huge! There really seven streets, all adorned with very pretty, usually red, flowers and many many bedrooms and outdoor stone kitchens. It was quite interesting and it is astounding to think this was their whole life but in all honesty after some time it seemed we were just seeing a lot of the same thing, mainly bedrooms with an outdoor kitchen, all very similar. There was an interesting section about Blessed Anna de Los Angeles, a nun who spent 70 years there against her parents wishes and has since been beatified after exhumation of her body. As well as this there were very intricate paintings on a lot of the outdoor arches which were interesting and quite pretty also. This and the scale of place, alongside the great views from the roof, we're probably the highlights.

    After the monastery we headed back to the hostel to sort ourselves out and do a bit if organising. Apparently we figured out here that I don't recognise Rich from a side profile, I walked into the kitchen to boil the kettle and thought I was having a short conversation with a stranger massacring a mango. After a couple mins of silence and kettle watching (It was on a hob) I turned to see Rich eating mango, which confused me greatly and I asked if it was him the whole was and he was seriously offended lol.
    Rob and Rich then had some Hammock chill time...although they weren't really stretched far enough and so they didn't look all that comfy and instead just made their legs numb. I finally got the water to boil and had my first cup of tea in ages 😄...found some Earl Grey in Lima and finally got to have some! Whilst outside in the courtyard and typically for Rob, after he had gone inside, a hummingbird appeared in the yard and hovered so close to Richards head it made him jump. Such beautiful little things, and noisy too, they make a strange clicking/clapping sound. It soon hummed away though.

    It started to get chilly then so we went to chill in the TV room for a bit and charge our stuff up before the trip the next day. We were heading to Colca Canyon to see Condors hopefully, however I had found out only earlier that day that you would get to 4900m during the drive, and be staying at 3600m (more than 1000m more the currently) overnight. This was worrying me a bit with my lung and the stories of people getting sick on the ride didn't help.
    We sat in the room chatting to a couple of young boys from South Africa who seemed to have spent forever travelling, however by the sounds of it, in style. This was explained when their dad came in to explain their future plans, not really backpacking as most of us would imagine.
    After waiting for Rich to join us for about half an hour we went to find him and lo and behold he was in the room chatting to the three German girls who had arrived and were sharing our room. Surprise surprise.
    We eventually headed out to dinner and opted to try a couple of recommended restaurants, but both were full :( we found an Italian in the end which seemed to have a Peruvian twist and ate there. Service was great, as was the food. Rich had alpaca and it tasted really good.

    A nice walk back through the lit up plaza after dinner was nice and we headed back to sleep. Except instead I couldn't sleep and just felt very anxious about the following days altitude. After a lot of talking, reading and tossing and turning I decided I would give the tour a miss. I would rather come back and do it after acclimatising and perhaps actually do the trek instead of the bis tour. I broke the news this morning to Rich and we decided he should still go as he was looking forward to it.
    So we have packed him off for a couple of days after much mother hen behaviour from me, me and Rob are now setting off to dump our bags at a new hostel.
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  • A bit of a late post but better late than never!

    The morning of the 20th me and Rob got up early at around 5:30 to see if we could spot any hummingbirds from the Hammock room as this is when they are seen most often. We were lucky enough to spot one and it was amazing to watch it dart from tree to tree. It was however near enough impossible to photograph, although lucky for us it paused on a branch and had a little stretch of its wings, so got a pretty good shot then.

    Today we set off early on the boat at around 6:630 to do some morning birdwatching before breakfast. The early morning light on the river and the lodge was beautiful and it was really serene at this time with barely anyone else up and about.
    We set off along the river downstream and saw plenty of birds, especially hawks, sitting close up in the trees either side of the river. We saw a squirrel cuckoo, yellow headed cacaras, white earer jacamars, Greater Ani, swallow wings, black collared hawks and kingfishers.

    After another great breakfast we headed off into the jungle straight behind the lodge towards the activity of the day...the canopy zipline! 🤗

    We were with Jess and Anthony again and joined by a new couple from America and Ireland who had just arrived. One of the guides soon stopped us and pointed up high into one of the trees. There were two adorable owl monkeys!!! Just hiding away in a hole up high, just poking out their heads. We were handed binoculars for a closer look and they really did look a lot like owls. Massive eyes and a beautiful face, just staring down at us. They don't come out in the day so we were pretty lucky to see them awake, even if they were huddled in a hole.

    We saw more of the usual birds and insects for the next 20 minutes whilst chatting to the new people and discussing how amazing the jungle is, as well as just how hot it is. It was early morning and after a short walk we were sweating buckets already. You don't notice it so much after a while though, it is just a permanent state of being and the beauty of everything else wins over.

    It wasn't too long before we arrived at the ziplines ground platform and walked up the wooden steps to sit down at last and await getting harnessed in. Looking up at the platform in the canopy made your belly go a bit was high!!
    There were two options to get up, being hoisted up by the guides, or trying the hard way, using reverse gri gri's and a foot sling. Safe to say after watching our guide Andy hoist himself up there the majority of us girls immediately recognised it would be impossible. The men of course either wanted a go, or figured they had to try, being men and all of course.

    I was the first to be hoisted on up and I have to give a lot of thanks to the guides on the ground for getting me up. They must have been knackered by the time they had got all three of us up there! The view on the way up was half amazing and half terrifying. You are awfully high and just dangling there, moving up and up half a meter at a time. Getting up on to the platform my legs felt a little like jelly but I managed to climb up the ladder to the second level to await the rest of the gang.
    The American girl (can't remember her name) then had a go at hoisting herself up the hard way, however didn't get too far before opting for the hoist. At least she had a go! She was up next and then Jess, who commented on how tired the guides looked and that they seemed glad the boys were all going to opt for getting themselves up there.

    Rich was the first to have a go and he made it up in great time, Andy seemed quite impressed. He chambered up to join us and seemed exhausted, with a very achey arm and leg that he figured would hurt in the morning. Next up was Anthony, got himself to the top a little slower, but I don't think it was a contest, it was clear just how hard it was and lots of shouts for encouragement came from.the ground and the canopy. Another exhausted guy joined us in the canopy. Next up the Irish guy, again arriving exhausted and making me more and more sure I had made the right choice. Finally Rob was up, he made a really good and fast start and seemed to have the hang of the process, but he may have started too fast and hit a block.just over half way. He didn't give up though. May have taken longer and had a few extra breathers but despite the pain and exhaustion he made it to the top. After struggling to get on he had a bit of a rest on the lower deck before climbing the ladder to the rest of us. This was where Rob seemed to decide it would be a good place to have a nap and pass out. I could tell a moment before when I saw his very pale and yellow face but couldn't do much to stop it. He slid down the ladder and hit the deck, right on up in the trees. Andy broke his fall as best he could but was on the wrong side to make much difference. He couldn't at least have failed out the tree due to the guide rope. Still...was not nice to watch and was pretty scary. After some more water and another rest though he seemed well enough to join us and was quickly voted the manliest man by the men for sheer determination. Male pride for you! He is fine now Adele, just a couple of bruises!

    We all took in the view from the top and it was spectacular. Trees for miles around us alongside the sounds of the jungle. Giant insects kept buzzing by and there was a small army of large but harmless ants scurrying along one of the branches. We learnt that a team from America had set the canopy zipline up and it was pretty awesome the way they had suspended it in the trees.
    Rich and a couple of others climbed even higher up.sime rungs to the very too of our tree. I believe the view was great but every time I looked up my belly did a flip and I thought I best not to go up. As for Rob, we decided giving it a miss might just be for the best, also I think his muscles had seized to work properly now 😄


    Well this bit was obviously awesome!!!!! Flying through the trees so high in the air. Rob was one.of the last across and certainly looked like one who enjoyed it most with a huge grin and his arms and legs stretched out. I think he was OK now!

    The second platform was far more wobbly in that it shook when people joined from other platform. So that was a fund surprise when you are standing and don't know this lol. One of the guides who we hadn't spent much time with, I think he was mostly a tech guy, was INSANE! and was at first attached only with rope, tied around his waist and then....with nothing! He helped to hoist one.of the other guides with nothing on and gave rich a little scare when his welly slipped. Fortunately his view on our safety was much higher!

    After all three ziplines it was time to head back down. We were given gloves and tied in to a system in which we would be lowered as we loosened our grip of the rope. I was second and started out very slow until being told to loosen my grip, which seemed like the opposite to what you should do dangling so high in the air! I did though and you could feel the heat coming through the gloves as you slid down. Eventually we all got down safe and sound and finally got free from our harnesses again. Such an amazing experience! Wish I could do it again.

    Back at the lodge we were also lucky enough to spot a snake! Yellow and white and curled around the beams holding up some of the wooden walkway. Can't remember the species now but it was pretty cool.

    Time for lunch after that! We were exhausted. Had some delicious mangos with lunch, which considering I don't like them in the UK I tried them and my mind was blown. These are not like the mangos in England, these are so so sweet and tasty! Yum!
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  • Today was the day we finally got to go to Machu Picchu! One of the highlights of the trip for us and it was also Richard's birthday...25 years old! 👵

    The morning started early, 3:45 out of bed and out the door for quarter past to join the already existent queue of fellow sightseers. The queue was already around 4 buses long and as we thought they went one by one, we were worried we might be waiting a while.
    The closer it got to the departure time of 5:30 the more light there was and we could start to make out the huge, sheer, densely green mountains that loomed all around the town and that we couldn't make out well in the dark last night. A mist that hung low made it seem quite surreal before it gradually burnt away with the sun. The town itself was busy already with lots of stalls and shops open to the tourists who were up and about early. It is definitely a bit of a tourist trap here but all the same it is quite amazing to be in a town that just sits at the foot of all these mountains that come together here, great sheer edges that tower straight up from the edges of the small town.

    Eventually we noticed more buses arriving and were relieved when at 5:30 we started to move. They packed the buses pretty quickly and soon enough we were on the bus, sat near the front, ready to travel up the insanely winding road up to the top. 2040m to 2430m in half an hour.

    The views on the bus route were incredible, the view of the lush green mountains getting larger and larger with each hairpin and it looked like a scene from Jurassic Park. There were a few clouds too high up which added quite a nice effect, without the worry of a limited view of the ruins.

    Once at the top we had to join yet another queue to get in, passports out once again! Never known anywhere so keen on checking your identity. In the queue we were entertained by more dogs that may or may not have owners, who knows! One definitely had pups by the look of her though and she seemed to be winning the 'who can get more food from the tourists' race.
    Anyhow, it wasn't a long wait once the gates opened and we made it through the gates fairly quickly. There was a short walk and then the option to go into the ruins themselves or up higher for the view. We had a sneaky peak of the ruins at almost ground level, which was immediately spectacular, and then headed up yet more stairs, which my legs were just loving after yesterday....not. I took a fair while once again but hey, I got there 😀 and I wasn't the only one struggling.

    We walked out from the stones stairs within the jungle and into the open space ahead. It was breathtaking, actually breathtaking. It is just such an amazing place and the photos just cannot do it the justice. The sheer scale of not only the ruins, but of the mountains around them is just incredible. The clouds sat clinging to the very tops of the mountains and we just hoped they would clear a little for the view with the sun. At about 6:25 the sun began to break through the clouds above the mountain the the right and on to Machu Picchu on the left. It was just peaking through a dip in the top of one of.the mountains and the rays could be seen shining straight across the lush green mountains ahead and onto the mountain by Machu Picchu, just catching the ruins ever so slightly and making them golden. It was stunning and it got even better when the clouds eventually shifted within the next few minutes and the ruins were bathed in a beautiful golden light. We were there for a while just soaking in the view before we decided head further up to more ruins and terraces. Everything you looked the view was ever so slightly different and each time amazing. We found a nice spot a little higher to sit down and we gave Richard his birthday present...INCA chess!! Started to have a game whilst enjoying the surroundings before I conceded (definitely would have lost).

    We tried to ring home, which took a while, but we all managed to get through in the end which was nice, although I feel that Rob was a little sad he didn't hear the line 'that's nice dear'.

    After more steps up slightly higher we came to a small area with a the ruin of a house and some more terraces. We decided to head down and into the ruins at this point before it got too busy.
    We headed down into the city of ruins and you could really get a feel for what it would have been like all them years ago. It was a beautiful city in a beautiful place, high in the mountains that the Inca's saw as Gods, a very special place and you could tell. On overhearing the guides (who annoyingly kept blowing whistles and causing traffic jams with their start stop tales) we learnt that this was never fully finished as they went to war with the intention to leave good people there and come back to complete it. As well as this we learnt that it was likely used by those Inca's higher up in status, possibly for holidays, with only 750 people there at a time.

    We sort of wished we had a guide as it was interesting to catch snippets of what they said, but we couldn't face being in such a large group and herded around. We had arrived early and already it was becoming a bit of a nuisance. We wandered round the entire city, each part with new ruins and different views and angles of the ruins and their surroundings.

    After this we left the site to drop off my bag and eat some lunch (some of which went to a sad looking cocker spaniel) before ascending up to the infamous Sun Gate. It was so, so, so, so high up and I was not looking forward to the climb. My legs were hurting after just a slight incline let alone more steps and steeper slopes! I couldn't not try though so Rob and Rich encouraged me and we climbed Emma pace. Fortunately by now (around 10am) the clouds had come back out so it was a little cooler. Also fortunate is the fact that there is always a view that you want to stop and see, so always an excuse when I felt tired! 😄

    It took about an hour to get up the shiny stone path in the end, to the height of 2720m. Arriving at the top was pretty incredible, especially as the hike up almost broke me before I started. The view though was so worth it and the thought of that got me there. Personally it was so spectacular that it made me cry, and almost does again writing this. A very special and incredibly beautiful place that, no matter how much I may try to convey it, cannot be described in a way that does is justice. What I am saying is...get yourself there!

    We hung out at the sun gate for a quite a while, just enjoying the view and taking pictures. What an incredible first view for the Inca's that made the journey and for those that do the Inca trail now. They knew what they were doing. It also becomes clear from here how the Spanish missed this site, hidden so well in the mountain, and why it wasn't scientifically discovered until 1911.
    Just as we decided to leave and head back the sun broke free once again and ruins were aglow, in the distance this time, nestled in the mountain. Stunning.

    The walk down was much nicer, except on your toes, and we enjoyed the views all the way back to the exit. We queued for the bus back down with many other people, thankful we were not entering Machu Picchu now with the crowds and the blazing heat. Richard was also discovering the multiple sand fly bites all over his bare legs, oops! They hurt and they got him bad.

    The bus down seemed to bring out the exhaustion and we were all struggling to keep our eyes open, Rich in particular, his sleepy head bobbing all over the place on the bumpy ride! The views were once again incredible and we could see a low grey cloud and rain creeping through in-between the mountains.

    Back at the bottom we wandered around Aguas Calientes, it's so different from the other cities here and had clearly been shaped by tourism. Pizza restaurants everywhere and the whole place seems to be oozing souvenirs. We found a place for food pretty quick and had our first OK dish of Peru. Just pasta, but it was far more expensive than and no where near as nice as the food we have had elsewhere here. The pisco sour celebration drinks were good though 😁

    We headed to the thermal springs up yet more slopes after this but we didn't have time once we got there. Instead we sat on a bench and then I fell asleep, properly zonked out asleep.

    Eventually it was time to head to the train station - by the way the trains here just roll on up the high street basically, very strange! We bought some souvenir cards with pictures of hilariously rude Inca potteries and then walked up yet more stairs 😤 to the station.

    It's amazing the contrast in scenery that you see on the train. Leaving the lush green jungle covered mountains of Aguas Calientes, within an hour the mountains become sandy in colour, dotted with rocks and bare looking in comparison. Cactus plants grow here alongside green and yellow grasses, with forests dotted about of tall trees with thin trunks and conifer like shapes. The difference is crazy.

    Eventually got back to the hotel, and had to walk up yet more stairs to the room 😧 we all realised how bad our feet smell, honestly it's like vinegar, so so bad, but now we have all had a nice shower and I am wearing my nice new alpaca jumper ready to set off for birthday pizza 🎂 🍕
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  • This morning we had a little lie in and then packed up our bags again ready for Cusco. Our room was a right state with all our stuff out and it's a miracle it all got back in again. My backpack has become bulkier somehow and so I think a cull will have take place in cusco. Richard also discovered 38 sand fly bites on his legs from Machu Picchu, we forgot the repellent which was advised and now we know why. More bites here than the Amazon! Thankfully I only got one as I was in long trousers and sleeves most of the day and Rob just got a couple on his arms. I did however get a weird splinter in my hand that the boys were convinced was a bite (kept trying to convince me it was a creepy insect inside me going to pop out) but, after a bit of prodding and the use of a safety pin this morning I got rid of the very small black fibre and it has finally stopped feeling so sore!

    We headed back down to the station for a taxi and we got a much cheaper taxi back to cusco as there are no train strikes today to drive up the price. We got a 2 hour ride through beautiful scenery for £15...not bad going!

    We stopped for a picture as the view is just incredible and I managed to converse quite well, using my limited Spanish, with the driver.

    On arriving in Cusco we checked in to the hostel, there is a massive oxygen tank in reception just in case but thankfully all good so far. The stairs to the room were a little more challenging than they should have been but nothing too bad.

    Our walk into Cusco was where I first felt the dizziness a little. Just walking too fast I think and I was very hungry. After food though I felt a lot better and we went to look at the Q'oricancha or church of Santo Domingo. It was an old Inca temple before the Spanish invaded and was once covered with gold and contained many gold artefacts, many of which were life sized models of Lamas and corn, all important to them. Now however it is just the bare stone left behind and a Giant Colonial Catholic Church built around it. The gold was stolen and some.of the buildings destroyed, with those left behind covered in later for art. These have now been restored back to the brick work, save for one piece of colonial art, and the whole place is just quite strange. Two very different histories side by side and a clear representation of how the Colonials aimed to wipe out the existing culture. We were unsure how we felt about it to be honest, but it was interesting still to see what remained of the Incas temples and just how impressive their masonry work was. They didn't use cement but worked the stones perfectly so they fit seamlessly. Pretty incredible even for this age.

    Upon leaving we came across some Peruvian women and girls in beautiful traditional dress outside the church with their Alpacas, including babies. They are there for photos and I was handed a baby alpaca to hold for a picture (for a price of course). The alpaca was very cute and their traditional dress is amazing. Still want to buy something bright and colourful as a souvenir!
    We then walked back through the main plaza where some event is taking place, not sure what but the music set up wasn't great and it sounded a bit awful. It also meant scaffolds were all over the place for stalls etc. so we can't really can't really appreciate it properly. It is a very different place to everywhere else and needs a bit more exploring by us really. Unfortunately we don't have much more time here though.
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  • After quite some time chilling in the hostel and for some reason reading up on scientology...seriously worth reading up on, their ideas are just insane 😯😮😕😒 we headed back put for dinner.
    Rob had found a place called Organika on trip adviser which had good reviews and so we went there. They grow everything on their farm in the sacred Valley, where we had just come from, and we were looking forward to hopefully more delicious food.
    We had to walk down a street that felt a bit dodge to get there (or at least we thought we did, but on the way back found a much more pleasant and shorter route) Richard got asked if he wanted weed or cocaine....yay!😕 but it wasn't far away, just up yet more steps! Thankfully was managing the walking etc better this time so just took them steady and was fine.

    Inside the restaurant there was a small and open kitchen in the right which was busy with the chefs cooking and we were directed to a table in the corner. It was a cute place inside and clearly a fan for travellers as everyone in there was white lol.
    The menu looked great...and and cheap 😁 and we ordered both a starter and a main for a change.

    The food came out and was delicious! Rich and Rob had vegetable plate type starters which looked as good as they tasted and I had a pumpkin carrot soup, which was lovely except for the small amount of cheese that kept forming strings from my spoon and getting everywhere! Also, Richards dish contained daisy's as a garnish...not nice! They are very very strange to eat and neither of us were a fan.

    The mains were just as good when they came out, sweet potato ravioli and a pretty awesome looking chicken sandwich for Rich.
    Considering how delicious the food was, the fact we had two dishes each and drinks (including beer), the fact it cane to just £8 each is ridiculous! 😮

    We wandered up the hill a bit further on leaving and looked out over the city. The lights shine from houses and street lamps half way up the surrounding mountains, a mix of blue and orange. The plaza looked nicely lit and bustling too and we headed there to see if we could find ice cream. On route we stopped at a market where I finally found a colourful cotton throw I liked and we also spotted a miniature Christ de Redeemer statue. We couldn't find any ice-cream though 🙁 so headed back for some more chill time and had a good laugh watching clips of would I lie to you. I also completed my packing cull whilst Rob and Rich played battleships. It was successful! Despite the fact I finally just bought a bright and colourful Peruvian cotton throw/blanket.

    Sleep time now ready for the early bus ride tomorrow.
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  • An early start today for the tour that we had booked with the bus company when we arrived. The tour is of the Islas Ballestas and Paracas National Park which look stunning. We were outside for 7:30 with some more delicious bread rolls for breakfast. We waited around 15 mins and there was no sign of anyone so we were getting pretty anxious, the boats leave at 8am and we really didn't want to miss it. We were also beginning to be pestered by the tour guide next door again! Rich ran over to the bus station in the end, missing out on the amazing little bulldog that belonged to the hostel owners riding a skateboard (did I mention he was wearing a Bulldogs jacket too! Amazing!) he seemed to keep wanting to escape and we realised we had I seen it last night running around the town, I don't think the mother of the young boy who kept letting it out was impressed lol.

    Rich came back and said they are running late but will be here, our names are on the schedule and the boat will leave late if necessary. So we waited again, and now it got to 8:15, still waiting 🤔
    We were getting pestered again and I got put on the phone to an apparently English speaking person to try and communicate. I had no idea why I was on the phone and tried to explain that although we had no ticket for our tour, it had been arranged and we didn't want to buy one. He wasn't happy that I didn't want to and asked why I had rung...I got a little bit short with him at that point and handed the phone back. We just grabbed our stuff and left at that point. We headed back to the station and when we got there we basically found out that there are two hostels with our name and even though I had written down the full name of ours, they had gone to other one. So they had gone already. Yay!! 😡

    The woman was very apologetic and after some time waiting she said she had arranged for us to go on the 10am tour (the last of the day) and then we would have a private guide for the national park instead, so thankfully all was not lost!
    We were ushered to the boat terminal close to the time ("Vamps! Vamos!") by a guy who word of English. Was pretty confusing getting organised there and sorting out tickets, alot of him talking in very fast Spanish and us just sat staring and looking dumb. Duolingo doesn't quite prep you for that lol. Got sorted in the end though and left with a group of Peruvians under the assumption we would meet him back there after (that's what I got from the gestures anyway 😳).

    We got on the speedboat and set off. Was pretty awesome as the swells out of the harbour are quite noticeable and very even so it felt a little like a ride. A bit annoying as all the local Peruvians kept standing up in front (British style courtesy isn't something people here practice much and we are still getting to grips with the different attitude) but we realised late on that if we stand too, we tower over everyone so can't really complain.

    We saw from the boat an amazing carving in the sand that has stood for centuries despite the wind. It is called the candelabra and is believed to have been made by the same people who moved on to Nasca, however there quite a bit of speculation as it is hard to say for sure. Really is an amazing structure and the scale of it can't really be captured too well in a photo.
    Then on to the Islands. What can I say...birds, birds, birds, many birds!!!!! We saw Pelicans, blue footed Boobies, some birds that kept dive bombing the water spectacularly, like bullets, and the best thing of all...Humbolt Penguin's!!!!!🐧 🐧 not many, but they were waddling around in the adorable manner that they do 😍

    Was really amazing to see them all clustered and flying over, some of the rock faces looked black because they were just covered. Although most were white with guano...very very pungent guano. The smell of that and the fumes from the engine did make you feel a bit nauseous. It was worth it though and the guano has played a really important part in the history of the place, being worth so much to locals as fertiliser it was almost a mini gold rush here and there are still people who live on the islands now for this purpose (although there is a lot less guano now). It is so precious that no one else can step on the islands and they have permission to shoot you if you try 😱

    There weren't just birds on these islands either, we saw seals and sea lions too! Some of them with pups. Most were lazing on the rocks and being noisy but we caught a few swimming too and having fun. So nice to again see all this wildlife, actually in the wild.

    After the boat trip we were Greeted by a different guide, Abraham, who spoke pretty good English which was great. He showed us to his car and we set off for the national park, only a very short drive away. Once in the park I think we're all a little blown away by the scale and alien landscape of the place. Sandy desert in every direction with amazing dunes. We drove over a road that looked like tarmac, but which is actually salt, and enjoyed the sometimes bumpy ride over the sand. We went up dunes so steep you could not see over them, which was a little scary, bit great fun going down 😆

    We kept going over or appearing around dunes and new spectacular views would just appear. It honest looked the surface of Mars, a mx of golden and red sand, some smooth, some speckled with little rocks. And then the biggest surprise of all...we go over a crest and there is the sea! There is a large bay of beautiful green/blue ocean that just sits alongside the beautiful golden sandy desert. Such a stark contrast and one of the reasons for the name of Paracas, which in the language of the locals beforehand, means sun and rain.

    We headed to the bay for lunch and dined right by a small beach on a patio that although sat in the sun, was a little chilly due to the strong winds they have there (desert air con as Abraham puts it). Rob had Creviche, Richard Chicharruni and I had fish in a tomato sauce. It was pretty great, although mine was more soup like than expected.

    Next up we headed to the red beach, the only one in Peru. The colour is due to the iron oxide which you can see in some of the dunes around the place too. He pointed out how there are four colours on this beach, yellow sand from desert cliffs, red sand on the beach, the white froth of the waves and the deep blue of the ocean. It was stunning, such an amazing place and I'm not sure where else you get views like this, hopefully the picture attached gives a good glimpse.
    We next went up high to take more photos and saw some huge Condors, which are a relation of the Andean Condors, soaring almost level with us. Again another stunning view, one way desert, the other way sandy cliffs and sea.
    Our final stop was in part of the park containing lots of visible fossils. The park was underwater around 4 million years ago and the fossils are EVERYWHERE! Some really awesome long spiral shells and we found a couple of perfect small cockle type fossils too, of the whole cockle! We found some Quartz crystal too, all just lying on this vast sandy, once underwater desert.

    It was time to leave after this and we all noted that we would certainly love to go back there and try out the dune bugging, looked so much fun!

    The afternoon was spent wandering back to the town (past a cyclist being chased by several stray dogs), eating some very artificial looking, bright green, mint choc chip ice cream and then buying me some gringo pants before enjoying a beer to some great cheesy music medleys that Rob was definitely not enjoying as much as us.
    Next up was a short bus ride Ica, on which we discovered the extent of the recline of the standard seats (like 60 degrees) and was again looked after by a bus hostess who also used her time talking to us to help her improve her English. She was very good and it was nice to be able to help and receive some help back too 😊
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  • Our first destination in Peru, after a 9h busdrive.

    In Mancora we stayed at 'Psygon Surf Camp', a really recommended place close to the beach with a nice living area. Our only plan for the next three days was: just relax, so this little town and hostel was a really good choice. We enjoyed the beach, went for a swimm, were surfing, played pool/pingpong/chess and were having delicious food and tasty peruvian beer! ;) How could life be better than at the beach?Read more

  • We headed back to the wonderful crepissimo today for some very early lunch. On route we stopped at another little shop and bought some postcards as we realised we hadn't had a chance yet and finally Rob also managed to buy himself a Lama T-shirt.
    We opted for sandwiches this time over crepes and they were not disappointing. Such a lovely little place to sit and relax.
    We headed then to a place called Mirador de Yanahura where we had a lovely view of Volcan Misti and the city. On route we passed through more lovely green areas with palm trees and colourful flowers and even some grazing Alpacas!!! Amazing!
    Snowcapped Volcan Chachani was a bit hidden from view but it was amazing all the same to see the whole city in the shadow of the volcano. We sat and relaxed in the pretty but small square and then headed back to the city up a long uphill path. It's another beautiful day and we are now sat in a little coffee shop eating beautiful cheesecake and drinking pisco sours, their local drink. This is the life 😄
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  • The wake up hour that I lost with the wrong time on my phone I devided in an half for a rushed wake up with breakfast and the other half in being late at the airport😇. I love the margin I always put in, so no worries checking in. The flight was ok as well, a window seat was good for a little more sleep at the end of the flight. Peru looked a little cloudy and this appeared to be normal for 10 months in the year.... 😕. When I got my bag and walked out finally there was a perfectly arranged pick up this time. The driver with my name on it was the first thing I saw. Lovely and a smooth ride in busy traffic to hotel Padama. It was around 11 and I decided to take a little pauze. Fell a sleep and woke up at 15:00, took a cold shower ( bad luck that warm didn't work) and blogged some more untill I was picked up to pick up my brother woohoo. 1 more fresh person who I love was underway to join the journey with me, so off course I would pick him up. That he didn't expect me was clear when I approached him untill 2 meters haha. Happy to see him and likewise, it has been a long time. With the driver back to the hotel while catching up, not even 1% 😉. From the hotel we used Uber to get a cab and moved with a great gangsta cabdriver (see photo) to eat at Chili's, I should have done that yesterday in Santiago de Chile haha 😂. Good food, good atmosphere and from there we moved into the center for a quick sight seeing tour. Definitely some nice pictures taken by Max, I was approached by Peruvian sellers of all kinds of stuff in the meanwhile..... why me?? Well no problem I learned from them and they from me 😉. Back to our hotel with Uber again and the day is done since we need to get up before 4:00 😑. 😴Read more