Saturday, 22 October 2016

My Peru Diary

12 - 21 September

South America. Vibrant cultures, awesome scenery and high octane travel. We found it all in 11 days in Peru!

We arrive in Lima, having watched 5 movies, eaten 3 meals and gone for about 4 leg stretching loo breaks. We were tired but excited as we reached arrivals and looked for the man with or name. After about 10 minutes we realised he wasn't there. A quick call the hotel and soon enough someone appeared with our name and we were on our way.

Lima is an enormous and gregarious city. About 40 mins from the airport we arrived at our hotel, Casa Cielo in Miraflores, opposite a chocolate museum (was I dreaming?).

Soon enough I was, wrapped up in the down duvet and silky alpaca wool blanket, until the jet lag caught up with me at about 5am.

I could hear a chirping outside my window coming from the tree opposite our balcony. Once the sun had risen, I peeked out and saw a hummingbird fluttering around the flowers in the tree. I couldn't believe it; I was in Peru!

Cusco


Our friendly driver was a local tour guide and introduced us to the city as we made the short drive to our hotel in Cusco from the airport the following morning.

Eager to explore the city we headed to Placa de Armas, the centre of the historic city centre. The 2 churches dominate the square on the north and easterly side, and a fountain in the centre drew the crowds. The evening sun was illuminating the city in a terracotta glow; this was what we came for!

Placa de Armas, Cusco


Cusco was a pleasure, with friendly people, excellent food and a wonderful vibe. Its old town is small but perfectly formed and there's charm around every corner.

Our hotel, Rumi Punku, was a beautiful mix of a Balinese home stay and a Moroccan riad, with decorated courtyards and balconied room emerging from the walls. Our family sized room came with a spa bath, views of the hillside and 3 beds!

Whilst in Cusco we spent our days acclimatizing, exploring the Sacred Valley and rafting on the Urumbamba river. Before we knew it we were at our briefing for the Inca trail, which would start with a 4am wake up call ahead of 4 days of hiking to the iconic Machu Picchu inca site; the reason we'd come.



Lima


After the Inca Trail (and a well earned shower) we returned to Lima for a few days R&R.

With a bit of time in Lima, we were happy to explore the city at a snails pace, and whilst we didn't venture beyond the suburb or Miraflores, I think it had everything we needed.

Our first stop was Parc del Amor, adorned with an enormous statue of 2 lovers embrace, gaudi-esque mosaic terraces and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Couples were everywhere; their names carved into the trees, written into the tiles and their padlocks on the fencing. It was a small but beautiful place which offered much needed calmness in the busy city.


The following day we drove through the port town of Callao then to Palomino Islands by boat for a spot of wildlife spotting. We weren't disappointed, getting to see Pelicans, Blue-footed Boobys, Humboldt Penguins and Sea lions; which we even got a chance to swim with!

Much of the rest of our time was spent eating at the likes of Panchita, and Hencho en Casa, with a drink or two at La Emolienteria.



On our final day we indulged in a chocolate ganache and truffle making class at Choco Museum. In just 2 hours we learnt the art of tempering chocolate, how to create ganache and decorate truffles. Plus, we got to take away 12  chocolates handmade by us each!

Then all of a sudden our bags were packed and it was time to go home. Another trip ticked off the bucket list; another country to scratch off the map. Peru had been as colourful, mysterious and energetic as I hoped it would be. I'm not sure life will ever be the same!



Hasta luego!