At the moment I am writing this tucked up in bed in a little (but very noisy) hostel in San Ignacio - last stop before hopping over the border to Ecuador tomorrow, to check out all those places I missed first time round on my way to cusco.
Very much looking forward to taking it easy and finding a nice beach to lie on for a few days once I'm there, after being on the constant hop for the last few weeks since leaving Cusco. I've lost count of how many overnight buses I've taken, but it feels like the last week or so I've been spending alternate nights on buses and hostels - its saying something when I look on a six hour bus journey in Ecuador now as short - and makes me realize how much smaller the country is compared to Peru. I refuse to contemplate buses in Brazil for now...
There's no getting round bus travel here as the south Americans don't do trains, and flights have to be rationed carefully as they cost an arm and a leg each! But today I tried something new - the car combi - something between a taxi and a combi, where they don't set off until the car's full. It feels a bit strange as the cars aren't marked and the only way you identify them are by the men hanging around shouting the destination to passers by; I had the fleeting thought that I was basically just getting into some strange man's car with all my worldly goods, who could basically just take me down god knows where - and then other people got in and I was fine, albeit squeezed into a tiny corner by two big Peruvians for five sweaty hours...
Sorry to go on about the transport, but anyone who's traveled like this knows that it rules half your life, and when you're traveling solo, you find yourself wanting to explain these mundane details to anyone who will listen!
Other than sitting on buses, I have had an amazing time in Peru - I loved Machu Picchu (even survived and enjoyed my trek, despite nightmares of tripping over and breaking a leg), then (hopping straight back on another bus) I headed to the jungle and saw zillions of birds and monkeys and insects (the last of which mostly in my cabin); enjoyed Arequipa and the Colca canyon - said to be the world's deepest, where we almost froze to death but held out to see the condors flying over the gorgeous scenery. Other things I did: visited lake Titicaca (which I hope to redeem when visited on the Bolivian side), sand boarding in huacachina, fountains in Lima, ruins of a pre-incan fortress in chachapoyas...
Peru was beautiful and diverse, with mountains and deserts and beaches and culture, and it will always be special to me, having stayed in Cusco for so long and met some great people along the way. The rest of SA has a lot to live up to, I've no doubt it will!