Well... It has been a week and a half, 9 days since I landed in Lima, Peru, South America and what a week and a half it has been! It feels like it has been much much longer as so much has happened and a whole country has been ticked off the list! It has been really amazing so far and I am loving every minute of it!
Where to start when talking about my experiences in Peru! I had heard so many horror stories about Lima that it was a bit of a daunting starting point in South America. My flight landed at about 4.30am and Lima was just a murky outline out of the window of the plane. My first real view of Lima was from the roads, which even at 5.30 in the morning were mental, apparently the lanes painted on the road here are more rough guidelines than actual routed to be followed! Lima definitely felt quite dangerous and you had to be very cautious when going out, with no bags or valuables showing, but I actually still had an amazing time there. Highlights included the city tour to see the Inca temples which are still standing in the city, shopping for bargains in the Miraflores district with my new Danish friends, trying Cerviche - the national dish of Peru and going out to a club with a live band and dancing (or attempting to!) Salsa and Merengue all night long!
Next up - Cusco, my favourite city so far! Compared to Lima, Cusco felt safe and was so beautiful to walk around. The altitude was not too bad but every now and again, especially when walking up one of the many hills or immediately after you wake up, you feel like you can´t breathe and you have to take a few deep breaths to get back to normal. It is such a strange sensation and is a bit unnerving but at least there has been no altitude sickness so far! Highlights from Cusco included my first amazing view over the city with my new Argentine friend, the free walking tour with a Pisco Sour at the end, and dinners out with my new Kiwi and American friends.
It is hard to include Machu Picchu in the Cusco highlights as it really deserves a mention all on its own! I hadn´t been too worried about seeing it but I did feel I should go while I was in Peru, even though it was expensive and a really long day starting at 3.30am and ending at 11pm. But wow was it worth it! It was really one of the most amazing, awe-inspiring places I have ever been to. It took your breath away; you felt like you were on top of the world, or at the ends of the earth. The tall karst shape mountains covered in jungle surround it and the low clouds swirling over and below it made it so atmospheric. The lost city of the Incas was fascinating and made for a spectacular backdrop for photos!
Last but not least, my Peruvian adventure took me to Puno, on the edge of Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in S. America and the highest navigable lake in the world at 3812km above sea level. My day in Puno was spent out on the lake. Another early start but it was worth it again as we were off to see the floating islands where the indigenous Uros people live. They make their islands, homes and boats out of the reeds growing in the lake, and so have managed to remain relatively isolated and their lifestyle untouched for hundreds and hundreds of years. We were lucky enough to visit them and see their homes and way of life! We also visited the real island of Taquile where the Quechuan people who live there have their own unique way of life as well. It was so surreal to be on these islands in the middle of Lake Titicaca, I had to pinch myself. It felt like a million miles from home.
Somehow I seem to have managed to get myself across Peru on my own which is a bit of miracle, not sure how i managed that! Next stop is Bolivia and I can only hope that I have just as great a time as I did in Peru, and meet people as fab as I have in the last week and a half!!
Peru, you´ve been great!