“Regular maps have few surprises: their contour lines reveal where the Andes are, and are reasonably clear. More precious, though, are the unpublished maps we make ourselves, of our city, our place, our daily world, our life; those maps of our private world we use every day; here I was happy, in that place I left my coat behind after a party, that is where I met my love; I cried there once, I was heartsore; but felt better round the corner once I saw the hills of Fife across the Forth, things of that sort, our personal memories, that make the private tapestry of our lives.”
― Alexander McCall Smith
I’m pretty much in love with Peru. The mountains, the food, the landscapes, the people…. there isn’t much I don’t love about this country. This was my last solo stop on my journey a few years ago – and so returning was a powerful experience – even if I was there for work this time (leading a group of 15 high school students).
Our itinerary as insane, it was a quick stop in a country that deserves weeks and months, and possibly years! – but it was enough time for me to recommit my heart to Peru. We did a homestay outside of Puno, visit Uros Islands, trekked near Cusco and then a visit to Machu Picchu, ending it all with a day in Lima. Here are some pictures from the adventure.
Views of Laguna Titicaca – the Bolivian Andes could be seen in the distance
Highest point of the peninsula where we did our homestay
Maize comes in a lot of different forms – just like the papas (something like 2,00 variations in South America!)
Every village has a plaza – I am content to spend hours sitting, thinking, writing, watching in these plazas. Preferably with some palomitas
These guys never seem to disappoint. Think I could get one as a pet?
She was our homestay mamacita. I might have been about 15 years older than her – but her mother in-law’s name was Aurora tambien, so she called me ‘mi madrina’. Here she is showing off some of her embroidery work.
One night, they had all the kids/teachers dress up in traditional outfits. This is the two teachers and myself – getting ready for a traditional music/dancing party
Here are some of the kids of the village – we were endlessly amusing to them!
Our next stop was Uros — which are floating islands. This is a crazy tourist stop, but the islands are fairly cool since they are actually just floating mats. The family we visited were very proud to show us their black and white tv, which they used to watch the Copa Mundial. We bonded over our hope for Colombia or Argentina.
Baby wandering the island — always funny to see how kids are just left to their own devices (as compared to, say – Park Slope!)
This is the view from our 7 hour bus ride up to Cusco. As we boarded the bus, I said a little prayer for a window seat. Getting my wish and more, I was up front on the top of the double decker. This proved to be a bummer after the 2nd hour when I realized I would be spending all 7 hours in the sun…. so hot. so uncomfortable. but great views!
Our one day in Cusco was spent visiting some of the typical touristy areas — here are the ruins at Saksaywaman.
Next we went trekking in the Salkantay region. Here is the start of our trek looking up towards Salkantay – which remains unclimbed. Did I mention I love these mountains?!
View from our camp the first night
Sunrise the next morning
At the high pass
Coming down the other side
The clouds dropped down in the afternoon — which still made for some epic sights
Our trek took us down the mountains into the jungle towards Machu Picchu. During the last day of the trek, we spent the day exploring the site. Even though it was my second time there, it never stops being amazing.
And a final parting shot of the two fabulous teachers I got to go with!
Peru – will you marry me?