Peru: A Tale of Mountains and Motor Oil

As my time in Peru is winding down, it’s crazy to think that I’ve been here for almost a month – That was definitely not my original plan! But, there has been so much to do and see that I can’t imagine spending any less time here. I have loved the people as much as I did in Ecuador ( I didn’t think it was possible), and the food has been great.

I’ve got quite a bit of Peruvian adventures to catch up on, so here we go…

After making my way through Trujillo with the Californian guys I met in Ecuador, I headed to Huaraz for some hiking and mountain gazing. Unfortunately a bit of sickness cut my hiking short, but I still got some good time in around the town.

One of the many street festivals celebrating the local school.

One of the many street festivals celebrating the local school.

Climbing to the mirador with my British friend Andy

Climbing to the mirador with my British friend Andy

After a few days, it was time to head down to Lima to check out the “big city”. And it was mighty big! I chose to stay in Central Lima as opposed to the gringo land of Miraflores, and was really glad I did. I could easily walk to the local museums and markets for good food. I had heard some terrible things about Lima, but I actually enjoyed it. It was nice to be back in a bigger city (I miss you Boston!) where I had to play frogger with the cars.

Tomo and I ready to check this thing out.

Tomo and I ready to check this thing out.

During my stay in Lima, I met Tomo, the Kiwi, who joined me for a trip down to the gringo oasis of Huacachina for some dunebuggying and sandboarding. And it was KILLER. The dunebuggying was like a rollercoaster on sand, where we were flung over cliffs with no idea how steep they were. And were smacked in the face with leaking motor oil each time the engine was pushed. The guys swore it was water, but my tastebuds thought otherwise. I also tried my hand at sandboarding and failed miserably. This just reiterates the fact that skiing/snowboarding will never be my forte. Sigh. So I stuck to sliding down on my stomach.

Don't let my upright position fool you...I sucked big time.

Don’t let my upright position fool you…I sucked big time.

The little oasis of Huacachina.

The little oasis of Huacachina.

After our pisco tasting tour. Too bad the 3 of us could hold our pisco better than our guide!

After our pisco tasting tour. Too bad the 3 of us could hold our pisco better than our guide!

My preferred mode of transport - the mototaxi! I think I found my ride for when I'm back in the states!

My preferred mode of transport – the mototaxi! I think I found my ride for when I’m back in the states!

From Huacachina, I headed back to Lima for a quick stop, and then on to Cusco with a 22 hour bus ride. OUCH. I’m pretty sure if you can survive 22 hours on a charter bus, you can survive anything. And I’m happy to announce that the bus provided a quick game of Spanish Bingo, and I won! And actually got all of my numbers and letters correct! What a gringo accomplishment!
Upon arriving in Cusco I was immediately knocked off of my feet for a day by altitude sickness. Being 3200 meters up was not what my body was used to. The constant feeling of being out of breath and just not feeling “right” got pretty old. But by the second day I was fine and was able to tour the town and book my 4 day Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu. That’s right, 4 days of biking, hiking, rafting and zip lining. So fun! And I was incredibly lucky that my group was so fantastic!

Lovely Cusco!

Lovely Cusco!

Inca Jungle Trek Day 1: Biking. I'm pretty sure I could have flown off of the mountain and still survived in all that padding.

Inca Jungle Trek Day 1: Biking. I’m pretty sure I could have flown off of the mountain and still survived in all that padding.

Heading down the mountain!

Heading down the mountain!

The group at our first hostel stop.

The group at our first hostel stop.

Me and my war paint on our hiking trail. Gosh, that pink shirt is starting to look obnoxiously familiar.

Me and my war paint on our hiking trail. Gosh, that pink shirt is starting to look obnoxiously familiar.

There's a raging river and we need to get across it. How do we do it? A really safe hanging basket suspended 100 meters up.

There’s a raging river and we need to get across it. How do we do it? A really safe hanging basket suspended 100 meters up.

And why don't YOU be the guinea pig that tries it out first. ALONE!

And why don’t YOU be the guinea pig that tries it out first. ALONE!

Zip-lining on Day 3!

Zip-lining on Day 3!

The moments before Jimmy the crazy South Korean flipped the suspended rope bridge that the group also had to cross.

The moments before Jimmy the crazy South Korean flipped the suspended rope bridge that the group also had to cross.

Hiking to Aguas Calientes along the PeruRail track.

Hiking to Aguas Calientes along the PeruRail track.

Early morning trek to Machu Picchu. Ok, some of us took the bus that morning.

Early morning trek to Machu Picchu. Ok, some of us took the bus that morning.

Like a picture from a movie - so stunning!

Like a picture from a movie – so stunning!

Just amazing.

Just amazing.

Words can’t even express how amazing Machu Picchu was. It was so surreal to finally be in a place you’ve seen pictures of you’re whole life.

And finally to round out my Peruvian adventure, I headed down to Puno to check out the highest altitude lake in the world – Lake Titicaca! While there, we headed out to visit the families that live on floating islands out in the lake. The islands are made from the root base of the water grass that grows and covered with the dried stalks. It was pretty crazy to see!

Some ladies hanging out on their floating island.

Some ladies hanging out on their floating island.

I think I'm just a little too tall to live here

I think I’m just a little too tall to live here

The ladies welcoming us with "Row, row, row your Boat" in English.

The ladies welcoming us with “Row, row, row your Boat” in English.

Checking out the lake with Emily and Elise after hiking to the giant Condor on the hill.

Checking out the lake with Emily and Elise after hiking to the giant Condor on the hill.

Oh hey, Condor!

Oh hey, Condor!

And finally, our last dinner of...you guessed it, cuy! Also known as guinea pig! And it was actually delicious!

And finally, our last dinner of…you guessed it, cuy! Also known as guinea pig! And it was actually delicious!

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