In the pursuit of llamas! = how to discover the mystique Peru in 18 daysJanuary 20, 2014
At the very beginning I need to explain exactly my situation. After finishing the Christmas Campaign, because of some private reasons, I was forced to break my voluntary service in Huaral. However, it was obviously a great lesson of life and totally new experience for me. I’m sure I need to do everything in order to see people I met there at least one more time in my life!
And writing that post at the airport in Paris (of course, I haven't finished it titally), I'd like to say A BIG THANK YOU to all those who made that part of my life one of the most beautiful and full of unexpected surprises!
Getting back to the topic, I didn’t want to just escape without any deeper insight into that amazing country. That’s why together with Alex, about whom I wrote in previous posts, we decided to conquer the southern region of Peru.
In order to describe that amazing trip as adequately as possible, I think that the best idea would be in the form of a diary briefly explaining every day of my Peruvian adventure. However, I won't be able to describe every location in detail. Anyone interested can find a lot of info in google search or just write me personally ;)
Earlyin in the morning, together with Alex, we took a plane from Lima to Cusco. We visit the whole city including its impressive market. There you can find everything typical for that region of Peru starting from souvenirs, finishing on the soup made from the head of cow or a kind of mixed fruit juice with a regional black beer called jugo especial con malta.
I should emphasize here that most of the tourists - like me - before arriving in Cusco have no idea about any other Incan monuments other than Machu Picchu. In reality, the region is covered by numerous different marvels allowing you to get a much deeper sense and appreciation of the culture.
That is why the 1st afternoon of our holidays we spent visiting a museum called Qoriconcha, Sacsayhuaman and the statue of Christ. The 1st night we spent in Ollantaytambo.
We visit every corner of Ollantaytambo village including the enormous empire of the Incas. Then we move to Santa Teresa - a village situated close to one of seven marvels of the world - Machu Picchu. We spent our Christmas Eve eating typical Peruvian poster - Paneton and hot chocolate. At midnight we moved to the small market square to admire a concert of fireworks. And we finished the day drinking ponch of peanuts which has an incredible taste that creates smiles on our tired faces.
25.12.2013 MACHU PICCHU
1st day of Christmas we start a 4 hour trip through mountains and jungle in order to get to the Inca’s Empire. Unfortunatelly, from the 2nd hour of our journey we are forced to walk in rain. Additionally, my right trekking shoe hurts my ankle. With pain but with positive attitude we get to the village called Aguas Calientes. There we take a bus and after 15minutes we reach our destination. 1,5h of the unforgettable adventure through the history of Incas we finish with a very positive message from the touristic office that after 3 p.m. there are no more trains that could take us to the village called Electrica where we could find taxi to Santa Teresa. Without having any other option and a little bit tired, but full of ancient energy we start our long return.
After 1hour of walking the sun disappears and we’re alone in the jungle moving through traces of train. After 30 minutes of walking we meet four young guys from Egypt, Spain and Albania who are trying to escape from the jungle as fast as possible because of having a flight from Cusco to Argentina at 6 am the next day. That is why under cover of darkness we follow a light of our phones in order to reach our destination an hour later. In Electrica one man offers a service taking us to Santa Teresa and at 10.30 pm we finally enter our room while our new friends move directly to Cusco. Unfortunately, I have no idea about the results of their chase. Hopefully they managed it!
At the very morning we take the bus to Cusco. After dinner we try to discover more of the culture of Inca. As always we want to transport ourselves from one place to another in the cheapest way possible. Nevertheless, it’s sometimes hard to find public transportation that could take you to the destination point. That’s why finally we find ourselves in a private taxi that takes us to Pisaq - another Incan village with amazing monumental ruins, then to Tambopata and Puka Pukara. In the evening we meet with our fiend Chiara Vestrini who I’d like to say thank you for the possibility to accommodate us at her home. We spend the night at one of the most famous clubs in Cusco drinking typical regional drinks, dancing traditional Peruvian music - huayno and watching unexpected performances by Peruvian artists.
The whole 27th day of December we spent at the Cusco’s market buying souvenirs. Time during a night we used to get to the Peruvian jungle, to the city called Madre de Dios.
28.12.2013 MADRE DE DIOS
At the very morning we come to Madre de Dios. We find our hotel at the market square and we plan our stay there. We realize that the best idea to discover that part of Peru will be using motorcycle. We rent it and start our sightseeing part of the day. The 1st cross and Alex brakes so strongly that we fall down. It appears the brakes don’t work well. Ultimately it doesn’t matter - my leg is hurt and we are forced to stop that part of our trip. We get back to our hotel and start a phase of purification. After 2 hours of being patched up and cared for I’m able to move. We go to a local port and rent a boat to cross the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers. The rest of that day appears to be lazy. We just enjoy being in the jungle doing nothing.
29.12.2013 MADRE DE DIOS
That day appears to be very bad for my digestive world. In the morning we buy an adventure trip through the jungle for the next day, then we make a small sightseeing trip around the city. In the afternoon I feel apogee in my stomach and everything I ate the day before coming back for an encore. The rest of a day I spent in the bathroom….and at that point of my history I’d prefer to stop. No more comments!
30-31.12.2013 MONKEY ISLAND, PUNO
The whole day was spent eating crackers and drinking water. But the sacrifice is for my health - it’s worth it!
At 8am we move by boat to one of the closer islands.There we meet muppets of that place - parrots and monkeys. We canoe through the Amazon river and get to the Monkey Island. Unfortunately we’re not lucky and we don’t find any creatures living there. It’s probably caused by the rainy period of the year and the abundance of alimentation. At the midday - typical dinner from the jungle. What is Aneta eating? Of course her crackers and water...but who cares, I’m in the jungle and it counts! After dinner we climb a platform 30m above the ground and cross two moving bridges using a zip-line. At 5p.m. we get back to the hotel, pack our bags and move to the bus station in order to catch a bus to Puno - and we find it!...but…
We are suppose to get to Puno early in the morning, like 6-7a.m. Nevertheless, 4 hours before the departure our bus suddenly stops. It appears to be broken…and what doesn’t work? - the brakes! The driver tells us that the company doesn’t have any extra buses and we need to wait 14 hours in the middle of nowhere in order for another bus to come and rescue us. after the frustration of passengers, the driver starts to repair the problem. After 1,5 hour we move on. However, after the next 2 hours the vehicle stops again - why? the same problem and another hour of waiting. Finally, after 6 hours of delay at 1p.m. we get to Juliaca - our transferring point and from that city we take a minivan to Puno.
We find an accommodation and we spend the last day of 2013 year in our room. Why? Because Aneta wrongly used a plastic bag on her injuries and after having a shower - instead of being dried - they were completely wet and the recovery phase of my leg started once again at the very beginning.
The 1st day of the new 2014 year we spent in Puno, visiting its corners and enjoying a mystique panorama of Titicaca Lake. Everything seems anew with an enthusiasm and positive attitude towards the future.
02.01.2014 UROS & TAQUILE ISLANDS
The 2nd day of January and one of Alex’s dreams comes true. In the morning we move to discover islands of Titicaca Lake. We first get to the floating Uros Islands which are created by their own inhabitants. In general, there are 63 islands that have their own president who indicates a day for every island in which tourists can visit. It constitutes more or less 6 days per year that every island may be visited.
It was a very interesting experience. Nevertheless, in my opinion everything is made for the tourists. They live in small cottage houses without bathrooms that are situated at one island and constitutes a public bathroom for the whole of the inhabitants of the Uros Islands, while they use solar panels to power their lights. They wear their own uniforms and don’t use shoes, but they all have mobile phones.
Then we get to Taquile Island where at 4000m above the sea level I was pretty well sunburned and for the next few days have problems with moving my arms. But the landscape is amazing!
03.01.2014 LA PAZ
The whole day we decide to spend in a bus in order to conquer another country - BOLIVIA! First, we take a bus to get to the border between Peru and Bolivia. We stop in Desaguadero. It’s a very famous (not necessarily legal) market where you can buy everything from peanuts to TVs….and prices don’t include taxes.
Do we think to buy anything? Of course we do! Alex needs a new jacket. We come to one stand and ask for those from The North Face brand. The saleswoman's response? “An original or fake one?” A little bit shocked we ask for the difference in prices. She tells us: the orginal costs 65 Nuevos Soles while the fake one is 35.
Can you imagine?! Paying 13$ for (probably) a new, original jacket? Like!...
After that act of acquisition we move further to La Paz.
We visit some parts of La Paz including viewpoints with amazing, panoramic views and after a Cuban dinner we move to Copacabana.
After getting to Compacabana about 6pm we are forced to find a room. Nevertheless, it isn’t easy! Every building offering vacancies is occupied! Why? Bolivians have Christmas holidays and Copacabana is one of the most important religious places in the entire country. Soo..we’re in the middle of nowhere! After one hour of searching for any place to stay…we come to the local port. Finally, we meet a guy shipping his boat and we ask for a possibility to take us to the Sun Island which is more or less 1,5 hour from Copacabana. After 20 minutes of negotiations we make a deal of 65$ and in 30 minutes we move to the island. Because the weather is cool we buy rum in order not to freeze. As we weren’t able to celebrate the New Year’s Eve, we decide to do it that night! We celebrate the last hours of the old year with our two carriers. In reality our journey lasts 2,5 hours with a stop at another island to buy an extra “heater”. We finally come to the Sun Island which is completely dark without any lights. Our carrier tells us that he will take us to the nearest hotel which is 40-50 minutes walking from the port. That message doesn’t sound positive…and while carriers are shipping their boat, we find a pair of natives who finally take us to a hotel situated 5 minutes away. However, that idea appears not to be so great either. We are forced to pay 30$ for a room with 3 beds without breakfast and without hot water because the shower is broken, and 5$ for the service of guiding us! However, we’re happy to finally find a clean place to sleep. Is it over? Not at all. After 15minutes of trying to sleep, we hear knocking on our door. It’s the carrier, totally wet asking us for some extra money for his hotel. 20 minutes of arguing and he leaves unsatisfied. We’re able to relax. At last!
05.01.2014 SUN ISLAND
The 5th day of January we spend visiting the island, enjoying sun, drinking regional beer and eating local fish. We cross forests and fields admiring unforgettable views. And everything on just the one island. Additionally, we are forced to change hotels for a cheaper one. We find it! A small one with a view on Lake Titicaca, hot water and breakfast the next day for 60 Bolivianos which equals 10$! I can’t believe the difference in prices!
Anyway, in order to get to that hotel, we are forced to walk almost 1 hour to the top of the mountain with our rucksacks. That’s an extreme sport!
At 10.30 a.m. we return to Copacabana. This time we decide to move in a public ship paying only 25 Bolivianos (3,5$) per person. In reality it’s much faster and comfortable than our private boat from two days before.
We get to Copacabana and move by bus to Puno.
Even at the migration office I need to have an adventure. An officer asks me how many days left to my departure and if I am thinking about staying here. After responding a magical number 5, he puts in my passport another 183 days of the permission for stay in Peru and tells me that I need to stay here another 6 months in order to find my future husband. Hmm…interesting proposition!
At 6a.m. we move by bus to Chivay crossing amazing viewpoints. We even stop at 4910m above the sea level to admire a landscape. Because of the height, unaccustomed tourists are required to take pills in order not to get any headache. We decided to enjoy the natural medicine. We take "trimates" consisting of leaves of coca, muña and chamomile and constantly smell those herbs. And I have to say that it really works! With neither chemical substances nor any illness we pass through that journey.
In Chivay we eat at the local market and visit the whole city. Additionally, we buy the entrance tickets to Colca Valley, eager to conquer it the next day.
08.01.2014 COLCA VALLEY
At 7.30a.m. we move to Colca Valley to enjoy a landscape filled with flying condors. The unique thing we see is a really dense fog preventing us from even walking through the valley. Finally, we stay at the bus stop about 3 hours, waiting for a return bus to Chivay.
From Chivay at 6pm we take a bus to Arequipa, from Arequipa to Lima and from Lima to Huaral. We get back home on the afternoon the next day.
And I’ve just finish my 18th days’ adventure of life!
...and this chapter of my blog as well. I hope you've enjoyed it!
And I hope it serves as motivation for others to follow their dreams and discover that what might at first appear to be impossible is actually within reach!
The 10th of Jannuary I spent with my friends in Lima and at 8 p.m. I boarded my plane.
Here I will put a close to this blog....with hopes to make my return to Latin America one day!