The weeks in brief: 10 September – 7 October

Hai! We’re back! Our holiday was all kinds of awesome. Here’s a brief look into some of the stuff we got up to while we were away. πŸ™‚

Our first stop was Lima. While I loved Peru, I didn’t love Lima, though to be fair we didn’t spend that much time there. But it’s such a big city and it was so grey. GREYGREYGREY. It doesn’t really rain in Lima (since they only get light drizzle the streets have zero drainage) and in winter it’s constantly overcast. Ugh, I would have a major case of the SADs if I lived there.

From Lima we went to Paracas, where we visited the Ballestas Islands for wildlife spotting. Lots of sealions and seabirds and penguins.

Hey – see that sealion with the massive head? That’s a male – ugly or what?

Ice cream sandwich with doggy photobomb. This dog was pretty manky, but had a really sweet nature.

Also, there were so many stray dogs in Peru. πŸ™

And the cats we saw were tiny. Teeny tiny. But so cute.

We then went to Nazca, which is near the Nazca Desert. I like this shot of our hotel with the barren mountains behind it.

Out in the Nazca Desert you can find the Nazca Lines, a series of geoglyths created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD. This is the hand. We chose not to do a flight over the lines, and just climbed a couple of towers in the desert to see a few.

Sunset over the Nazca Desert. Some deserts are really beautiful, but the Nazca Desert was rather beige and drab.

I much preferred the mountain landscapes in Peru. So, so pretty.

We spent some time in Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city, located in the Andes mountains and surrounded by three volcanoes.

Some churros eating happened there. πŸ™‚

From Arequipa, we headed into the mountains to visit the Colca Canyon. It was so scenic. And look! Llamas and alpacas!

I admired the alpacas on the bus ride to the Colca Valley… and then I ate alpaca steak that night… guilt…

The Colca Canyon was so beautiful. Ahh…

After that we went to Puno.

From there we visited Lake Titicaca and the Uros floating reed islands.

And continued on to Amantani Island, where we stayed a night with a local family. There was a language barrier so communication was done via gesturing. Lots of awkwardness, but it was a great experience.

From there, it was on to Cusco.

We spent a couple of nights there before and after the Inca Trail. And we did minimal sightseeing. It was great!

Instead, we ate at some nice restaurants – such as Chicha, which is by GastΓ³n Acurio.

And then. The Inca Trail. It was good, but… there were moments when I seriously wondered why I had paid to do it. Moment 1: climbing up the first pass and feeling like my lungs were going to collapse. Moment 2: climbing up the (smaller) second pass and feeling like my lungs were going to collapse again. Stupid altitude. Moment 3 – Moment 46: every time I felt disgusting because I hadn’t showered in 1/2/3/4 days.

Finally, there was this. But I was so exhausted due to a lack of sleep I could barely appreciate it.

Moment 47 of wondering why I paid to do the Inca Trail: ending up too tired to fully appreciate the greatest Inca ruin in the world. It was still amazing but I was SO TIRED. πŸ™

I felt much better when we returned to Cusco and I had a shower and got some sleep and ate at a restaurant and got a massage. (Though I’m not complaining about the food we received on the Inca Trail – it was fantastic).

From there, we went to the Amazon for a couple of days. It was so cool and we saw lots of wildlife – capybaras, two types of monkeys, toucans, a tarantula, poison dart frog, macaws and piranhas. Plus our rainforest guide found this baby snake by the kitchen and captured it to move it and to show us. Excuse my manky nail polish – it had been through four days of trekking as well as the Amazon. (Yes, we did let the snake go afterwards.)

Our last night in Peru (back in Lima), we had dinner at Astrid and Gaston. It was GOOD. I had prebooked the tasting menu – 17 steps / courses over three hours. Lots of deliciousness.

Our next stop was Quito, Ecuador, for a couple of nights. We didn’t do very much in Quito, though we did visit IΓ±aquito market where I tried yaguarlocro – a potato soup with cow’s stomach and blood. Yum. πŸ™‚

And then… the Galapagos Islands. YES OH YES. Giant tortoises ahoy!

Galapagos penguins!!

And a baby sealion that kept waddling closer and closer. I wanted to put it in my pocket and take it home. πŸ™‚

We only saw a few islands in the Galapagos – there is so much more we didn’t see. We will have to go back someday. It is quite wonderful.

And then it was all over. A whole month gone – just like that. We had a fantastic time but I must admit that it’s nice to be home and have a decent shower and sleep in our bed. πŸ™‚ Lots of more detailed travel posts to come.