A Travellerspoint blog

Last to Leave Lima

Headed for Island time....

sunny 87 °F

Leaving Peru tonight - I´m done with Lima. I spent about 4 days too long here. I´ve seen all the churches, catacombs, museums and shops that I want to see. Peru was definitely easier to travel in than Bolivia. Susanna and I chose to fly instead of taking long distance buses like in Bolivia. There is something to be said about a long distance bus trip though. Makes you appreciate your personal space, air-conditioning and smooth roads.
My family was here for just 2 weeks - they are all back in the States, healing bruises and sore knees as they go back to work. Susanna has probably been to New Seasons, taken a long bubble bath, put on clothes that don´t scream ¨traveler¨and had a really good nights sleep on her 600 count sheets. (I´m just a little jealous!)
So I am the last to leave Lima - feels strange being here without anyone - it takes a bit to adjust to being a solo traveler again.
I´ll remember Peru for the fantastic scenery I saw, in the towns, markets and most of all on the trek to Choquequirao. It was a very strenuous 4 day trek up, up, up to the Inca ruins. No one told me I´d have to trek 20km on my first day! The second was incredibly vertical. My brother and Matthew did the whole 42km on foot - my mom and I opted to ride horses on the steepest parts. I have rarely been so physically tired in every part of my being- but in the end it was a celebration of my brother´s 40th birthday and it will certainly be remembered and talked about for years to come.
Next on the itinerary is Easter Island - the most remote, populated island in the world. The highest point on the island is about 500 feet - so hiking around the island to check out the moai should be very easy!

Posted by wthesenga 10:38 Archived in Peru Tagged events Comments (0)

Hasta luego Lima

Home again

Well the trip is over and I'm home & sleeping in my own bed. And while south America is not my favorite place on the planet: The Catholic overtones and lack of fresh vegetables sorta "harshed my Buzz" as the kids say. And while those 2 things were true, I did see some amazing sites and had some exceptional meals. What I learned most is that I LOVE the process of being a backpacker traveler. I love the thrill of securing a comfortable, cheap hostal room with hot water & (bonus) good water pressure. I am thrilled by the prospect that if I get on a local bus, I may end up someplace I hadn't intended, but may be more interesting than my original destination. I look forward to buying toothpaste & soap. I was born to be vagabond.
Hope some of you will follow me along starting in january 2011 on my gap year to SE Asia & India. Safe Travels.

Posted by shurford 20:49 Comments (2)

hello Lima

Breathing at sea level is so easy!

sunny 77 °F

Wendy returned to Cusco from her trek a little muddy & very tired, but in good spirits. (I would have been mighty cranky after all that trekking). We spent the following day (Palm sunday, for all you catholics, out there)at the Pisac mercado where I sampled the local chicha ( a fermented black corn brew) not bad, but I wouldn´t recommend a lot of it. The bridge to the town had been nearly washed away by the mudslides, so no vehicles were allowed, but they did let us walk accross it! I nearly was thrown in the drink by a local kid running with a hundred pound sack of potatoes. The market was lively with lots of food & local crafts.
We had a lovley good-bye dinner in Cusco with the gang & the next day wendy & I flew to Lima & David, Matteo & Judy took the train to Arequipa.
I had heard bad things about Lima so was concerned that I wouldn´t like it here, but I think it is a great city. We are in Miraflores, one of the genteel suburbs. Our hostel is in an aging colonial mansion and although it is a bit rough around the edges, with a little imagination you can see the splendor that it once was. We have one of the only private rooms with private baths and for 30 USD it is a true bargain. We also have use of the kitchen so we spent an hour or so meandering through a nearby supermarket. (I love myself a foreign grocery store). The produce, especially the fruit, is amazing.
Chifa´s, or chinese restaurants, are especially popular here, as there is a large chinese population in Lima. Many emigrated here in the early 1900´s to work on the railroad. We had a great chifa meal yesterday & plan on returning today, as well.
We have decided against travelling to Trujillo, which would have been our "beach vacation". The bus ride was too long & flying was too expensive. So we booked ourselves 3 nights at the Radisson! Ocean views, rooftop pool with bar & international cable television. I plan on power lounging; reading & swimming & drinking cerveza.
Hard to believe I´ll be home in a week; just when I get used the the traveler life it´s OVER!

Posted by shurford 10:58 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Rainy day in Cusco

How to spend the day in luxury on a backpacker budget


"Buenas tardes, senorita" chorused the doormen at the Hotel Montasario. Being firmly in my senora years, I smiled widely & returned the greeting,as I entered. The Hotel Montasario is a former monastery turned 5 star hotel, with rooms starting at $560 per night (certainly out of my price range). But I had read that it has beautiful public spaces & I wanted to catch a glimpse.
One of the privileges of being an American traveller is that you are welcomed in any high-end hotel provided you have reasonable posture & don´t smell of urine.
The first thing you notice about the former monastery is just how imposing it is: high stone walls, flying buttresses overhead & a fireplace in which you could roast a goat. Despite it´s Jesuit roots the lobby bar has a welcoming feel. Large oriental carpets are sactttered about , overstuffed sofas & high-backed, red leather chairs are arranged in cozy seating arrangements. I took a seat near the roaring fireplace & within seconds was greeted in flawless English by my server. I ordered a pisco sour (natch) and a bite to eat (freshly fried veggie chips with guacamole & some sort of yellow pepper puree). Curled up in the big wing back I felt just like the lady of the manor and was treated as such. It was a lovely way to escape the gray drizzle.
After I had finished my book (Bel Canto) and had my rest, I headed back to San Blas for some dinner. Papa Pancha is a charming restaurant situated in a courtyard with a fireplace & a reputation for good Andean food. I ordered the vegetable & quinoa soup with a maracuya sour (similar to a pisco sour but with passion fruit puree). All was well until the American blowhard at the adjoining table started in on his monologue. "blah, blah, there is this great Andean restaurant in San Franciso, blah, blah". I tried to tune him out, but he was so close & so loud & so obnoxious he forced his way into my conscience. He continued, "blah, blah, ya know I was disappointed by Macchu Pichu, blah, blah" he says to his dining companion. SERIOUSLY?? Well, fuck-you.
I wanted to scream, "At you least you got to be there, I came all the way here & it´s CLOSED, you smug bastard, so fuuuuck you."
He continues to drone on....."blah, blah, blah, I hope I get some sleep, the altitude gives me horrible insomnia, blah, blah, blah". I wish him a thousand sleepless nights as I finish my soup.

Posted by shurford 07:20 Archived in Peru Comments (3)

Cusco sights & sounds


Here we are in the lovely city of Cusco. It really is a beautiful city. The weather has been great; sunny with light breezes. The food has been fantastic. We ate at Chi Cha, one of peru´s celebrity chef restaurants, and had a fantasic meal. The swordfish ceviche was amazing & I had the cuy(guinea pig) yes, it tastes like chicken. I also found a great little tamale lady who sells the best tamales I have ever had. Light, tasty cornbread stuffed with spicy goodness. I went back twice yesterday.
Yesterday we hiked to sacsayhuaman, site of the Incas last stand against the Spanish. Very mystical and awe inspiring. The Incas were amazing builders & craftsman.
The tourist industry has not recovered from the closure of MP & the city is void of travellers. Nice for me, but hard on the locals who depend on tourism for their livelihood.
Wendy, David, matthew & judy all left today on their trek, so I am left to my own devices in Cusco for 4 days. We had hoped that we would be able to make it to Macchu pichu, as it opens on april first, but all trains are sold out until the middle of April. Wendy & I decided we will do macchu pichu in in the future & in style & take the hiram bingham train.
Today i will explore the neighborhood of San Blas, where our sweet little hotel, Hostal El Grial is located. Tonight I am going to trivia night at one of the local pubs: wish me luck!
see the photos.... upload time is painful, but I will try to keep up to date.

Posted by shurford 06:51 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

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