The first time I heard about Peru was in 2005, we were to shift there in a few months and we were busy packing everything, getting our report cards from our school and saying goodbyes to friends. We were to go via New York and it would take us approximately three days to reach Peru, the first thought that came to mind then was how it felt like we were traveling to the other side of this world. The feeling of leaving something behind is pretty intense. As an 8-year-old, it felt like the end of the world. Even shifting schools is pretty overwhelming for kids, talk about countries but there I was, with my subtle but always there brother and parents spending our first night in Peru in a hotel called “El Plaza del Bosque” loosely translated as “the plaza of the forest “. They had very good buffet breakfasts and a very peaceful surrounding. Every night this really sweet lady would knock at our door and give us chocolates as a goodnight treat. The rooms were quite big with a mini food counter, a big closet, and a living room too! It was a quite lavish hotel. The water fountain in the reception area was a nice touch. We spent a few days and there, I was first introduced to Power Rangers obviously in Spanish. It, later on, became one of my favorite tv shows of childhood including Pink Panther and all the other Cartoon Network series :p.
As time went by, thankfully, I got accepted in Colegio Franklin Delano Roosevelt ( founded in the mid-1940’s), a well-established school. It was an hour away from our home but it had the biggest English library at that time, making the two-hour trip every day worth it. In my three years stay there I learned a little about their Music, their Dances, the language, the culture, their traditions and the people themselves. Like all foreign families in Peru, we also wanted to see the country and visit all their best places. We took every chance we got to see the places in Peru.
Nazca Lines are situated on the southern side of Peru, they are mysterious lines whose purpose and origin are a mystery even till now. We don’t know how they were made, how they are maintained, why they were made, by whom they were made for certain. Over 300 different figures are sketched on the Nazcan Desert, that wind or natural erosion has failed to erase them.The weather there helps in preserving them though since there’s little or no wind at all and the area is isolated with only one town nearby called Palpa. They are pretty big which is why they are better visible from a flight, or even nearby foothills. People believe that the lines were made by the Nazca Culture in the past but again, there is no real evidence and we don’t know why. They have private planes for the very purpose of sightseeing, we got one there and saw most of the figures around us. It’s pretty magnificent to watch, call it awe-inspiring. The town nearby; Palpa has restaurants that deliver the BEST food you will ever taste! We were so hungry after visiting the Nazca Lines, we entered into the first restaurant we saw, it was run by an elderly couple *_* who cooked the food themselves. The husband took care of all the orders and customers while the lady made all the food! I found that very romantic and a nice way to spend your years. Food and the hustle bustle of new tourists every day? Cmon that’s cool! The lunch I had there has been one of the best lunches of my life and I still remember the satisfaction my hungry belly had and the delicious taste of handmade marinara sauce in my mouth with the smell of freshly baked bread, garlic bread and basil leaves in the room. You could smell onions and tomatoes and cheese being cooked and everytime sir (the husband ) would open the kitchen door to bring in more food, the room would fill with all the dishes’ smell making our mouths water even more. If I remember right, we ordered three times and were probably the most hungry customers they had that day.
Machu Picchu is THE place to be at in Peru. The wind is so strong once you climb those Incan steps. Dayum! I felt like I’ll be blown away, I was so scared I crawled around the place,lol. We arrived at Cusco first and then took a train to Aguas Calientes aka Machu Picchu Pueblo, the train ride is 20 minutes long. When you reach Aguas Calientes, you start feeling different. Aguas Calientes has hot springs there and the whole place has this steamy, full of vapor look, it feels like you’re in some movie. People walking around in traditional clothing, tea stalls, kids running around. You can take a break and sit there if you like.From there, it’s a short walk to the bus stop from where the buses start to climb up the mountain. You can trek your way up but that would be a personal choice. The height causes respiratory problems and headaches but they have this yellow colored herbal tea, you can drink for the headaches. The view of Machu Picchu is surreal. It is so worth it, you won’t wanna leave the place. If you observe, the Machu Picchu looks like a sleeping man’s face, sideways. When you see this, standing at those Incan stairs with clouds around you and wind gently but still fiercely blowing on your face, with the smell of grass filling your nose and a 360 degrees view of mountains around you, wrapped in clouds will make you fall in love with the place.
Cusco is a city in the Peruvian Andes, it used to be the capital of the Incan Empire. The city has a Spanish Colonial architecture. The houses have wooden balconies and ruins of the old walls are still there. Sitting in those antique styled benches in the square remind you of scenes from Godfather where they cover the story in Sevilla. The town has many points of interests, such as Saksaywaman, It’s this Incan complex made out of huge stone walls that needed no mortar. The stones are carefully and tightly stacked on each other, the building style really is commendable. They have a lot of museums there too. The town gets a lot of tourists since it also comes in the path towards the Incan Trail to Machu Picchu. My Spanish Teacher once taught us about the Incan Civilization and she mentioned how Incans believed in the Sun God and that they were all born from him. The Incans believed that their Sun God was born in a lake called ” Lake Titicaca”, it’s situated on the border of Bolivia and Peru. We didn’t have enough time to visit it, but it sure sounded interesting. The people in Cusco have this ancient festival from the Incan times where they call their Sun God and celebrate him. It’s called Inti Raymi. It takes place on June 22nd and shows all the vibrant colors of the Incan Culture. They have really cool dances and costumes, it’s worth attending.
Lunahuana River is a very long River in the Lunahuana District near the Chincha Province. A lot of water related activities can be done there, We reached there the next morning and went for rafting. The guides there are pretty helpful and friendly. Horseback riding is also available there. It was my third horseback ride of my life and it was pretty funny. I always found the horse moving under you really funny since we move in a silly way. I am not sure if camping is available near the river but they have nice shacks near the river with local food and parking lots for your car. A warm meal after rafting in the cold river water is pretty satisfying. The shacks have a typical traditional Peruvian Look.
Huacachina is a desert oasis and tiny village, it’s so small you can cover the whole village by foot. The green lagoon’s shore is filled with bars and pubs, I was too young at that time to visit those pubs but everyone who went seemed to have had a good time. Sandboarding is also available here since the village is surrounded by sand dunes. The village is extremely quiet in the day time and ideal for relaxing with a cocktail on the roof. The Hotels are pretty cozy and well maintained too. We were in a hurry when we went to Huacachina so we didn’t get to sandboard or anything like that but it’s surely a place to go. Celebrities also come to such places to find some alone time and get away from the crowd of fans. you’d be running a fair chance of running into one at a place like that.