I visit one of the ancient world’s architectural marvels.
The squad and I arrive into Peru. Photos, Stories, and Bucket-List successes.
We had just boarded a late-night flight from Miami, Florida, to Lima, Peru. The previous night had been full of drowsy airport shenanigans. The type of shenanigans that can only arise when you have lost so much sleep that you’ve got nothing left to lose.
We left Summer behind, and flew into a Winter on the other side of the world.
(The following flight was arguably the worst of my life. Not only was I in an aisle seat, but I was in the center row of the aircraft. This means I was away from any windows, and that I didn’t have anything to lean on. To make it worse, the woman in front of me put her chair as far back as it could possibly go. I never put my chair back because I don’t like disturbing the people behind me, so I just dealt with being smushed and upright). Even after taking a sleeping pill, there was no way I could fall asleep. At one point, I finally started to drift off, but my head smacked immediately into the drink cart.
I was immensely grateful when sunrise came, and we finally made our descent. The pink light that came in through the ovals obstructed by passengers’ silhouettes made me think it was a good sunrise over a new place, and I was sad to have missed the views.
We grabbed our bags at Lima’s airport, changed some of our US dollars to Peruvian Soles, and hunted for our Travel Company’s logo in a sea of expectantly waving signs.
We booked this leg of our trip with Valencia Travel, who were offering a $2000 flash deal on a trip that was worth well over $4000: International roundtrip flight, multiple tour guides, incredible surprise excursions and stops, Macchu Pichu tickets included, and we stayed in hotels that would have otherwise been upwards of $60-80 a night. This tour package was The Best of The Andes, and we got to experience the ocean, the mountains, and the desert.
We didn’t really know what type of crowd to expect, but were all secretly hoping there would be some people around our age group that we could befriend. We weren’t terribly disappointed when we found out we, (three 21 year old girls), would be the youngens of the trip (with the exception of one very cool Australian dad who brought along his adventurous 9 year old son). We also realized that we were probably the only ones in the group who had found the deal, since it was only offered for a secret week. We never confirmed this theory, though, as we figured it would be rude to ask everyone what they had paid.
We hopped into a very large, rather luxuriously spacious tour bus. The three of us immediately claimed the back row as our own, and for the following next two weeks, nobody even tried to beat us there, so we ended up with two full rows to ourselves, with plenty of room to lie down and hang our things. We could even change clothes if we wanted to. At one point I hung up a rainbow scarf that I had just purchased from a vendor, and hung it as a light barrier that cast a colorful shadow. Main point: It was a comfy place to call home for two weeks.
Our first glimpse of Lima was on an exceedingly grey day.
After spending the previous summer mostly in Thailand, which had never been colonized, we were definitely able to easily pick out the oppressive european influences.
The drive into the heart of the city from the airport is notoriously packed with traffic jams and unexpected travel times. Exhausted from lack of sleep the night before after an active day exploring the Everglades, we spent a good portion of this comfy bus ride dozing on and off.
The traffic didn’t stop the entire time we rode up the serpentine coastline.
Roots and bright green bushes spilled out at us over slick dark erosion.
We wound up the black cliffside in traffic soaked turns.
We watched clouds of seagulls circle over surfers dotting the frigid sea.
Our tourguides pointed out various gardens that gave Miraflores, this district of Lima, its name.
We only stopped for a moment to drop our bags off at the hotel, and then we were on the road again, time to jump in for a city tour. Keep in mind, the last meal that we had eaten was in Miami, before a sleepless overnight flight and a long drive into the city. The perfect recipe for a cranky, hungry , exhausted day.
That being said, Lima was marvelous. Bright paint colored colonial-era buildings. Red Peruvian flags waved over cobblestone plazas.
The streets were constantly congested, and even the local pedestrians looked terrified when crossing intersections hurriedly.
There was some sort of speech being given in one of Lima’s massive historical plazas. I’m afraid it’s been too long and now I can’t remember what exactly the event was about.
Here are some wondrous windows:
We also visited Huaca Pucllana, an Archeological site that showed an ancient adobe pyramid.
We didn’t end up exploring the Archeological site, which I was sort of thankful for on my empty stomach and the lack of the site’s grandeur.
We made it to Lima’s Plaza de Armas just in time to observe the changing of the guards ceremony.
Other sites from Plaza de Armas
Catedral de Lima
We entered in to an ornate cathedral, and our tour guides gave us explanations on the various carvings and frescos that donned the high-ceilinged alcoves of the echoing catherdral .
Monastery of San Francisco & The Catacombs of Lima
The Monastery, unfortunately, did not allow pictures. This was a shame, because the inside walls were adorned with some of the most beautiful Spanish tiles I had ever seen. The cracks and mosaic details were so photogenic and I lamented having to tuck my camera away, especially since I wanted some artsy detail shots that I knew I wouldn’t be able to find online.
We also got to walk underneath the building to see the catacombs. Bones rusted over in brown decay were arranged macabrely in graves guarded by thin glass. We had to duck underneath tunnel doorways and navigate around bottleneck turns.
By this point, many of us were feeling lightheaded and uncomfortable. We kept urging our tourguides to allow us to stop for food, but the tour went on for a few hours. We finally ended up at a restaurant, where I got my first taste of Peruvian cuisine.
I try this famous raw fish dish in its modern culinary birthplace.
I explore Siem Reap’s famous Pub Street & the local night market
Arriving in Siem Reap.
I ride in a basket boat in Hoi An
I visit one of Hoi An’s lovely beaches.
I have a local meal at a Vietnamese herb farm
Venice of Southeast Asia
I visit Tam Coc, Vietnam’s gorgeous “Ha Long Bay on Land”