Peru Photojournal, Part 1

I spent all of February this year in South America, of which 11 Days were spent in Peru. It was a tough country to travel in, but Peru gave in return some of the most rewarding landscapes and experiences out of this trip.

Lima

Peru  Day 3 to Lima Shanty Towns 7483

Peru’s capital – Lima, from a tourist’s perspective, is a bit of a nothing city…

Peru  Day 3 to Lima Shanty Towns 7435Top right:Pan-American highway – strewn with garbage

Peru  Day 3 to Lima Shanty Towns 7485

…rife with shanty towns and half-finished developments.

Astrid Y Gaston, Lima

Peru  Day 3 Astrid Y Gaston 01

But being a big city, the more developed districts in Lima had rich sectors, with good restaurants…

Peru  Day 3 Astrid Y Gaston 7526Peru  Day 3 Astrid Y Gaston 75501. ‘Nest’ of amuse bouche | 3. Huamantanga potato, rocoto pepper

Peru  Day 3 Astrid Y Gaston 75675. Peruvian corn, sea scallop, coral oil

…like this one, which ranks 35 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2012. Some of the dishes early on in the meal were truly stunning, and we encountered several new, unfamiliar ingredients.

Astrid Y Gaston Lima 2Peru  Day 3 Astrid Y Gaston 765610. Dashi, toasted octopus, black sesame… …daikon, red shiso | 11. Peking Cuy, guinea pig, purple corn, pickled vegetables 

I won’t go blow-by-blow with this epic 17-course meal, but it was good, although we seriously started to struggle for stomach space by course number 13.

Astrid Y Gaston Lima 315. Lucuma popsicle, chocolate 60% native cocoa, andean granola

Even dessert had a bit of theatricality to it. For a more comprehensive account of this degustation, read Agnes’s post on Astrid Y Gaston. She visited a few months earlier and had the same line-up of dishes.

Nasca Lines

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We travelled south of Lima to witness the mysterious, glyph-like world phenomenon…

Peru  Day 2 Nasca Lines 7224Peru  Day 2 Nasca Lines 7309 ‘Colibri’ – The Hummingbird

…the Nasca Lines.

Nasca Lines peru‘Trapecios’ – Trapezoid (right)

Such curious etchings onto the desert landscape, the one on the right looked like a extraterrestrial landing strip.

Peru  Day 2 Nasca Lines 7327‘Arbol’ – Tree | ‘Manos’ – Hands

Here’s a photo with a highway (and a car) to give a sense of scale.

Paracas

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We then visited a harsh, barren natural reserve near Paracas, very odd to see desert landscape right beside the ocean.

Peru ParacasPeru  Day 2 Paracas 7392

This region wasn’t that exciting, but we had a nice hotel to stay the night.

Paracas 1 Peru

Paracas was a rather touristy town, lunch wasn’t good even though it looked pretty.

Paracas Dinner PeruSopa Criolla (creole soup) | Lucuma, pudin, custard apple & purple corn mousse
Grilled fish w yellow pepper sauce | Fried tres leche in crusted ‘kiwicha’ 

Dinner at the hotel, however, was excellent. Loved the sopa criolla, a classic Peruvian soup made with chopped beef tenderloin, chilli paste, angel hair noodles and yellow potatoes.

Puno

Peru  Day 8 to Puno 8898

Truth be told, the highlight for Peru is Machu Picchu, I’ll document that in part 2. For now, I’ll skip the Sacred Valley portion of the trip and cover our last few days in Peru before we headed to Chile.

Peru  Day 8 to Puno 8895

After we were finished with the Sacred Valley, we spent a whole day travelling on a bus from Cuzco, through the Andes mountain range… to Puno.

Peru  Day 8 to Puno 8913

The altitudes remained very high… the rolling landscapes and agricultural farmscapes were breathtaking.

Peru  Day 8 to Puno 8815Peru  Day 8 to Puno 8826

We stopped by a little school along the way and said hello to the kids.

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To be honest, some of the best scenery in this trip were seen from behind the gleam of tinted bus windows. This girl was dancing in the mountain fields… without a care in the world.

Peru  Day 8 to Puno 8926Peru  Day 8 to Puno 8932

We reached Puno… a dusty, haphazard and shanty-like city.

Peru  Day 8 to Puno 8934

I realise when it comes to holidays, I’m more of a landscape rather than city person.

Peru  Day 8 to Puno 8939Peru  Day 9 Puno Lake Titicaca 9027

Puno was bustling when we were there. They were holding ‘La Festival de Candelaria’, a pre-Hispanic two week event celebrating Pachamama, the mother earth. The drums and dancing lasted till waay past midnight through the entire weekend.

Peru  Day 9 Puno Lake Titicaca 9020

On the lighter side, in terms of food in Puno, I ordered a hamburger (hambuguesa) and received this… ha ha!

Lake Titicaca

Peru  Day 9 Puno Lake Titicaca 8990

Puno is situated at the banks of Lake Titicaca, a large lake that’s positioned 3800 metres above sea level.

Peru  Day 9 Puno Lake Titicaca 8979Puno Lake Titicaca 1

We took a short boat ride from Puno to visit the Uros people, who lived on man-made floating islands, made from totora reeds.

Puno Lake Titicaca 2

The Uros island folk of Lake Titicaca are used to tourists, so they gave us a show and tell on how the reed islands are made, and the village way of life.

Back to Lima, via Juliaca

Peru  Day 10 To Lima  Juliaca 9049

The final leg of our Peru trip involved flying back to Lima.

Peru  Day 10 To Lima  Juliaca 9044Peru  Day 10 To Lima  Juliaca 9045

The bus journey from Puno to the airport (in Juliaca) was once again filled with magnificent scenes of mountains, blue skies and farmscapes.

Peru  Day 10 To Lima  Juliaca 9049Peru  Day 10 To Lima  Juliaca 9055

Half of me wish we could’ve stopped just to soak in the atmosphere…

Peru  Day 10 To Lima  Juliaca 9061
Juliaca (where the airport is)

Amaz Restaurante, Lima

Peru  Day 10 Amaz Restaurante 9085

Our final night in Peru was spent dining at a restaurant serving Amazonian food.

Peru  Day 10 Amaz Restaurante 9098

Excellent fare… one of the highlight dishes were these HUGE jungle snails.

IMG 7334

Hope you liked this condensed ‘photo-journal’ of Peru.

In Part 2, you’ll see us exploring the Sacred Valley, Cuzco and Machu Picchu!

Other trip instalments:

Chile Photojournal, Part 1
Chile & Argentina, A Photojournal