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.
Peru’s capital – Lima, from a tourist’s perspective, is a bit of a nothing city…
Top right:Pan-American highway – strewn with garbage
…rife with shanty towns and half-finished developments.
Astrid Y Gaston, Lima
But being a big city, the more developed districts in Lima had rich sectors, with good restaurants…
1. ‘Nest’ of amuse bouche | 3. Huamantanga potato, rocoto pepper
5. 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.
10. 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.
15. 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.
We travelled south of Lima to witness the mysterious, glyph-like world phenomenon…
‘Colibri’ – The Hummingbird
…the Nasca Lines.
‘Trapecios’ – Trapezoid (right)
Such curious etchings onto the desert landscape, the one on the right looked like a extraterrestrial landing strip.
‘Arbol’ – Tree | ‘Manos’ – Hands
Here’s a photo with a highway (and a car) to give a sense of scale.
We then visited a harsh, barren natural reserve near Paracas, very odd to see desert landscape right beside the ocean.
This region wasn’t that exciting, but we had a nice hotel to stay the night.
Paracas was a rather touristy town, lunch wasn’t good even though it looked pretty.
Sopa 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.
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.
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.
The altitudes remained very high… the rolling landscapes and agricultural farmscapes were breathtaking.
We stopped by a little school along the way and said hello to the kids.
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.
We reached Puno… a dusty, haphazard and shanty-like city.
I realise when it comes to holidays, I’m more of a landscape rather than city person.
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.
On the lighter side, in terms of food in Puno, I ordered a hamburger (hambuguesa) and received this… ha ha!
Puno is situated at the banks of Lake Titicaca, a large lake that’s positioned 3800 metres above sea level.
We took a short boat ride from Puno to visit the Uros people, who lived on man-made floating islands, made from totora reeds.
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
The final leg of our Peru trip involved flying back to Lima.
The bus journey from Puno to the airport (in Juliaca) was once again filled with magnificent scenes of mountains, blue skies and farmscapes.
Half of me wish we could’ve stopped just to soak in the atmosphere…
Juliaca (where the airport is)
Amaz Restaurante, Lima
Our final night in Peru was spent dining at a restaurant serving Amazonian food.
Excellent fare… one of the highlight dishes were these HUGE jungle snails.
Hope you liked this condensed ‘photo-journal’ of Peru.
In Part 2, you’ll see us exploring the Sacred Valley, Cuzco and Machu Picchu!