Our first stop in South America is Peru.
When Melvin was a kid, he collected football cards. It was 1982 and the world cup was being played out in Spain. The cards were free but were embedded within the packaging of a bubble gum product.
Yes, there was a time when Singapore did not ban chewing or bubble gum…
Anyway long story short, Peru was one of the teams playing for a place further in the tournament. Anyway Peru did not make it beyond the first round drawing two games and losing a third. But that was how Melvin came to know of the country to begin with.
We spent 9 days out of the 14-day journey in Peru (that’s nearly 65%) and during that short nine days squeezed every possible moment out of it. From wine and dine in Lima to getting altitude sickness in Cusco and short treks on Machu Picchu, these days were fully filled with activities. Never a dull day!
Lima is a great city to explore. It was a fortuitous time, as Suan’s brother is stationed there for 3 months with Cirque. It was four days of free lodging, not to mention a free show at the Cirque! For a taste of antiquities, the Larco museum is a defining moment of the entire journey. Not least that we see so many artifacts housed under one roof! We probably should have explored the city a little more, but even spending time here in and around the hotel and seafront was sufficient holiday for us!
We spent 2 full days in Machu Picchu before heading back to Cusco, actually up to Cusco as Machu Picchu is at a lower altitude. That’s where we had begun to fall ill with altitude sickness as we had ceased to take our tablets upon reaching Machu Picchu.
Tip: don’t stop taking the pills till the end of the trip – ie when you get on the plane back to Lima at sea level. While we could not fully enjoy Cusco city itself, our time at the sacred valley was very eventful and educational. Wish we spent more time here…
Food. How can we leave this out? From super cereal quinoa to the thousands of potato and corn species, we managed to sample some of them. We even packed some home with us! One thing though, we had seen travel documentaries featuring fried guinea pigs. Never encountered this throughout the journey, and did not think about it until we came home. Wonder if this is because they did not want to turn off the tourist?
To better share our memories, we have split our journey into three segments. The first focuses on the city – Lima obviously has a lot to offer, not just ‘touristically’ but also from the culinary sense (continue reading here).
Then a separate review of the sights, sounds and smells of Cusco city and the sacred valley which we did quite an in-depth drive around just the two of us (click on this link).
Then the finale with Machu Picchu where we not only walked the grounds but actually hiked quite some distance as well (you must read this here!). Could not leave out the fauna right? So here’s the page – fantastic fauna. This is also where our triumphal photos capped off one of the most desired bucket list item.