A Summary of Lima, Peru! (2/12)

NOTE: This article is part of a series of 12 articles on Peru and the many beautiful aspects of this country. There is a post for each day I spent there, although some may not be relative to that particular day. I intend to post two articles a week for this series, on Thursdays and Mondays.

I have spent almost my entire life in a town of 7,000 people, occasionally making cities a drastic and sometimes difficult difference. However, Lima captured my heart with its energetic environment, beautiful street art, and things to see.

In my 12 day trip to Peru, our first stop was to Lima, where we stayed for about two days.  Our hotel was El Tambo 2, in Miraflores which was an awesome but cheap spot for being close to so many things to see and do. I would completely recommend this hotel. Plus, if you have friends in another room, you can communicate via atrium!

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One of my fellow EF travelers, Josh, in the atrium

We saw many sites in Lima, of which my favorite were Huaca Puccllana, San Francisco Cathedral, and the Pacific Ocean.

Huaca Puccllana is an ancient pyramid that was only discovered recently in the grand scheme of things. It was once a motocross track before they realized something was underneath it, and sure enough, a pyramid built by the Lima people was buried below. However, after decades of work to uncover it, there is still about 30 years of work more to go before it is entirely unearthed. It costs 7-12 soles (2-4 USD), depending on if you have student ID or not.

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The uncovered portion of Huaca Puccllana

The San Francisco Cathedral is so incredibly beautiful and full of rich history. It was built by the conquistadors and still stands today. Some of the best parts to see are the library that houses books all the ways from the 1500s and the ever so popular catacombs. The low ceilings hover over all the arrangements of real human skeletons, and a tour guide will tell you of the process used to be buried there. Honestly, I felt like I was in the Goonies with all the bones and labyrinth-like passages. In terms of price, it’s 15 soles (5 USD), which includes the entry and a 45 minute tour.

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San Francisco Cathedral Catacombs

Lastly, the Pacific Ocean is so incredibly beautiful and offers such great views of Lima. Two of my favorite places on the coast were from Parque del Amor (Park of Love) in Miraflores as well as on the beaches below. Luckily, seeing this one is free! Here are some pictures to emphasize the sheer beauty:

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One of the many beaches
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Miraflores Coast
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Parque del Amor

Food in Lima was incredible and relatively cheap, with a full lunch being around 30 soles (10 USD). Peru food often includes chicken, potatoes, and some vegetables, but how it is prepared varies from place to place (all are very good though!). However, there are many other options that are common such as alpaca and anticuchos (beef heart), as well as many different types of vegetables. On our first night, I had all of these food items from a restaurant called El Parquetito. The food was delicious and the hosts were very sweet. Just look for the yellow umbrellas! Also, as a treat, a vendor across the street sells churros in the park for 3 soles (1 USD), which are incredibly good. I highly recommend them.

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Potatoes, corn, and from top to bottom: chicken, pork. alpaca, and anticuchos

Also, as I mentioned earlier, the street art is beautiful! Here are a few examples:

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I’m so glad I got the opportunity to go here; it is absolutely beautiful! I would recommend Lima to anyone and hope to return one day!

Fifteen Years.

Fifteen years is a very long time. To some it may only appear as one glimpse in the grand scheme of things, but in all reality, it has the potential to hold many opportunities.

In fifteen years, a child can make macaroni paintings in kindergarten, pretend to be a horse on the school playground, attend their mother’s funeral, start middle school, find teachers who are role models, struggle with Mother’s Day, find new friends, begin their final years of education, join the cross country team, travel to other continents, learn many languages, embrace herself, start a blog, and realize how cancer played a part in her life.

This brief list of events was what the last fifteen years consisted of for me. But while I was growing and developing into who I am today, another team was at play, intertwining into lives of others to lift them up and improve them. To help alleviate the same sorrows that burdened my family when we experienced the horrific beast named cancer. To take care of the little things so that they could focus on conquering the biggest obstacles. To show them that in this battle, they have love and support as their alliances.

You see, these everyday heroes are the members of Celebrate Life. My aunt and her team who spend all year concocting an event that will help those afflicted by cancer in this area and they have utilized the last fifteen years improving and bettering this benefit. Alas, this will be the last Celebrate Life Fun Run/Walk. As the old adage says, “all good things must come to an end.”

However, that statement is not entirely applicable for Celebrate Life, as it has not reached its final year. Sure, people will not be piling up on Dog Beach, anticipating to walk under all the balloons, and listening to Bashful Dan’s music, but that does not, by any means, mean that Celebrate Life and its legacy has reached an end. My mom’s wish for the community to help those in need will continue, just not in the same way it has before.

I greatly appreciate all this community has done for us and its cancer survivors and I ask you all to join us, for one last walk before we transfer into new and bright beginnings.

The Colors of Peru (1/12)

NOTE: This article is part of a series of 12 articles on Peru and the many beautiful aspects of this country. There is a post for each day I spent there, although some may not be relative to that particular day. I intend to post two articles a week for this series, on Thursdays and Mondays.

Upon arrival to Peru, one of the most outstanding aspects were the colors. From markets to flowers to food, this country excels in adding red or yellow or any brightness and shade to everyday items. I had many photos to choose from to share, so I chose a select few and edited them to black and white for the color to pop out even more!

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Growing up in a small town can make it difficult to adjust to big cities, especially ones that are full of 10 million people, which is precisely what Lima is. We spent most of our time in Lima in Miraflores, an upscale district, where the coast meets the big city. This beautiful rainbow wall was on the path to the Pacific Ocean.

2329B90D-B01A-4F0D-82F0-1C77BDDE14D2Also in Lima was the Larco Museum, a placed mainly focused on pre-conquistador history, such as the Inca, the Huari, and the Lima peoples. It was very fascinating to see all the relics and their garden was exceptional. I enjoyed photographing the many plants.

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After two days we flew to Cuzco, the capital of the Incas. Here, two flags are often flown: the Peruvian, red and white flag, and the Incan one, which is seen above. The Incan flag is often confused for the LGBTQ flag by many travelers.

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Nearly everywhere in Peru has street murals. I adored all of them, especially this long chain of them that we passed on our way to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It depicted much of the history and culture of the nation.

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If you ever travel to Peru, you will find these everywhere. They are called toritos and they are often on top of houses to provide good luck for the family. They come in all sorts of colors; I bought a gold one and a blue one to bring home. In a way, they almost remind me of Swedish horses.

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These two birds were lingering outside of the Pablo Seminario pottery workshop we visited to make tiles and understand Peruvian art. The blue one could speak and grumbled a few “hola”s for us as we passed by. I had never seen a talking bird before and I was very excited to find one.

283AB99F-12AF-460B-84A7-D3A8D7DA3D97This view from the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu was absolutely amazing. I have never been in a more beautiful place. The yellow blanket that I carried was bought in a market in Lima. In my Machu Picchu photos, it complements the scenery well.

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Markets are everywhere in Peru. This one was very close to our hotel in Ollantaytambo. This place was my favorite out of all the places we stayed in. It was small and welcoming, and the people were absolutely exceptional. I could live here for years and be quite comfortable!

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I don’t know how much he will appreciate me posting this, but it is too good not to! This is Tin Tin, our marvelous tour guide in Peruvian women’s clothing on Uros Island. He is a fantastic person and guide and made the trip the best it could possibly be. We could not have gotten a better person to be with on this journey. We already miss him, but hopefully we will reunite soon!

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This picture will certainly resurface again on my blog because it is by far one of my favorites. This little bundle of joy was with us on the Mercedes Benz boat (their nicest reed boat, hence the name), and spent the time in the sun, playing with her older brother. I absolutely adored this family; they were so gracious and kind to us. They were completely patient with our gringo Spanish too!

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This was one of the beautiful textiles I purchased in Peru! Its made of alpaca and is incredibly soft. The lake behind me is by Sillusitani, an old Incan burial ground. This was also the last site we saw in Peru and I was sad to be leaving such a beautiful place!

I’m sure I will stress this over and over again throughout these posts but honestly, Peru and its colors are just so stunning. If you ever get a chance to go there, take it for sure!