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.
Peru is a place of vast amounts of detail. From towering ruins, to pebbles on the ocean, to the unique culture, there are so many little pieces of Peru that can easily go unnoticed. There so are many little details and things that are often overlooked for larger features, such as Machu Picchu or the Nazca Lines, and I have hoped to cover details in my typical posts, but here are some odds and ends I would like to highlight on.
Huaca Pucllana, mentioned in my summary of Lima, Peru, is a towering pyramid that was hiding beneath a motocross pit. It was built in 230 BCE and it is easy to see all the hard labor that was put into effect. The bricks alone are a perfect example of all the effort it must have taken. Each brick was handmade and left in the sun to dry. From there, the builders would pick it up and bring it to where it would need to be. Imagining the people behind each of these is hard to conceive, but a very interesting thought. Throughout traveling, try to expand your mind and think about these individuals. They crossed my mind a few times throughout this trip.
Peru’s art is easy to overlook because there is simply so much of it. Handwoven textiles and murals are everywhere. I would certainly advise bringing at least one thing home (or many, like myself). Many of the woven materials are made from alpaca and some are created by hand. Blankets are easily available in markets, which are found all over Peru, along with other trinkets. Another popular item is the torito, which is a little ceramic bull used to bring good luck upon a family by placing it on top of a roof. These come in many colors and sizes, and are quite cheap.
Peruvian food is also incredibly amazing. Not only is it wholesome and filling, but it is also quite delicious. Because of so many different elevations with different levels of oxygen, the variations in corn and potatoes alone is incredible. Most of their food is very fresh and not GMO or treated with chemicals, unlike the US. I ate so much there. In almost every dinner, you will have a bowl of soup, typically quinoa or squash. For the main course, trout, chicken, and alpaca are all popular, with sides of veggies and potatoes. Also considered a delicacy is the guinea pig, which is usually cooked rotisserie style. In the bigger cities, anticuchos, or beef heart, and churros (my favorite), are found in the streets. If you are looking to try some new beverages, Pisco sours are the national drink (egg white, lemon, syrup, and Pisco brandy), and chicha morada, is also very popular. It is a purple drink from the juice of purple corn in the Andes. It is very sweet and helps with lowering blood pressure.
Lastly, I would like to bring attention to Peru’s ability to hold onto their traditions and culture. Growing up in the US, there has never been much of a set culture due to the melting pot of immigrants. But in Peru, there is a distinctive and vibrant culture. People are very hospitable and proud to be Peruvian (very evident by the time we spent watching the men’s soccer team in the World Cup 2018). Many people choose to wear traditional clothing as well, and typically for more than just a tourist profit. I loved how true to themselves the people were, even in the most touristy attractions. This alone makes Peru a beautiful place.