Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
20Trip End Ongoing
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So, we entered Peru, winding down from the Andean highs into the arid desert that is the Peruvian coast we were really happy to be headed to sea level after so long up high. After a quick stop in Piura it was through the land of sand to Mancora, at the northern tip of Peru for some sea and sun! Mancora reminded me (Alex) of the south east Asian beach resorts- pretty but tacky. We had plenty of fun, running in the desert, swimming in the sea and eating some good food. Our lovely hostel was (luckily) situated high above the boardwalk part of the town, so we were abel to mostly avoid the grating club music that the bars played even when empty. After rejuvenating on the sun and sand, on we went.
Our next stop, further down the coast was the pleasant town of Chiclayo which is famous for the Sipan ruins, a recent discovery which is still being excavated and one of the oldest known civilisations
We headed down the coast (there's a theme here, from tip to tip we hugged the coast) to Huanchaco, just outside Trujillo to see some more ruins (this is Peru after all). The Chan Chan ruins are essentially reconstructed clay temples (which again outdate the likes of Machu Pichu) which were quite interesting but we had started growing slightly weary if Peru. We noticed really big differences between our travels in Colombia and Ecuador and missed friendly locals, who loved showing us things, talking, and sharing. We also missed small towns, and the little things (food!!)
We headed down to Lima unsure what to find and where pleased to find a lively metropolitan city (and Lawrence) with great coastal views, parks, churches, cafes etc. The Catacombs, pictured, where really interesting, 25,000 people buried under a church is no joke!
So, the three of us, headed down the cost to Pisco, home of the Pisco sour! (Anna liked it Alex didn't). The purpose in Pisco was to see the Isles Ballestas, their nickname, the poor mans Galapagos, says it all! (we missed these out due to cost in Ecuador!). It was great fun, Penguins, Sea lions, birds by the million very impressive! Pelicans cruising alongside the speed boat like fighter jets where really cool.
On the trip South to Lake Titacaca we stopped briefly in Chala (amazing scenery but not much else), Arequipa, further inland set within striking scenery of volcanoes and a huge monastery that remained cut off from the outside world until recently (some nice pics below).
Lake Titicaca, at 3,800metres (12,500 feet) is the worlds highest fresh water lake and famous for itīs floating islands, Urus islands. We did the obligutary trip over on the toutist boat to see how people live on these islands, but unfortunately encountered a world of carefuly crafted tourist activities and stalls selling things from the mainland! This did kind of sum up our trip to Peru really...
Something was missing which we can't quite put our fingers on, is it the tourists? Everyone trying to sell you a tour somewhere? Locals obviuosly long ago lost interest in talking to tourists? Either way we were slightly underwhelmed and are really looking forward to Bolivia, which promises to be slightly rawer and maybe even the chance to interact with local cultures again! Good thing our Spanish is improving then!
A bit of a disappointment for us both really…
P.S. We are now well into Bolivia now and are loving it- an update will follow shortly…