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4 posts from October 2012

10/24/2012

[Insert Creative Title Here]

Its been quite a while since my last blog post but so much has happened! However, because I haven’t been keeping track of it, I’m sure I will leave lots out.

First of all, the change in seasons here, coupled with a run in the cold and the ever present smog has made me sick. I have had some sort of respiratory infection or cold for the past week despite taking medicine and drinking enough anti-gripal (anti-cold) tea to fill the Atlantic Ocean. I signed up for the Avon Breast Cancer 5k and then decided that if I was going to survive, I absolutely HAD to start running. This thought occurred one week before the race and if you know anything about health and working out you know that me starting to “train” for the race one week before was going to make no difference no matter what. So  one Sunday afternoon I convinced myself that I could go for a 35 minute run and I’d be fine.

No no no no no. I picked the worst day possible, when the fog was so bad I didn’t even need water, it was cold, and the wind was pretty strong. I went in shorts and just a long sleeve shirt and I quickly realized I’m way more out of shape than previously thought. I woke up the next morning feeling terrible and thus decided to venture to the health center on campus to try and get some meds. This visit will not go down on my “favorite memories” list because the nurse was rude and the doctor hardly even checked my symptoms before giving me ibuprofen and a medicine for allergies. I’ve took the medicine for a week before deciding that it wasn’t curing me and now I’m hoping my immune system kicks it into high gear. The good news is i’m feeling better. The bad news is I was sick for the 5k and I’m still in terrible shape.

I ran the race with my friend Becky and we were really excited that it supported breast cancer because that meant we got to wear lots of pink! We got to the park where we’d be running and everything was pink; balloons, hats, shirts, booths, musicians, it was all decked in pretty pink. We walked around oohing and ahhing at everything before making our way to the starting gate. We were basically in the back of the pack (apparently Peruvian perpetual lateness/disregard for time does not apply to organized races?) A man on a balcony of sorts led us in some stretches before the countdown started. And we were off!….kind of. Due to our “lateness” it took us around 45 seconds (which we watched slowly tick down, making us feel very slow) to even reach the starting line. Obviously we noted this so we could later subtract it from our overall time. The race went by without any real problems, except my inability to correctly pop this water baggie thing they gave us to hydrate and cool down our bodies. Instead of popping it flawlessly like EVERY single other runner, I managed to explode it all over my feet while I was running. And instead of pouring the rest over my head like a running supermodel, prepared to shake it off in an obviously attractive way, it dribbled all the way down my arm and made me cold. But 29 minutes later I finished the race! (stuffy nose/headache and all). Not my best showing, but not too shabby for not having worked out in almost 3 months and for being sick.

The month of October in Lima (and perhaps throughout all of Peru) is devoted to el Senor de los Milagros (Man of miracles) or to the best of my understanding–Jesus! So there is this church in Lima called La Iglesia de las Nazarenas and here a gigantic painted picture of Jesus on the cross, mounted on a huge silver/gold platform is kept throughout the entire year…until October. Then they hold processions on different days of the month where people carry the picture and they “process” through the city streets. Thousands of people follow the Jesus picture singing/chanting/praying/etc. I’m still not sure I understand the full meaning behind the holiday but it is a very serious event for Limenos–namely the Catholic ones. So this past Monday my host mom took me to a mass service at the church so I could see how a service in Peru is and so I could see the beautiful church and the Jesus “float”, for lack of a better word. The church was awe-inspiring, especially all the intricate work done on the inside. The pictures below simply won’t do it justice. The Jesus thing was pretty cool too and it was interesting to see the deep meaning it had to the people. Many had lined up hours prior to the mass service to get the chance to touch something to it, for it is believed to bless whatever touches it. Some brought pictures, bibles, babies, rosaries, you name it and it was rubbed on the statue. I even saw a few blind people and one severely disabled boy. It was such a neat experience and my host mom is officially the sweetest woman in Peru!!

Afterwards she took me to a place she knew to get what’s called a Turrón. Turrones are the official (but probably unofficially) dessert of Senor de los Milagros. In this case, of the holiday, not necessarily the official/unofficial dessert of Jesus. But i’m sure he would LOVE them! Its an interesting mixture of cookies, anis, honey, and any colorful candy the baker wants to throw on top. I’ve seen all different kinds of candies but the most common and plain are like the one in the picture below! Its so good but unfortunately it weighs a ton which makes me think of how terrible it must be for you to eat. Hasn’t stopped me yet though.

Halloween is coming up, as well as Day of the Dead on November 1st and I’m going out of town from the 2nd-5th so its shaping up to be a busy couple of weeks! I am done with all my midterms, and I did well on all of them so that is a huge relief. It has also just hit me that I am now over halfway done with my program and that in less than 8 weeks I will be back on US soil. I am panicked and excited all at the same time. I feel like I have so much left to do here in Lima, so much more to see/eat/experience. My friends and I are in the process of making a bucket list of things we have to do before we leave and I could not be more excited for the next 7 1/2 weeks. I know I’m leaving out things from the past 10 days or so but I can’t remember them at this moment. Until next time…

La Iglesia de las Nazarenas

Jesus “thing” that is processed through the city for Senor de los Milagros

A parade I saw (one of the things I forgot to write about!)

Becky and I at the 5k

The infamous Turrón. Mmmm…

 

10/14/2012

Instead of Studying

Instead of studying for my upcoming midterms, I’ve decided writing a blog post is time better spent. This weekend, for the first time in a while, I spent my weekend actually in Lima, not running crazily around the rest of the country. This was intended to be a weekend full of studying for my tests, however instead, I watched an entire season of Revenge on Netflix, went to the movies, ran around trying to sign up for a 5k, and spent a morning learning how to play the cajón. Success if you ask me. (Although these my be my famous last words).

Thursday I decided to run with my friend Becky in a 5k to support Breast Cancer research next Sunday (I’m going to die i’m so out of shape) so we had to go sign up on Friday to get our hats/bibs/shirts for the race. We are going to be looking fly if I must say so myself, and also very very pink. I am also super excited because my host mom just told me she wants to do the race with me to support me as I run. I don’t think she’ll run but instead will cheer me on from the sidelines, she is so sweet!!! We’ve been spending more and more time talking about anything and everything and I am learning so much from her; about Peruvian culture, improving my spanish, and about life in general. She has been such a blessing to me during my time here. Anyways, back to the race. We finally made our way to the office and signed up before heading to a movie with the CIEE group.

The purpose of the gathering was to hang out, obviously, but also to get the chance to watch a Peruvian made movie. It was called Coliseo and was about a group of rural kids who take up modern Peruvian dance to save a family run entertainment business. I’m not sure how best to describe the actual movie. Since the main theme of the movie was dance, only a few of the characters were actual actors and the rest were hired dancers with no acting backgrounds. Thus, there were times where the acting was painfully awkward and we couldn’t help but laugh (sort of when you watch US movies like Bring It On and the cheerleaders are not actors and its very obvious). It gives you an appreciation for high budget films, but it is also incredible to imagine the budgets of some of the movies in the states with all the things they can do in movies now. It was a good experience to see a Peruvian movie but I must say we are very lucky to have the type of movies made in Hollywood.

After the movie we obviously had to be typical college students and go get frozen yogurt (which I have missed so much) at Tutti Frutti! I thoroughly enjoyed the Peruvian fruit flavored fro-yos like maracuya (passion fruit), Lucuma, and Lychee which made it an experience in itself. I’ve enjoyed eating foods I typically consider very American but here are completely different or have been Peruvian-ized. Just like the time we went to a Peruvian fast food restaurant called Bembos and my plate was rice, a hamburger patty and beans. On the way to the frozen yogurt place we passed a Halloween themed set-up outside a casino and so obviously we had to take some pictures. Sticking with the food theme and with Halloween I am forever indebted to my friend Pam’s older sister who brought me 4, yes FOUR, bags of candy corns with her this past week (her family is visiting). I am embarrassed to say i’ve already eaten two of the bags but anytime I miss fall back in the US i treat myself to some candy corns and I immediately feel better (it could just be the sugar, i’m not sure haha).

Saturday morning we had the CIEE Taller de Cajon. For those of you who don’t know what a cajon is, it is a percussion instrument of African Origin made popular in Peru over 200 years ago when slaves were brought over to work in haciendas and sugar plantations. It is also known as a box drum and is played by sitting on top of it and hitting it with your hands. We each were given a drum and our teacher proceeded to show us the wide variety of sounds you could make just by using different parts of your hands on different parts of the drum. It was super cool. He taught us some basic rhythms which we put together to makethis video (I know its very rudimentary but it took lots of concentration for a non muscial person like me to keep up). At first my ability to keep with the rhythm was a little off but with practice it got easier and easier. We learned about the culture of the Cajon and how the rhythms of the beats all had meanings to the slaves, some were sad “Panalivio” and others  upbeat and happy “Festeje” and all were used in unique circumstances.

Tomorrow, instead of studying, my host mom and I are going to the Centro de Lima where the Plaza de Armas is located. I can’t believe I haven’t made it to this section of the city yet since it is where the majority of the history lies. It is also building up to Día del Senor de los Milagros on Friday when there will be a huge procession of thousands of people following a picture of Jesus through the city. I’m excited to ask my host mom more about this holiday and to learn from her all about the history of the Plaza de Armas and the cathedrals and palaces there. I will post my pictures sometime later this week after midterms are over! Until then, pictures of this weekend:

At the movies!

Mmmmm fro-yo, how i’ve missed you

Happy Halloween from Peru!

Cajón lesson

Little visitor

10/07/2012

Girl's Weekend

Back from another trip! This weekend, four of my girl friends and I decided to take a girl’s weekend and travel just a few hours away to the cities of Ica, Paracas and Nazca to relax and enjoy time in a part of the country we hadn’t seen yet–the desert. Each city is famous for something in Peru so we decided to kick ourselves into high gear and make it to each place and see what it had to offer, all in a span of 36 hours. While we were exhausted upon arriving back into Lima last night around 11pm, we felt extremely accomplished and had such an amazing time in our short trip.

We left on a 3:45am bus friday morning for Nazca, famous in Peru, and the rest of South America for something called the Nazca lines, made by the Nazca people over 1500 years ago. Located in the middle of the desert which is made up of volcanic rock and sand, these 2-3cm deep lines are famous because they are insanely accurate geometric shapes in a time where one wouldn’t have been able to see the finished product. They are also incredible because they have never been erased, even after 1500 years of sand storms, occasional rains, and tons of people traveling through the area. The best way to see all the lines, there are 25 of them, is to pay for a private flight which circles around the shapes so you can see each one. However, these flights cost over $400, are dangerous (crashes occur frequently), and as I heard from a Canadian traveller earlier this semester, lead to terrible motion sickness. For these reasons, my friends and I opted for a Mirador (or lookout) where we would be able to see 3 or 4 of the lines from about 15meters in the air. And it cost us only a couple dollars. While it was slightly less climactic than we had anticipated, the lines we saw, “frog” and “tree” and kind of “lizard”, were really cool and it was crazy to think the time and precision that went into creating these geometric figures.

We went from the overlook to a museum dedicated to the life and studies of Maria Reiche, a german anthropologist/researcher who spent over 40 years of her life living alone in Nazca and walking over 30km a day to the lines to conduct research and delve deeper into the story of the lines. The museum is at her old house and contains many of her drawings, research, and pictures of her that people who met her took of her daily life and time spent at the lines. It was neat to hear her story and see all the research she conducted throughout her lifetime.

After the lines we headed back to the city to eat some lunch and visit the Plaza de Armas before our bus to Ica left later that afternoon (like I said, we were squeezing in as much as possible in our two days of traveling). Peruvian lunches work on a system called Menú which basically means for a super cheap price, usually 7soles or $3, one can get a soup, main dish, dessert and pitcher of fruit juice. Almost all of these places are slightly sketchy where you just have to suck up any germaphobia and embrace eating in another culture where health standards for restaurants don’t exist. Since i can eat anything from anywhere, these places have not previously frightened me. However, I proceeded to find a small worm in my entrada (first course, not soup at this restaurant) and was thus a little grossed out the rest of the meal. But I did eat almost everything else for the rest of the meal, hopefully no other worms were included in this haha.

After lunch we explored the Plaza de Armas before catching our bus to Ica, where we would then go to Huacachina to spend the night in the desert oasis. We found out that we were the only passengers on the bus to Ica (the bus holds 50 and is a super nice overnight bus) so we made friends with the attendent, watched a cool movie that I still don’t know the name of and took great naps all spread out throughout the bus. Come to think of it, I’m not sure why we didn’t take over the elusive first floor, first class section, that would have been even nicer! We arrived in Ica and wanted to look for a nice place to eat dinner and drink famous Ican wine, however, apparently these places don’t exist so we ended up eating at a Roky’s haha the equivalent to a Chili’s or Applebee’s in the states. We took advantage of our less fancy meal to buy two huge boxes of meat. Enough food for over 5 people and so so so delicious. We ate chorizo, rabbit, porkchops, steak, anticuchos (cow hearts), and chicken with a basket of fries and a small salad. It was incredible. We also ordered sangria which none of us like and thus we broke all stereotypes of a girl’s weekend meal by eating almost all the meat and potatos and leaving most of the wine.

We found our hostel and enjoyed a great night’s rest before waking up to go on a Sand buggy and Sandboarding excursion. The dunes in Huacachina are the size of small mountains, obviously bigger than anything I had ever seen before. We met our guide and proceeded to strap ourselves in securely to this huge sand dune buggy that would take us on a thrilling ride through the dunes. There were definitely times where I thought we were going to die and times when my friend Becky and I screamed and held hands like little girls. Our guide took us to a small dune where we practiced using the tablets and where we were allowed to go down snowboard style before taking us to an incredibly steep dune where we were only allowed to go down on our stomachs for safety reasons. It was amazing!! I was terrified at first because I knew I’d be the one to break some bone or scratch up my entire body as I was flung from the tablet but all went well and we flew down the mountain. The next time we videoed eachother going down the dunes which was great to see the way everyone reacted. We then enjoyed a big laugh as our friend Julia was stopped mid-dune and couldn’t get any speed built back up and had to walk down to meet us. It had us all rolling in laughter. After another fifteen minutes or so we headed back to shower and eat lunch at the hostal, buy Chocotejas (delicious chocolate truffle things famous in the area) before heading out to our Wine and Pisco tasting in Ica.

Our guide took us first to the Catador where we toured the vineyard grounds, the distillery, and the rest of the process which all sounds very fancy to me and then we got to the tasting part where some of the locals had good laughs at us trying the pure Pisco which rings in at 42% alcohol. So gross. Our faces I’m sure were priceless. We also tried some of the vineyard wine which was delicious and a creamy Bailey’s type Pisco which was way less strong and that we actually enjoyed. We also tried chocolates and marmelades all made at the Vineyard. We then went to another vineyard where we tried all types of wines and piscos from these huge clay pot things and laughed among ourselves as we got sick of the alcohol and one of our girls dumped hers in a puddle on the ground when the guide wasn’t looking. After finishing up at that Bodega (coincidentally the oldest winery in all of South America) we headed off to Paracas for the final leg of our journey.

Upon arriving in Paracas we hired a private car to take us to the Paracas National Reserve, a seemingly empty desert wasteland which held lots of surprises for us and was the complete opposite of the jungle park full of animals we all expected. Instead, we saw all different colored sand dunes, prehistoric sea shell fossils, fed pelicans, ran on the beach, and enjoyed multiple overlooks of the ocean/desert paradox which were so beautiful. I would definitely say I’m generally a lover of green landscapes with trees and animals, but the views in the reserve were incredible and the ocean smelled so good. We spent two and a half hours driving all through the reserve (of course my camera died so i have no pictures of it) and then headed back to eat some seafood at a local restaurant. I had an avocado filled with seafood and a seafood bisque that surpassed lightyears beyond any I had had before and I believe will be the best I ever have. It was so fresh and had peas, rice, eggs, potatoes, shrimp and lobster in it. I think I will have dreams about it. After eating we caught our bus back to Lima. I have finally become a pro at bus riding and more importantly, being able to sleep on buses which is a must if you want to be able to stay awake the next day.

This weekend was the perfect girl’s vacation away from Lima where we conquered three cities in a very short amount of time and got to eat great food, drink great wine, sand board, and explore Paracas and the Nazca Lines. Midterms are coming up in the next two weeks so for now the fun is over, but I am so thankful for the time I’ve had recently to see more of Peru and look forward to my next adventure. Now, pictures!! (sorry there are none from Paracas! I will try to steal some from one of the other girls to show next post) 

Nazca Lines, the “tree”

Delicious dinner

Just hanging out in our sand buggy

Trying to use my knowledge of snowboarding…and later failing..

Desert Oasis town of Huacachina

Pisco and Wine tasting in Ica

Chocotejas, the famous chocolates of Ica

Ica, Peru

 

 

10/04/2012

Piece by Piece...

…I have been leaving parts of my heart scattered around Peru every time I travel. While Lima is a neat city and there is always something to do, the experiences I’ve had while visiting different parts of the country are why I love Peru so much. While it is usually foggy and chilly in Lima, the rest of the country is the complete opposite. I have loved the heat and sunsets in Iquitos, the crisp mountain air in Cusco, and the sunshine and thunderstorm paradox in Huaraz. I see cultures and communities in my travels that I want to be a part of, and it gets harder and harder to leave these places each time. I love spending time in places where people take time to enjoy the simple things in life, like family, the outdoors, and rest. This weekend, in Huaraz, I was able to relax and slip into the life lived by these people for a few days, as I spent time in a local community, hiked and horseback rode, and enjoyed delicious coffee in a cozy cafe.

After making a last minute decision to travel, I was excited to escape the city and explore the town of Huaraz, Peru, known for its amazing views and adventures in the Cordillera Negra and the Cordillera Blanca. If these two mountain ranges don’t take your breath away due to the altitude, they most certainly will take it away in beauty. I had been drooling over the pictures in my guidebook and was anxious to get there before the semester had gone by much more, because the rainy season is on its way and rain can throw kinks in plans made in an area known for its outdoor activities. After purchasing the last available ticket on the bus, I was ready to go. We took an overnight bus–my first of the semester–and I must confess that sleep seemed to be running away from me the entire night. Thus, when we arrived at 6:30am in the morning, my friends and I were walking zombies. We had trouble finding our hostel but after seemingly walking around in circles and asking almost every person we saw for directions (which i guess wasn’t many since it was so early) we made it, got our room, and passed out for a couple hours to restore energy for the day.

After eating breakfast and showering I was ready to explore the city. We walked around the main streets, looking through stores, cooing over cute stray dogs, and walking through the Plaza de Armas. What I enjoyed most about the city at this point, was the lack of touristy overload that came with Cuzco. Huaraz had a more authentic feel that I really liked. We had read about a great cafe, called Cafe Andino, in a guidebook that was highly recommended and so we decided to check it out for lunch. We had lots of trouble finding it but as soon as we finally entered through the doors, we fell in café love. The atmosphere was so cool, with art all over the walls, an in-house library, window walls perfect for staring at the landscapes, and as we would soon learn, delicious food. I had nachos with cheese and guacamole, a chicken pesto sandwich and fresh blended fruit juice. We ate and hung out at the cafe resting for a pretty good while before heading out to walk around some more, nap at the hostel, and head back out again for, of course, more food. Brooke picked a Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese food) that was incredible and which I had enough leftovers to eat some more of it at midnight and still more for the next day’s lunch. What more could I ask for??? We decided to go horsebackriding the next day, settled in by watching a movie, and fell asleep (overnight buses without much sleep are rough on a girl).

We woke up and ate breakfast before our horsebackriding guide picked us up for the day. If you know me, then you might know that I used to ride horses and that I am slightly obsessed with them even though I don’t ever get to ride anymore. Therefore, I was unbelievably giddy and I may or may not have made some overexcited faces with spurts of sqeals and jumped around in anticipation. Besides acting like a 5 year old, I feel like I remained pretty calm, but the other girls might tell you otherwise. I was given a beautiful brown horse named Canon, who had somewhat of a free spirit and was a bit difficult to manage at times, but provided excitement (along with some brief scares). Our ride would take us up through the Cordillera Negra which faces the Cordillera Blanca and thus we would get awesome views of both mountain ranges. It was beautiful from the valley and I could only imagine what it would look like from the top. I was feeling at home on the horse until we reached a small trench full of pig poop and standing muddy water and it became very clear that he did not want anything to do with it. I struggled with him a little bit, trying to coax him to hop over it until our guide finally told me it was a better and safer idea to dismount and lead him across.

I’m not even sure how to describe the following sequence but I will do my best. I went to dismount and halfway over, as my first foot sought the ground, my horse took a step away from the trench, causing me to lose my footing. My immediate thought was “it’s fine, i’ll catch myself before I fall, no big deal” but as my foot touched the ground, i stepped in the uneven lip of the trench and of course, fell into the muddy/poopy water. The entire right side of my body was basically splattered–if not covered–in the stinky gross mess. My foot had gone completely down into the mush, about a foot deep, and my arm was covered in the stuff up to my elbow. In addition to that, my bookbag was splattered as well as my pants and shirt. At that point, all I could do was laugh at the fact that I was going to smell the rest of the day and enjoy the coolness of a soaking wet tennis shoe as our guide rinsed it in some water until I could truly wash everything. I then proceeded to drag my horse across the ditch and all was well again.

We climbed higher and higher up the mountain until we reached the overlook. It was breathtaking. Our view overlooked the Cordillera Blanca, full of snow capped peaks that tower over 20,000ft and the Cordillera Negra, spotted with plots of different crops and small villages. I was in awe. God was really on his game when he made this region of the world! On our way down we stopped to eat lunch with a small community to celebrate the birthday of one of the women in the community and enjoyed live music with some fiddles and a girl singing and people dancing. They then served us soup for lunch and we rested, enjoying the wonderful weather and the interactions with the people of the community. After we reached the end of our ride, we headed back to the city where I spent some quality me time in the cafe while Brooke and Kelly napped back at the hostel. I watched as a thunderstorm came over the mountains as it got dark and could hardly concentrate on the book I had picked as the lightning over the mountains was too cool for words. I also enjoyed three cups of REAL BLACK COFFEE. After 2 months without real coffee, I was in heaven.

The next day we enjoyed time in the city, eating at the Cafe yet again, and exploring more of the streets. I also treated myself to Tuna ice cream from a street vendor. “Ick! Yuck! Ewy!” you think, but Tuna is actually the fruit of a cactus in South America. It was delicious! Bright purple with edible black seeds, and costing the equivalent of 40 cents, I had to restrain myself from buying out the entire container it was so good. We then planned our Monday activity, a hike to a place called Laguna 69 nestled in the Cordillera Blanca. Not knowing exactly what we had gotten ourselves into, we prepared for a leisurely hike through the mountains before leaving Monday night. Boy were we in for a surprise.

The day began bright and early as we met our driver and the rest of our group at 6am. After a 3 hour drive with a brief stop for breakfast, two crystal blue lakes, and an extremely rocky/bumpy road, we reached the beginning of our hike. Told the hike up to the lake should take approximately three hours and at the top we would eat lunch, we were excited to get going (food is obviously always at the forefront of my life). The first part was flat and I was thinking “easy peasy lemon squeezy this is going to be a great day of relaxation and beautiful scenery, I might not even break a sweat!” Wowowowow was I wrong. The ensuing 3 hours (yes it took us over 4 hours to get to the lake) was almost continuously straight up and coupled with my being in terrible shape and the altitude (which made it feel like I was breathing through a straw) I was basically trying to plead my body not to pass out. The pain my legs felt was almost unlike anything I had ever felt before. The views were spectacular but the constant throbbing of my heart in my head and my legs pushed us on each time, as we were anxious to reach the lake for lunch and a short break.

I will skip ahead to when we actually reached the lake, because you do not want to read about the hours in between where we considered turning around, and actually witnessed a French man do just that. Knowing we were near the lake, I got really excited (or maybe my heart was just freaking out from all the exertion) and coming over the lip, I was dumbstruck by the blueness and beauty of Lake 69. It was indescribable. I could have sat for hours and taken pictures the entire time so i’ll never forget the memory. Nestled in the mountain range, the lake is about 3/4 of the way up the highest peak in Peru, Mount Huascaran (20,000ft). There are multiple waterfalls from the snowcapped peak into the water which is extremely blue and extremely cold. It was a sight to be seen. One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life.

The rest of the trip consisted of hiking back to the car, driving back to Huaraz and catching another overnight bus back to Lima where I was, of course, met with gloomy weather. However, I was on a good weather/great experience high and spent all day yesterday in disbelief of the beauty that is Huaraz, Peru. If you ever get the chance to visit Peru, and hopefully you do, make sure Huaraz is on your list of places to see. It was full of indescribable nature sights, comfy cafes, and an overall atmosphere that you couldn’t help but love. I could literally stay there forever. While missing fall in the US, weekends like this make it even more worth it to be thousands of miles away in Peru. Now some pictures for your viewing pleasure :)

View of the Cordillera Blanca

French press coffee, thunderstorms, and a good book equals quality time in a cozy cafe

Plaza de Armas

Lago Llanganuco

Finally! Laguna 69

Mt. Huascaran, highest peak in Peru