A Travellerspoint blog

Magical Cusco ♡♡♡

Oh my god. I have fallen in love with a magical place!

So everything has been amazing since I left Lima, I was sat at the airport and plane was a little delayed so some Mexicans entertained us with some music and dancing. Then I think I hear my name in an announcement "Chemma Incent" I hear, I thought "oh shit, what have I done wrong, am I standing at the wrong gate? Is there something wrong with my luggage?" I looked at the boarding pass of the person next to me had "phew, thank fuck it's all good. Maybe it wasn't my name they called?! I will just queue and wait". Turns out they were calling me, I'd been upgraded to business class, of course I looked the part particularly with the Oakland hoodie on that has random oil stains on it. I was seat 1A! I tried to act cool but a little leap and a hug to the security man popped out.

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I sat next to the window, next to a man that I believe would have bought his biz ticket. It was so surreal. I do feel a bit awkward being waited on like that though, I wanted to help the air hostess. She was so lovely. I was in the air and I felt so happy I could have cried, not because of the biz class seat, just everything. I do feel very lucky with all the people I have in my life - a very supporting Tommy, most amazing friends and the most caring family. All the supporting words that helped me get on the plane, the good luck charms, the little presents, the heads up on things to pack/buy. With work allowing me the time to do it, and to be able to go back to a job I absolutEly love. Just feel so lucky!!! Anyways enough of that mumbo jumbo.

Of course if it wasn't already obvious that I'd never been in biz class before it certainly was when I started taking photos!

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(So much leg room I couldn't touch infront of me)

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(Gorgeous food and real crockery!)

I think it was the view from the airplane the got me. I haven't had a view quite like it before.

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Pictures can never quite capture what you actually see.

Anyways, we landed and got off the plane, I came over all panicky and my feet felt really light. A lovely lady came over to me and gave me a Coca leaf and asked of I was ok (Coca leafs help wit altitude). I just stood around for a little bit to try and feel a bit normal (I think if I stood around for a lifetime I still wouldn't be normal). I went to the toilet and did a 2 minute meditation to help me before 'confronting' the big scary taxi men haha. I walked out of the toilet and jut took in the airport, like no airport I've ever been to, no security about, the offices for info / currency were little huts with wooden signs, it was a bit like going back in time, I loved it. Right time to pick up my luggage and get a cab. My bag felt so so heavy, I don't normally struggle getting it on but I did, I figured this was altitude - apparently you can get quite out of breath wit it. Taxi men were trying to say it's 40 sol, I got um down but paid him 27 anyways because he was lovely.

Driving through the streets, oh my I loved it, it was so lovely, it was so old, no where near as many cars - oh I love it I thought. Only downside are the dogs, there are stray dogs wondering around. In thailand this scared me shitless and I don't have Tommy to scare them away! I'm sure it will be ok, im relieved I got my second rabies jab thats for sure! Anyways we continue through and I see yoga and meditation rooms, this instantly excites me! I decided that's what this part of my trip is going to be about, yoga and meditation!!!

I get to the hostel Pisko & Soul - it was amazing. I loved it. They actually had a bar unlike the last place that apparently did!! It's such a gorgeous building. Very small and quant. The man behind the bar, I forget his name now showed me to my dorm, I'm staying with 2 other girls who I'm yet to meet because we all got in at different times. I've never shared a dorm, so it's a new experience. I chucked my bag down and went straight to the bar, sat there and drank about 5 cups of Coca tea, it sorted me out, I stared feeling normal.

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Chatting away to the guy behind the bar about where to go after Cusco, he gave me some tips, I have already changed my plan!

There are lots of people around, it was a nice atmosphere. The owner of the hostel walks in and hears us talking, he points at me and says "Gemma?" He explains there's a free cocktail making evening, his friends have a new bar and want to see what 6 people think, would I be up for it. Of course I said yes. He said "ok, we go now" haha! So off we went. My head was saying maybe I shouldn't had been there about 15 minutes and because of the altitude but my heart said fuck it, meet people, free booze, I'm on holiday and what's the worst that could happen - I'd be an idiot not to!! As we were walking and chatting I found myself short of breath, the air felt a little light like I couldn't get enough (and we were walking down hill haha), I didn't like it but figure you just deal with it.

6 of us get to this bar, sat down and introduced ourselves and a bit about us, everyone cracked up when I said I had landed in Cusco an hour and a half ago, they thought I was crazy for going out and boozing with the altitude. Ha! So we watch a slide show that was actually very interesting about booze amd bar tenders.

Next we stand up, put aprons on and stand around a table, there's 5 or 6 bottles of Pisco lined up, I'm worried! I have been warmed about this stuff. It's a white brandy made in Peru from muscat grapes (42%), the bottles that were lined up were all from a different grape. We had a little shot of each. It's ok! Then we did cocktail making, it was so much fun and such a laugh. The owner of the hostel - Edward is an absolute blast! Both of us were adding in a little extra alcohol in each of the cocktails. There were 2 girls who are spanish, Chrissy who is German - she's a great laugh, Chrissys mate, ah no I have forgotten his name - he's very spiritual, we chatted for a while - very ineresting!

The guy running the cocktail night said apparently my body is coping very well and adjusting fine, apparently he has had to take a lot of people to the hospital because of it! That's mental, didn't realise it could be that bad!

Everyone is awesome! It's such a change of atmosphere and scenary to Lima. I don't want to leave!

Back to the hostel we went for some coca tea. Decided I fancied a cigarette so went outside and Edward came too, I was saying about how no one smokes in Peru, he said they used to but everything changed. I wonder if England goes that way the more smoking bans are introduced. I asked him about the dogs and he says they are ok and wont hurt just be cautious!

So I have decided that it will most probably be a trip for mediation and yoga AND BOOZE. Tonight there's something happening at the hostel to do with Pisco haha, funny how thingo can quickly change haha.

Now for my first full day in this magical place :) :)

Mwah xxx

Posted by gemvinny 06:22 Comments (0)

Peru - Lima Central

sunny 20 °C

Hola!

So the rest of the yesterday was a little mental, I walked out of the bar, the clouds had parted, the Grey sky had gone and the sun was bright and shining away. So down to the cliffs towards the beach I walked, I stopped along the way, nipped for a quick pilsner in a sports bar - I was expecting men and sexy bar ladies, there were sexy bar ladies and men, and women too. It was ok, nothing too special in there.

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I then carried along down to the cliffs, contemplated going right down to the beach side but there isn't much going on so I walked back up, jumped into a cab and went to Lima Central.

Fuck me, what a journey, it reminded me a bit of Thailand in the cities - every man for themselves, no one gives a fuck about anything, if you get in that space first then it's yours, if you are in the middle of 2 lanes the other cars have to deal with it or toot their horn constantly, I just kept laughing to myself, I quite enjoyed it. I suppose thats te sick sprt of thrillseeker i am.

As we headed towards the city center it became a lot more built up, a bit like what I was expecting Miroflores to be like, although there were still old and run down buildings at any turn. I could tell I was in an American country by the traffic police blowing their whilstle and waving their arms about directing traffic - this really confuses me, cars just end up going through red lights and listening to the traffic police, so what's the point in the traffic lights? Then again if I think about central London in rush hour maybe it would reduce congestion?

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It reminded me of Rush Hour, I thought 'ooooh, it really happens' - some might call me naiive! The other surreal thing were men and women running up and down inbetween lanes on motorways, yes it was rush hour, but by no means was the traffic stand still, I feared for their lives, but found it so interesting to watch! The taxi man shouted at me in Spanish - I wondered what I had done wrong, apparently I should put my phone in my bag with the windows open - people come along and steal them. It's scary how much theft clearly happens in Peru (what I have seen of it so far) - pretty much every restaurant have clips on the chairs so you can clip your bag to it, I suppose it's like it in any city.

There are police EVERYWHERE in Miroflores, I noticed when I first got their how much I looked like a tourist with my camera out, my map and book on Peru. The 'tourist police' have spoke to me a few times and asked if I need help, then I decided everything stays in my bag until I decide I need it. Like they say - danger never takes a day off.

Anyways, back to where I was - I got dropped at Plaza San Martin where I instantly got approached by a Peruvian man, he was very nice, he helped a little with my spanish, then looked at my itinary in Peru Central and explained a bit to me, then we spoke about the English government.

Off I went on my little planned tour around Peru Central, after Plaza San Martin I headed down Jiron de la Union which is described to be a 'humble pedestrian passageway' - whoever the fuck wrote that has a different version of humble to me, instantaneously a young Peruvian bloke who spoke very good English tried to get me go and get my tattoo touched up and maybe a new one, he told me.what he does and even what block and flat he lives in, asked if I wanted to go to his rave that night, I didn't fancy that! The best way to move on was to give him my facebook details and move on. Someone offered me some drugs, didn't fancy that so just kept walking.

Pretty much every man that was near came up to me said something in Spanish, look at my knockers and gave me a cheeky wink, it just made me laugh oh and I pick up my pace sonewhat and clutched onto my bag a little bit tighter haha. It happens in Miroflores but the men don't go out their way to stop you and talk to you - it's just taxi drivers shouting and winking and men you pass say comments and a cheeky wink. I decided at this point I would just do my tour and get back to Miroflores before sun down. As soon as I put my camera away and my Peru book and walked in a 'non mess about' manner it didn't happen so much.

There were some very impressive statues and buildings I visited - Iglesia de la Merced (a beautiful Chruch), Plaza de Armas (a square where Lima was founded), La Catedral de Lima (Cathedral), Palacio del Gobierno (Palace - I missed the changing of the guards - I didn't realise this was a thing in other countries - annoyed I missed that! Neeeever mind!), Parque de la Muralla - this was my favourite part of the city, there weren't many people there, just a few locals asleep on a bench having a ciesta, a few tourists and some couples kissing - clearly somewhere you take ya date for a bit tongue. Schexy! It's called the city park where the remains of the city wall laid. What I loved about here was the view, to all the colourful buildings on a mountain in the not too far distance, I was hoping I would get to see something like this, the houses are all different colours and just cluttered together, I don't know why but I just loved the view. I had a look around the ruins which was lovely, the sun was setting in the background, where you could see the silhouettes of the palm trees. After this I headed towards Mercado Central - two blocks south of the central market - this place was right in the hustle and bustle of it all. It was fucking mental! There were stalls everywhere - you could buy anythings you fancied, childrens clothes - this seemed a bit strange but I can't quite put my finger on why, there were stalls designated to selling carrier bags, note pads, meat - which just stunk everything out - I could also smell and hear the meat being cooked by the butcher- I thought that was quite interesting, designated stalls for bras, knickers, sicks, clothes. Everything! There was even a little old lady that didn't have a stall, or a table, anything....she was just putting knickers and bras on the floor asking if I wanted to buy! Then another little old lady started throwing up, which really turned my stomach - time to move on I thought!

The last place I visited was China town, I think pretty much everywhere I have been there's been a China town! Maybe not Amsterdam actually. Pretty much everywhere though! After this I thought I would just have a little wonder and see if I could navigate myself back towards the first place I got dropped off to have cocktail in Gran Hotel Bolivar - sure enough I got lost and decided I didn't fancy a drink anyways. Jumped back in cab and went back to my town, Miroflores.

I sighed, a huge sense of relief, I was looking forward to getting back to Miroflores that I felt I knew so very well. I walked to the area where all the shutters were and sure enough, little cafe - restaurant - bars were open, they were a lot more barry and quirky.

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I had a couple of Pilsners then back to the digs.

I have to say I wasn't too fussed leaving the hostel, it's my first ever hostel so the bar has been set, I don't think it's going to be hard to beat. The cab driver on the way to the airport was a legend, taught me some spanish, wrote it on his hands and I had to repeat it (yep whilst driving), told me about the different places we were driving through, the ones we would get shot if we went at night - luckily I have no need to go to these places, but appreciated the heads up.

Now I'm at the airport and have a really good feeling about Cusco. I emailed the hostel to ask how much to expect to pay for taxi, they were really helpful, said nopre than 20 sol and don't let them convince me to go to another hostel, they do that just because theyes get commission. That instantly made me feel at ease and made me think it's a going to be a good hostel. Hopefully I will be ok with the altitude, apparently some people get really sick from it. Fingers crossed thats not gunna be me!!

A film recommendedicated by my mum and dad "Out on a limb", an old film - 1987. I have watched that whilst packing my stuff away, it's about a Shirley Maclaine and her spiritual finding in Peru and aliens. Made me wonder what the fuck I may come across, little green men maybe!

Eeeeek so excited!

Adios amigos! !

Posted by gemvinny 04:13 Archived in Peru Tagged lima central miroflores Comments (0)

First impressions...

overcast 20 °C

So here I am in Lima, sat in a cafe - restaurant - bar witha Cola Zero. So.... after travelling for 22 hours I got to my hostel -Eurobackpackers, left my backpack there as it was only 10am and checkin wasnt until 12noon, english time it was 3pm, to me it felt like 8pm. I have never been able to sleep on a plane, this time it wasnt much different, it didnt help the fact i was sat next to a bronzen brown espanion, I didnt want to end up dribbling on him and sleep talking to him.

I flew to Bogota, Columbia then onto Peru. I was completely overwhelmed when I got there, soooooo many taxi men waiting and shouting, I explained in the best way I could that I had already arranged a transfer, so this lady told me to go through this specific door, I walked through the door and again was bombarded by taxi men and people holding up signs with names on, I eventually found my man and off we went. Even then I had people halla-ing at me to get in their taxi.

The drive was amazing, that feeling when you are overwhlemd, in a country for the first time and dont know what to expect, the country seemed so run down, yet so beautiful. The taxi driver and I exchanged a few words but not many, I was taking it all in. One corner run down buildings, the next sharp corner gorgeous sea views, next sharp corner jut green and more green. I expected the buildings to be more modern the closer i got to Miraflores (where I'm staying), that wasnt really the case. After dumping my bag down, I just decided to go for a wonder, with the realisation that I'm completely and utterly dependent on googlemaps even in Brighton I decided to write down some landmarks to remind me where the hostel is. Lima is actually quite easy to navigate around, roads are all very square and straight. The other strange thing about the buildings, you can go from really old and run down buildings to a big modern building, I store or an extravagant Casino. The juxtaposition is quite strange!

I headed to the beach, found an outdoors shopping ctr that was realllllly modern and full of shops and lotsof restaurants - it felt very touristy, I stayed for a drink, saw some surfers, had a vodka and orange, looked at the cliffs onto the beach and the main roads on the cliffs. Quite a view! I decided to head back up north and find some less modern bars.

I searched and searched.... and searched for a bar that I could sit outside to people watch, have a beer and a cigarette - nope, nothing. It was sunday afternoon so wondered if that was the case, what I have learnt about bars - even if they are outside, u cant smoke in them, after my initial 'ah man', i figured I needed to be more open minded to the culture, I think its a good thing you cant smoke there. Most of the bars are restaurants - bars - cafes, i havent yet been to just a bar. Many of them from the outside look run down, uninviting and a bit dingy - inside lovely and friendly. Alot of shutters have been down in my first 24 hours of being here, Im wondering if tonight there will be more things open.

What I noticed when sitting in Haiti (bar - restaurant - cafe) was the culture, there were some gardens I walked through (parque Central) with some live music, stalls, men getting their shoes shined and cats, a lot of cats, they all seem to congregate in this park, very strange indeed, children and adults just wondering up, picking the cats up and cuddling them, there was also a young lad teaching children and adults how to roller blade. I decided to sit outside Haiti and just watch. There seemed to be a lot going on, there was a nice atmosphere and a feeling of togetherness.

I got back to the hostel checked in, had a moment where i just wondered what the hell i was doing and just felt like I wanted to go home and cuddle Tommy (wet I know). I decided it was probably due to no sleep for however many hours it had been by this point. I fell asleep and woke up at 8pm Peruvian time, i instantly felt better but was also annoyed that i hadnt made myself stay up to get used to the time difference. After much deliberation I decided to go back out for a wonder, at least for some water. I found a lovely cafe that wasnt too far from the hotel, got my lonely planet book out and had a few Pilsners.

I got some water, went back to the hostel, had some Calms and fell back to sleep until 5am. The build up to this trip and the travel had clearly got to me, the lack of sleep had caught up and taken its toll. I have never slept for so long, it was just what I needed. I woke up today feeling fresh, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Went through my backpack because its so heavy and full - threw out some clothes- I need space in case I want to get presents. I had a shower, that wasnt the best experience - it was pretty dirty and it was cold! Then went downstairs and had breakfast - the guy thats now behind the counter - Charles is the nicest yet, very helpful, chatty and nice. He served me my continental breakfast (a coissant), explained my name in Spanish means yoke (from an egg).

I have done a tour of Huaca Pucllana which was very interesting - sandy ruins of ancient civilisation that goes back thousands of years, the bricks are individually sculpted by men, they are vertical like a bookshelf with a little gap inbetween each brick so they have space to move, 20% is restoration and 80% original, just made from mud and water! An interesting belief they had about death, you don't die, you move to the next life but the person that dies needs to take some of their belongings with them and they need someone to show them where to go, these people were normally always children. They had tombs of families in grandfather and his grandchild that was killed to show him the way. All very bizarre and interesting! Then Sass (tour guide) took us to see some guinea pigs and told us how yummy they taste and have 0 cholesterol in! Apparently the same with llamas, then the llama sneezed in my face to the amusement of everyone else!

Weather - i was checking constantly on the lead up to my trip, it was meant to be late 20s, whilst its quite warm its very overcast, which is fine and apparently thats how Lima always is - it has a nickname of Lima the grey (so Sass tells me). I have checked Cusco (where i am heading tomorrow and its meant to be stormy all week - my trek starts friday, fingers crossed it doesnt affect it, legs and arms crossed the weather changes it's mind again and the sun comes out!

People - I haven't met that many people yet, the hostel I'm in doesn't have a bar as it said on the website and I got a private room incase I was jet lagged (thank fuck I did despite the creepy crawlies I have nonoticed in my room). I have a feeling Cusco will be a little difference, so I'm taking this time to enjoy by myself :)

Now for my last afternoon and night in Lima!

Over and out!

Posted by gemvinny 10:48 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

DISCLAIMER - this blog will contain foul language!

Pre trip jitters!

ITINERARY:

PERU : 8th August
ECUADOR: 26th August
MEXICO: 1st September
CUBA: Undecided!

So I am heading off on a 6 week trip to South and Central America, I will be on my own for a month travelling and exploring Peru and Ecuador. I'll then head to Mexico for some tequila and to meet the lovely Tommy after a few days / week / however long in Mexico we will head to Cuba to do some more travelling - ending in Holguin where I will be bridesmaid alongside Carolyn and Emily for the beautiful Katie and Nick.

As it stands, I'm quite nervous, I didn't expect to be but peoples tails and stories have put me on edge a little - I'm accepting the nerves and I suppose they will make me a little more cautious. It's going to be so strange being away from Tommy for a month! I know I'm going to miss him and everyone but time to woman the fuck up. I'm also really bloody excited to just relax and see awesome things- no work, laptop, stress for 6 weeks, I get to do something I have always wanted to do and travel alone and do some fun shite.

Plans so far - most flights have been booked, a trail to Machu Pichu has been booked and hotel at the end of it for the wedding has been booked. I will book my first couple of nights in Peru and wing the rest of it eeeek! Vaccinations are next week - a few days before I go so hopefully that will be ok!

Spanish known so far:

Hello - Hola
Beer - cerveza
Yes - si
No - no

That's all I'm going to need right?!

Posted by gemvinny 02:08 Comments (0)

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