Peru

Budget Gourmet: Washington, DC

Budget Gourmet: Washington, DC

Washington, DC is a great place for foodies. The cultural diversity in this town is equal to cities like New York and Chicago. Your culinary options range from local food trucks that line the sidewalks around L’Enfant Plaza to the top celebrity chefs’ restaurants in Georgetown that are invading the city in hoards. It all sounds pretty great but eating out can be expensive especially in DC, where an average lunch + beverage will cost you $15-$20. Fortunately, there are still some eateries in the Washington metro where you can stretch your $20 bucks and leave feeling satisfied. …

Peru 2014: Day 10

Peru 2014: Day 10

After a cold night accompanied by monstrous rain, it was morning once more. I woke up earlier than normal because of the hail but was glad to see some clearer skies on the horizon. I also caught the sunrise over the lake which was one of the most beautiful ones I have seen in a long time. …

Peru 2014: Day 9

Peru 2014: Day 9

I was able to sleep in a bit today since my pickup schedule wasn’t until 7:40 AM. I was due to visit the islands of Uros and Amantani and spend the night with a family at the latter island. Ever since I’ve read about Uros, I was intrigued by it and it was actually one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Titicaca. I must say that it was every bit as interesting but I was also surprised at how touristic it has become. The people seem genuine to share their culture to visitors but I found them just as eager, perhaps even more so, on selling their products to tourists. …

Peru 2014: Day 8

Peru 2014: Day 8

Today was a travel day of sorts. I left Cusco for Puno via the Inka Express bus service. It was part expedition guide and transport to Puno. The bus was comfortable which was a big plus considering I was there for ten hours. The stops included a couple of colonial Spanish churches of significance in Southern Peru as well as an early Incan site. I didn’t quite get everything the guide mentioned about the site but I thought it rather strange since it was the first Incan site I’ve seen where it was a mixture of Adobe and stone architecture. Lunch was included and it was just okay. The best part was the flan. …

Peru 2014: Day 7

Peru 2014: Day 7

Today was my second day at Machu Picchu. I had a ticket to climb Wayna Picchu, the mountain towering over the main site and the one you can see on practically every picture taken. I had some concerns about making the trek since my stomach was acting up. Thankfully it settled a bit so I was able to go, albeit a little later than I planned. …

Peru 2014: Day 6

Peru 2014: Day 6

The day started with a train ride to Aguas Calientes. The scenery was beautiful. The route followed the Urabamba River and cut through the valleys of the Andes. In many ways, it looked like parts of California or Switzerland but the geography certainly changed as we got closer to Machu Picchu. Suddenly, there were more trees and a more tropical feel. The train made a pit stop to let out some folks who will brave a one day hike towards the sacred place. An hour and half later, I arrived at Aguas Calientes and was met by my Machu Picchu guide, Julio. …

Peru 2014: Day 5

Peru 2014: Day 5

It was onto the Sacred Valley for day five. The morning started with a group tour of the sites of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Our first stop was at a smaller artisan market prior where we got to take pictures with the adorable alpacas. It had approximately ten stalls selling typical Andean artifacts. I got my mum’s magnet and bought another chess set, this time with Inca pieces. …

Peru 2014: Day 4

Peru 2014: Day 4

Today commenced the second part of my trip, Cusco. I had an early morning pickup and flew on Avianca from Lima to Cusco. It was a surprisingly good flight. The plane was larger than I expected and the descent to Cusco was pretty amazing. The view from the windows made it looked like you were able to touch the mountain peaks. …

Peru 2014: Day 3

Peru 2014: Day 3

Today was my free day in Lima. I started the day by walking towards the Oval of Miraflores. There was nothing significant about the area except that it was where the bus stop was to go to downtown Lima. Prior to heading back to downtown, I decided to stop by the market that one of the hotel’s receptionist told me about thinking I might be able to find my mum’s magnet but to my surprise, it was mostly fresh meat and produce. It was an interesting experience to say the least. It was apparent that the majority of the shoppers here are locals. Shoppers almost always knew the names of the vendors. …

Peru 2014: Day 2

Peru 2014: Day 2

It was a light day today. I went to the supermarket closest to the hotel to get some provisions and ordered my first meal in Spanish. My experiences here so far have convinced me to work on speaking the language because not very many Peruanos speak English. The main event today was the shared city tour of Lima. Being driven around the city was a nice way to see the different districts, each with its own distinct personalities. One thing that struck me was the architecture around Lima. Not just in Old Town where colonial period dominates but everywhere. Houses and regular buildings around Miraflores have a mixture of classic and modern styles, not to mention bright colors. …