It’s time to wrap things up. I am writing this from cloudy and windy Dublin (thanks Ireland for delivering with the summer weather as usual <3), listening to The End by The Doors and the memories are getting hazy but it would not be fair to leave Peru out of this blog altogether.
Our days in Peru included the most touristy experience ever - The Floating Islands - and days wasted in Puno, a great week in Cusco, last hiking in Machu Picchu, a 14 hr bus turned into a 19 hr bus to an oasis in the middle of the desert, expensive sandboarding in Huacachina, three days in Amazonas, tan & chill in Mancora, and lastly couple rainy days in Lima.
One could also describe our time in Peru in terms of “skip that, we’re not hiking” which led to not going to Rainbow Mountain and Huarez at all. Just couldn’t be bothered any more. And I am pretty sure those colors of the Rainbow Mountain are photoshopped into the pictures afterwards anyway so I hope we didn’t miss that much.
The place worth of our last hiking efforts was Machu Picchu. You would think that after all the ruins we visited in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala nothing could impress us. This ancient Inka summer house proved us wrong. The views are just breathtaking and you can’t understand how all of this was built on top of a mountain. Now of course there is a bus to take all lazy (including us) tourists aaaalll the way to the top and back so that one wouldn’t need to bother with walking that much.
We wanted to get a true birds-eye view of the place and climbed the Mountain Machu Picchu where only 400 people are allowed in a day. Hell of a climb and not the safest either. Narrow, steep pathways where Richie opted for a child-like crawling style. This 2 hour climb paralyzed us for the next couple of days and we were barely able to come down stairs from our hostel.
Cusco is full of history and beautiful buildings and here I got to experience the “wtf”-face of the trip as I dragged Richie around the city searching for different points of interest. We went around and around a couple of times in this one neighbourhood and once we finally got to the place, you should have witnessed the reaction when I told him that “the place” was a 12 cornered stone. :D But when you think about it, it’s actually quite impressing. Inka’s building technique is renown for the fact that they fitted different shaped rocks together and this specific rock has 12 corners in it. He still wasn’t that happy.
From Cusco we finally started to go towards a warmer climate. Huacachina is an oasis in the middle of sand dunes in the coast of Peru. Normally you come here for a day to do buggy driving and sandboarding in the dunes. The cheap way is to get a “board” (really a slice of wood) which you lie on and speed down the dunes OR you can pay more and get an actual snowboard. As an ex-professional snowboarder I chose the latter and as a “man who thinks he can do anything” Richie did the same. He has tried snowboarding once before. Ten years ago.
And it wasn’t easy. Sandboarding is like snowboarding on a very heavy, slushy spring snow. The kind where you get stuck right away. First try was quite shit, second ok and the third one went well (apparently I made a nice little jump in the beginning that got the crowds gasping). For Richie first try was quite shit, second try was quite shit and third one not as shit. Fun times!
The Amazonas was a place that we were supposed to experience from Bolivia. But a combination of being very hungover + trying to use the shittest airline site ever resulted us saying “fuck that, we’ll go to the jungle in Peru”. Iquitos is in the upstream of Amazon-river and we ended up going even more upstream to the Pacaya Samiria National park where no-one is allowed to build lodges and you must sleep in local villages, tents, or if you are rich, in one of those fancy river boats.
Choosing a company to go with is super difficult unless you have a lot of $$$. We went for a bit more expensive operator with mostly good reviews and got a really good experience. Our guide spoke good English and with the boat-driver they were great company. Of course being in the jungle for a short time you can’t expect to see all the animals but I got a few good shots of birds, sloths, toads, and hopefully some good video material of pink dolphins.
The pink dolphins look actually quite freaky - not like dolphins at all. Locals are also afraid of them (because they believe they take people and that dead people turn into pink dolphins) and won’t swim in the rivers. We heard the dolphins swimming under our boat and banging against it and I was sure this was our time.
I don’t have that much photo material from our last stops. Mancora was a place to have breakfast, go to the beach, tan, read, have dinner, sleep and then repeat this for seven days. Richie also tried surfing and as a very wise man (as he likes to call himself) paid for all five days in advance. He caught waves maybe during two days. As I said, a wise man.
Everything must come to an end and while I bet some of you have felt like our wonders around the world would never end, for us it felt like a brief second. Now that I am lying in bed back in Dublin I can’t believe how many places we went to and how much we experienced. “Luckily” I have hundreds of minutes of video material to be edited into another ten-minute mini-documentary, maybe that will take us back to the road for another short moment.
The End - thanks for following along the journey!
That’s all folks for now - future posts will be about how to become a best-selling author (without actually being one yet so that should be entertaining!) and how to live in a cramped studio in Amsterdam without strangeling each other so: Stay tuned.