This previous summer I embarked on my first international trip to the beautiful, South American country of Peru. I was to meet my missionary sister in the capital city of Lima—as long as I could get through customs. The trip was to be a relaxing two weeks with my older sister Heidi and her new Peruvian friends. Little did I realize, however, that I was entering into fourteen days of nonstop activity.
I arrived at the airport in Lima without any major issues and was relieved to see Heidi waiting for me. We embraced, gathered my bags, and left the airport. Then I learned my first lesson: never take a taxi if it is idling outside the door of a transportation establishment. Be patient and go down a couple blocks because the price will drastically decrease. The taxicabs in Peru do not run on meters, leaving fairs to the mercy of the bartering system. Eventually, a cab driver will concede.
The next afternoon, three others and I quitted Lima, taking a sixteen-hour bus ride to Arequipa, the second most populated city in Peru. We arrived there at about ten o’clock in the morning and toured around the city for a while. Every major city in Peru has a central plaza that contains the ritzy hotels, shops, and restaurants. In Arequipa, the “Plaza de Armas” contains beautiful European architecture, fountains, and palm trees. Every plaza I saw was wonderful, but the one in Arequipa was one of my favorites by far.
Later that afternoon, we boarded a five-hour bus to Puno, home to the largest lake in South America: Lake Titicaca. The view was breathtaking, with the mountains forming a semicircle and Puno lying in the center. We were short on time, so we could only venture about half an hour out onto the lake, but we were able to stop at one of the famous floating islands. After returning to shore, we sprinted to the bus station to board yet another bus to Cusco (an eight-hour journey). After arriving in Cusco, we set out toward the center of the city to visit the twelve-sided Incan rock. All throughout Cusco are stone walls built by the Incans with oddly shaped rocks of varying sizes but all fitting together perfectly.
At three A.M. the next day, we traveled to Machu Picchu to walk through that ancient, Incan architectural masterpiece. After several trains and bus rides, my eyes were blessed with an awe-inspiring view. Thousands upon thousands of stones make up the city, which is just incredible. It was raining that day as well, which gave us a very appropriate ambiance. Machu Picchu was most definitely the highlight of my trip.
We then returned to Lima via a twenty-six-hour bus ride, and I spent the next couple of days resting after my whirlwind trip. On July 28, we celebrated the Peruvian Independence Day by going to my sister’s church for a twenty-four hour overnight lock-in. It was a great opportunity to get to know some truly wonderful people! After, my sister and I traveled three hours to Ica, to go sand boarding. We were able to rent two boards for three hours for only $0.75! The final day, we went three hours further to Nasca to see the Nasca Lines.
I flew home with great memories welded into my brain and great friends who I contact almost daily. I hope my information was interesting and that it inspires someone else to the visit the marvelous country of Peru. For information on hotels, buses, sights, etc., visit http://www.andeantravelweb.com/peru/index.html. ¡Ciao!
(P.S. I attempted to submit my essay for an hour on the 27th of September but the website was unavailable. I am aware that my essay is late, but I hope it is accepted!)
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