A Travellerspoint blog

Prologue....a time to reflect

It is hard to believe that we have been home for a month now. We left the blog on Mother's Day when we were heading back to Lima. I feel bad that I didn't finish off the story of our trip at the time. Better late than never, I guess.

Our acclimatization back to sea level went very well indeed. It was very evident that most of us function better at sea level than at 11,800 ft. above sea level. Lima has an interesting seaside climate that leaves it in the mist and fog most of the time - this will be our lasting memory of the city. Some of the students learned the hard way that the sun still penetrates so there were a few sunburned bodies after they had spent the day at the zoo. We had a long free day to explore the city. Some visited the markets for some last minute shopping, explored the mall with familiar and not so familiar stores and restaurants. A few ventured to the movie theater and found the English version of a first run movie.

A highlight for some was finding a sports bar close to the hotel which was filled with excited Canadian hockey fans. They were all there to watch Game 7 of the Boston/Toronto hockey series. It ended sadly for some Maple Leaf fans.

The long, long day ended with our departure to the airport, goodbyes to our guides and our departure from this amazing country. Through no help from the U.S. Custom agents we made our very tight connection in Dallas and arrived safely back in Calgary.

We have had time to read the student reports and to reflect on our stay in amazing Peru. It is a country of wonder - how did they build Machu Picchu, Pisac and Ollataytambo? It is a country of wonderful, joyful people - the children are so adorable, especially the little boy with his mom in one of the shops who pulled down a pile of folded scarves and blankets so he could make a nest for his afternoon siesta. It is a country of culinary delights - who knew there was so many ways to cook and serve a potato?

Thanks to GAdventures for helping to make this trip possible and thanks to Jose and Neil, our wonderful and mindful hosts. To the student travellers we hope you keep all of your memories of this 'bucket list' trip in your hearts for many years to come. We will leave you with some random photos of the trip that didn't make the blog entries before now.
Hot Springs II

Hot Springs II

Peru Rail to Machu Picchu

Peru Rail to Machu Picchu

Local cerveza

Local cerveza

Kisses in Cuzco

Kisses in Cuzco

Peruvian desserts

Peruvian desserts

Pisco Sour class

Pisco Sour class

Canadian tatoos

Canadian tatoos

Soccer game

Soccer game

Posted by jonaway 12:40 Comments (1)

Feliz dia Mama!

Happy Mother's Day

overcast 17 °C

This has been such a busy trip it has been hard to do a blog post every day. I will add to it upon our arrival in Calgary. We are in a very foggy Lima today. It will be a long day starting with a free day and a 10 PM departure for the overnight flight back to Calgary.

Well, yesterday was Mother's Day and, boy do they celebrate in Peru. For those of you reading who have sons and daughters on the trip I hope they contacted you in some way. If not, know that they treated the moms on the trip in very special ways.

Every country has traditions so let me tell you about Peru. All Mothers receive very large, heart shaped balloons with Feliz dia Mama on the balloon. Our thoughtful guides, Jose and Neil, made a point to go out and buy balloons for the three mothers on the trip. We also got rose lapel pins. and they sang to us! How sweet of them. Thank you gentlemen!

Also in Peru, families buy large cakes for the celebration. I have never had so many well wishes yesterday. Every person we encountered in the airport wished us Feliz dia Mama. We received cookies at the check in counter. Every store have little gifts. Then, to top it off, at the gate in the Cusco airport four of the airline staff gave a goosebumpy, Il Divo like performance of Mama. So very special

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Posted by jonaway 05:35 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Potatoes, Popcorn and Peru

Today's cooking lesson....

sunny 20 °C

People may not think of Peru when it comes to food but the country is home to outstanding culinary delights and some unusual and local foods. Our guide tells us that Peruvian cuisine is second only to France

First, you need to know that Peru has about 3000 varieties of potatoes in the country. There are a few common varieties that are generally served in the cities and towns. Most of the others are grown in small communities. It seems that Peru has the perfect climate for growing so many potatoes. They also dehydrate some versions to save for future use. we were told this is not the tastiest way to enjoy potatoes.

Pisco sours - the local drink is Pisco Sours. I believe I have written about these local specialties. The more we try the better we like them.

Popcorn - did you know that popcorn originated in Peru?

Corn- next to potatoes, corn is the other major crop. Just like potatoes there are many varieties, including a jumbo version that is sold in a boiling pot in a lot of stalls. Aside from rice pudding, the other major dessert is purple corn pudding, a jello like pudding using Purple corn. It has an interesting texture, to say the least. They also deep fry the kernels to make a Peruvian version of our corn nuts - Maiz Chullpi. Corn is also used to color some of the yarn used at the women's weaving project.

Coffee - we learned that Peru grows a large volume of coffee but does not export it directly to the world. They sell it to Columbia who then packages it and sells it to the world. Go figure.

Cheese - The Peruvians make some of the most excellent cheeses, mostly salty versions with a feta like texture. They also have another cheese that is similar to the Greek Saganaki. It also makes excellent pizza.

Cerversa - the local brew is Cusqueña. They have a bit of a monopoly however we have tried the 1.1 litres of Pilser, brewed since 1863. I know that because we are sampling one of those right now! :)

Coca tea....we forgot to talk about the local brew in Peru, coca tea. It is said to have ingredients that help the effects of altitude sickness. Not all coca tea is the same. The most traditional type is a large handful of fresh coca leaves in a teapot with boiling water. It is quite delicious and seems to work well. I think it tastes like green tea. The coca leaves are sold in bags in the market and can be chewed. And of course, there is also coca candies.

Cuy is also a local dish that some of the students tried. Yes, guinea pig is served in many restaurants. I was dining at a different place that night soon pictures of this yet. I did hear comments that it was quite tasty. The other meat dish seen quite often on the menu is alpaca.

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I will leave you today with a photo that shows the care and flare that is used when serving food here.

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Posted by jonaway 04:47 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Conquering one of the wonders of the world!

sunny 22 °C

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A picture speaks a thousand words, so today I thought we should start with the world famous photo of Machu Picchu. It lived up to all of our expectations.

Some of the group had a sneak peek of Machu Picchu yesterday after hiking the 10 km. last leg of the Inca Trail. It started at Km. 110 and finished with a spectacular view from the SunGate. The hike took about 6 hours and then time to enjoy in the quiet of the late afternoon, sans tourists. There were a few tired and achy muscles but it seems the trip was worth it for everyone.

We were up early this morning, expecting to spend some time waiting for the clouds to clear before taking our photos. The surprise was that the weather was perfect, a bit cool but blue sky all around. We were prepared for cold weather but soon had to start peeling the layers off. The end result was some sunburn and bug bites.

It is hard to describe Machu Picchu. To those of you who have been there you know what we are taking about. The Inca civilization was built over a one hundred year period by about about 1000 Incas. This is even more remarkable when you think that they had no technology, no engineering and primitive tools.

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It has been a really long day so we will add to this tomorrow. We are all safely in Cusco,tucked in for the night. Thanks for reading ur blog.

Posted by jonaway 20:40 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Potatoes, Popcorn and Peru

Today's cooking lesson....

sunny 20 °C

People may not think of Peru when it comes to food but the country is home to outstanding culinary delights and some unusual and local foods. Our guide tells us that Peruvian cuisine is second only to France

First, you need to know that Peru has about 3000 varieties of potatoes in the country. There are a few common varieties that are generally served in the cities and towns. Most of the others are grown in small communities. It seems that Peru has the perfect climate for growing so many potatoes. They also dehydrate some versions to save for future use. we were told this is not the tastiest way to enjoy potatoes.

Pisco sours - the local drink is Pisco Sours. I believe I have written about these local specialties. The more we try the better we like them.

Popcorn - did you know that popcorn originated in Peru?

Corn- next to potatoes, corn is the other major crop. Just like potatoes there are many varieties, including a jumbo version that is sold in a boiling pot in a lot of stalls. Aside from rice pudding, the other major dessert is purple corn pudding, a jello like pudding using Purple corn. It has an interesting texture, to say the least. They also deep fry the kernels to make a Peruvian version of our corn nuts - Maiz Chullpi. Corn is also used to color some of the yarn used at the women's weaving project.

Coffee - we learned that Peru grows a large volume of coffee but does not export it directly to the world. They sell it to Columbia who then packages it and sells it to the world. Go figure.

Cheese - The Peruvians make some of the most excellent cheeses, mostly salty versions with a feta like texture. They also have another cheese that is similar to the Greek Saganaki. It also makes excellent pizza.

Cerversa - the local brew is Cusqueña. They have a bit of a monopoly however we have tried the 1.1 litres of Pilser, brewed since 1863. I know that because we are sampling one of those right now! :)

Posted by jonaway 11:40 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

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