Grand Finale at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu in the morning fog

Selecting the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu as “Grand Finale” for my round-the-world trip worked perfectly. Reading books about the discovery of this site did put me in the right mood, as I was preparing the trip from the nearby city of Cusco. There are several ways for the pilgrimage to Machu Picchu. The most famous one is the “Inca Trail” (or as the locals call it: “Gringo Trail”). But it seems that I have come here a couple of years too late: Peru has professionalized its tourism infrastructure and it is therefore not possible at all to hike this trail independently. Fares for organized hikes – including porters, cooks and already prepared tents on arrival – range from 300 to 700 US dollars for the four day hike (depending on the agency and the bargaining skills). More annoyingly, I would have needed to book this trek at least four to six weeks in advance. Continue reading “Grand Finale at Machu Picchu”

Buenas noches, sexy woman in Cusco

Peruvians relaxing on a hill near Cusco

Cusco is the tourist capital of Peru. This city boasts with tour groups, hawkers, nice restaurants, cafes, hotels – and: splendid sights in and around town.

Although prices are obviously more expensive than in the rest of Peru, it is still possible to maintain a budget. I splurged a bit on the hostel, but I wanted to ensure that there was hot water for the showers at any time of the day (which is not so common in this country). Cross-financing the extra I paid for accommodation, I decided to moved around in “urbanitos” (city buses) and “colectivos” (minibuses), instead of taxis. Continue reading “Buenas noches, sexy woman in Cusco”

Puno for the embarrassed

Typical roof decoration

“Puno is a hole.” This is the answer I’ve got by a weird traveler when I asked him the smalltalk question “Have you been in Puno?”. Honestly, I did hope to get some information about this town situated at Lake Titicaca – or at least get into a casual conversation. Because I got bored during the two hour border stop waiting for our bus – going from Bolivia to Peru – to be cleared by the officials. But my conversation partner definitely had traveled too long alone. During his monologue, he never answered my questions, but would brag about how stupid all tourists are – obviously including me – and how much more authentic his way of travel was.

Continue reading “Puno for the embarrassed”

Being in bad shape among the nuns in Arequipa

Arequipa Downtown

The plan for Arequipa was to visit the “Canyon Country”, which features the deepest canyons in the world. Located roughly 100km away from the city of Arequipa, the Cañon de Cotalinas is 3354m deep. Nearby Cañon de Colca is insignificantly “higher” at 3191m depth. Since my impending flight dates leave me with little time, I tried to book the canyon trip ahead – which failed.
Continue reading “Being in bad shape among the nuns in Arequipa”

Drawing a line in Nazca

Nazca Lines, figure: Monkey

Nazca and its alien spaceport – called the Nazca lines – was a fun experience. Not that I honestly would believe in the alien theory. But there are so many explanations as to why these lines exist, that I just randomly picked one that I liked most. Being a series of geoglyphs, the creation of the lines is believed to have happened between 200 BC and 700 AD. The lines represent a lot of different individual figures, such as hummingbirds, monkeys, fish, spiders and more. Some of other lines are simple geometric figures. Continue reading “Drawing a line in Nazca”

Sniffing other people’s wet towels in Lima

Streets of Lima

After a four hour flight from Santiago de Chile, I arrived in the capital of Peru, Lima. This was a considerable change of culture. There is so much more of the good and the bad. More colors, churches and food variety. More traffic, pollution and crime.

As for the latter, local people avoid the city center after nightfall. At least, this is what some of the Peruvians I met, stressed to me. They genuinely seem to be concerned about the tourists safety and are very eager to share tips which areas to avoid at which times. As a visitor spending only little time in places, I never know whether I should trust such information or not.

Most of the time, I have the feeling that the scares are media-generated and some people seem to actually boast about their place being the “crime capital”. South-Americans seem to love the television documentary series, where camera crews follow police officers during patrols and other police activities. I can see these omnipresent shows anywhere in shops and restaurants. Sometimes, they are part of the regular news program. Continue reading “Sniffing other people’s wet towels in Lima”