I’m back in the US, but I had to write one more blog to talk about my last days in Peru.
I ended my time in Arequipa with a final dinner of very Peruvian food, pizza! I was with two great friends I made, Ari and Saskia.
Next it was a crazy time at the Arequipa airport. There was only one gate, but more than one plane taking off. Several people, including me, almost got on the wrong plane. Luckily, I made it back to Lima and to my hotel. I was so excited for Peruvian sushi with Cecilia, who was also back in Lima. Unfortunately, the sushi place was closed, but we still found a place for a great dinner with ceviche, aji de gallina, and free Pisco Sours.
The next morning I got picked up to go to one of the most eye opening experiences of my whole trip, the Shantytown tour. Two Australian sisters, a Canadian girl, and I got picked up by our guide and taken to one of the 47 districts in Lima called Villa El Salvador. It is a shantytown of 350,000 people in the desert of Lima, mostly located high in the hills. It was founded in the 70s by people who had lived in the Andes but left due to earthquakes, terrorism, and better opportunities. Our guide, Edwin, had grown up here and therefore had a unique relationship with the place and the people.
This place is not much to look at, and most of us could never imagine living in these conditions, but the community that has been built here is one to admire. They built something out of nothing and work together to survive.
While there we were invited into the homes of an amazing medal artist and a man who played the violin for us. They have figured out how to grow gardens (remember it is one of the driest deserts on earth), and have built a community kitchen and daycare center. This place was so incredible that they were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
The big yellow stairs were the centerpiece of the community. Everyone we encountered while walking them was so friendly and welcoming. Visiting Villa El Salvador is an experience I will not forget.
After a lunch of delicious Lomo Saltado, it was off to the coolest neighborhood in Lima, Barranco. It’s an up and coming Bohemian place with lots of artists, bright colors, and funky coffee shops.
Omar, the guide Miranda and I had our first day in Lima, was my guide again, and gave me a great overview of this cool part of Lima. Barranco is right on the ocean. Too bad it was too cold to swim, at least for me.
Overall, this trip was incredible. I saw so many amazing places and sights and met fabulous people. You would think my desire for travel and adventure would have been satisfied by this trip, but really it just has fueled my need to go out and travel more. The world is huge and I want to see it all! Peru was just one of the first stops…
“Hammer and Nail” -Indigo Girls