Peruvian Homestay

While traveling, our journey took us to the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. Here we had the opportunity to stay with a Peruvian family for one night to gain a perspective of local life. It was a really interesting experience. After a lengthy boat ride, we arrive at the dock where we were greeted by the locals. Once in the village center, we were given traditional outfits to get prepared for  the “dance party.”   The party was quite entertaining. There was lots of music and laughter between us visitors and the locals. When were done, we hiked up to our home stay for the night. There was no electricity, so we ate our delicious dinner ( 3 kinds of potatoes, soup, quinoa, and rice) by candle light. Peruvians love lots starch so rice and potatoes are served at every meal.  You most certainly never leave the table hungry!

Here was our view the next morning:

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Gorgeous right? At around 7:00 am we headed  to the kitchen to make some grain like pancakes ( think something like fried dough) for breakfast. Our hostess did the actual cooking as the stove was a heated by a live fire.  Our cooking efforts came out pretty tasty. IMG_7232

After breakfast it was sheep herding time. Yep you read that right. Sheep herding time. We got the sheep out of pen and started to lead them to pasture. Herding 15 sheep to one spot is not as easy as it looks. Let’s just say I would rather knit with the wool than care for the sheep. They are quite stubborn. 🙂

 The night before I told my hostess that I liked to knit. Knitting is not uncommon among Peruvian women. Everywhere you go women have yarn slung around their necks and their fingers are moving rapidly. One thing I noticed was that not many women used patterns. It seemed that in most communities access to patterns was very limited. My hostess had never made socks before, so she asked me to show her how to make some. The task was too great for a couple of hours ( we only got to the heel gusset) so I am going to try and mail her a pattern. The only problem is that all of my patterns are in English. So if any of you know of any basic sock patterns in Spanish please leave the link in the comment section or email me: knitbywhit@gmail.com. It would be much appreciated by the local women.

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Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience. I don’t know if I personally could lead a life like this, but it is always intriguing to be able to take part in the local way of life while traveling.

~W

Conquering Machu Picchu

Hello all! I am finally back stateside, which means I have reliable internet.The internet  was so slow in Bolivia I could barely load pictures. So for the next several posts I will get you up to date on my vacation adventures.

It has been a couple of weeks now, but I am in still in awe that I did it. I hiked the Inca Trail and made it to Machu Picchu in one piece YAY! It was the thing I was most worried about on my trip. Don’t get me wrong I love hiking, but hiking up to altitudes of 4200 meters for 3.5 days straight was a little intimidating. I definitely psyched myself out with all the blog posts I read and YouTube videos I watched. Here is a recap of my encounter:

Day One-  The anticipation had built up and I was a ball of nerves. I was going to do this…yikes! The first day of hiking was not too bad. Basically some rolling hills on a dirt path. A pretty good warm-up in my opinion. We made it to camp in the early evening and enjoyed a  beautiful night under the stars.

Day Two-  By far the hardest day of the hike. We hiked for about 7 hours straight and ascended around 1000 meters. Hours 1-4 weren’t that bad. The scenery was quite pretty and I had a great playlist on my iPod. It felt like any other hike I had done in California. Then hour 5 came. I hit a wall. I was getting dizzy and I felt I could not catch my breath. I had to stop every 50 paces or so to rest and convince myself not to quit. Thankfully there were some encouraging people in my group and they got me through the “Dead Woman’s Pass” to the summit of the mountain. The sense of triumph I had was unbelievable. I did it!

Day Three-  I could finally enjoy the scenery. Since it is mostly downhill, I could focus on what was around me rather than concentrating on all of the pain I was putting myself through. We got to enjoy some lovely ruins, snow capped mountains, and jungle-ish landscape. Aside from some blisters I was feeling good.

Day Four- So on Day Four you wake up really early…like 4:30 AM early to make it to the Sun Gate around sunrise (entrance down into Machu Picchu). As we waited at the park entrance in the dark, I began to reflect on our adventure and that feeling of excitement stirred in me again. This was the moment I was going to lay my eyes on an another UNESCO World Heritage Site :). Machu Picchu is notoriously foggy in the morning so we were praying that the site would be clear and sunny. Boy were we not disappointed. The sun came over the mountain and it was beautiful.

All and all I am so happy I did this. It was not something on my bucket list, but it was a personal achievement that I will always remember.

Stay tuned readers for some more adventure recaps!

Alpacas and Volcanos

Peru has been such a pleasure to visit so far. Recently, we visited Arequipa, also known as the “White City.” The nickname stems from the fact the most of the city has been constructed from white bricks made of volcanic ash. Arequipa was a little crowded, but it had some great architecture and 3 volcanos along the perimeter of the city.       The next day we took a long ride through the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Preserve on our way to Chivay. On this ride we reached super high altitude of over 3500 meters. High altitudes are no joke. I defiantly felt short of breath and had to keep reminding myself to walk slowly. In the park, we saw lots of wild Llamas, Alpacas, and Vicuñas. Check out the local Shepard woman spinning her alpaca wool using a drop spindle!

  

     Chivay was just our stopping point to see the Colca Canyon, which is suppose to rival the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA. The Colca Canyon was really amazing. I felt like a tiny ant surrounded by giant mountains. We did a short hike along the ridge and spotted many Condors soaring along the cliffs. We also got some great views of the deep canyon and the surrounding flora and fauna.  

    

During all of these long bus rides I have managed to knit quite a lot. I have one Jaywalker sock done minus the toe stitching. I did modify the pattern a little bit so that it would be easier to fit over my foot when putting on or removing the socks. I used the smallest sizing for the ankle ribbing, heel, gusset, and foot. However, I used the medium sizing when knitting the leg section. One sock down and one to go!  The next leg of our trip is hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 😬. I am excited and  nervous about the trek, but I am sure we will have a great time.

Keep checking back for more adventures!

Lima, Peru

Lima has been busy busy. Much like Los Angeles, Lima is a sprawling city, which necessitates lots of walking and/or riding in a taxi. There are buses, but taking one when you don’t speak the language well can be a bit intimidating. While in Lima, we primarily explored the neighborhoods of Old Lima and Miraflores. 

Old Lima contained the architecture of ancestors past. Think colonial buildings in bright colors. In Plaza Mayor, we watched the changing of the guards, which was interesting to watch (and free!). The band played music for about 30 minutes and then the procession began. From there we walked to the Church of San Francisco. The inside of this church was very old and very Spanish. Think murals and tiles dated from the 14th century. My favorite part was the Catacombs deep in the basement of the Church. They contained old bones from centuries past. In the evening we headed over to the Magical Water Circuit. I have to say this park was the best 4 Soles (~$1.25) I have spent so far. There was music, fountains, and lights that provided some lovely entertainment.  We felt like little kids running and playing in the interactive fountains.

        

 
     In contrast to Old Lima, Miraflores contained many things new. Picture large skyscrapers, commercial centers, and fancy hotels. We strolled along the boardwalk for most of the morning taking in the stunning scenery. The sun even managed to come out for awhile. We walked through the famous Parque del Amor. Here there were fantastic  colorful murals with love quotes. C- Rex really enjoyed the view. For lunch, we stopped at La Mar. This is a famous ceviche restaurant that did not dissapoint. The food and service were outstanding. Best ceviche I have had so far!  With our meal complete, we left the restaurant and took the short walk to the Huaca Pucllana ruins. This old pyramid was constructed by the ancient Limas ( pre- Incas) as a worship and governmental compound. The entire structure was made out of mud bricks. The small museum on-site contained some artifacts including pottery and textiles. We took a guided  tour and walked to the top of the pyramid to take in the view.

            Well Lima it has been amazing! You have made out 1st stop in Peru memorable. ¡ Hasta Luego!