What have Machu Picchu, Nelson Mandela and Robert Smith all got in common?
Peru will be the subject of one of the forthcoming series of posts in Farflungplaces. Here is an early taste of one of the posts, thanks to our sponsors, Marca Peru.
We travelled 18 hours via Argentina to get there, but it was a place I had always wanted to go. Everyone has a list of places they want to visit, for me Machu Picchu was a site I have always dreamed of exploring. It might be the remoteness, or the difficulty of getting there from Australia, but the idea of visiting a city that was basically intact and had been 'lost' for centuries until Hiram Bingham stumbled across it, was always at the back of my mind to visit.
You should never meet your idols, you will always be disappointed, goes the saying. And the same probably goes for the places you dream of visiting. Well, I guess i have been lucky, I spent a great day with Robert Smith of the Cure when I was complete fanatic, and bumped into Nelson Mandela at Johannesburg airport just after he had been released from prison. Both were charming, funny and extremely memorable. Visiting Machu Picchu I had feared I would be disappointed, but the reality was I almost could not leave. The view from the caretakers hut, that is visible everywhere there is an article on Peru, including this one with the shot I took above, was astonishing and I stayed for hours enjoying the view of the site with the mountains behind. Exploring the ruins took several days, arriving early in the morning and even taking a nap at lunch time (before being awoken by an inquisitive llama) and then returning to Aguas Calientes in darkness, and still I felt I could have spent more time there.
Peru has a lot more to it than just Machu Picchu. Staying in Lima we had some of the best food we had eaten in South America, fresh seafood served in the Cerviche style (raw and marinated in citrus juices) and amazing flavoursome potatoes with so many more colours and types than you would see in your local supermarket. The Peruvian red wine was a match for the Argentinian reds we had tried earlier. It is one of the few countries that I have been to that, after being there for a few weeks, makes you realise you have only touched the surface, and that you have to return to see more.
Check out the video below, giving you a taste of Peru.