It’s my last week in Peru (😥) but I’ve realised that there’s a lot of things about my time here that I haven’t blogged about. So I’m gonna cheat and do a brief summary of the top 10 things I think you should know about but can’t be bothered to write whole blog posts on… Click to get reading!
As my last post stated; we finished volunteering on Friday. However, I still have lots of pictures on my phone of our hard work so I thought I’d include them for you all to enjoy…
9) Puppy love
We had the privilege of being able to play with and cuddle a tiny little puppy called Cusco in the volunteer house! Cusco has been taken to an even better home now but he definitely played a valuable role in brightening up my (already far too bright) peruvian experience!
8) World Cup
I have officially been in Peru from the start of the world cup right through until the end. I’m not the biggest football fan but I still found myself watching most of the games and joining in the camaraderie. From watching the flat screen in our volunteer house to screaming with other fans in an Irish pub to watching the final in a little peruvian restaurant where the TV was covered in flies… It has been an experience to say the least!
All the World Cup shenanigans inspired some of the volunteers to make their own football team. So we headed over to the local pitches (which was a LONG taxi journey away with too many of us crammed into the backseat) and played a few games. Well, I didn’t actually play because I was wearing flip flops (excuses, excuses!) but me and my friend Ashley decided to be cheerleaders/coaches/fans/referees instead, which was just as enjoyable even if I did fall asleep mid-way through…
6) Musical talent
Everyone here is so talented and with a guitar, a ukelele and a piano at our disposal it was the perfect opportunity to show off. It’s been a pretty musical stay in the volunteer house. I have thoroughly enjoyed the late night jam sessions, the spanish classical guitar background music during the day and singing loudly to Taylor Swift songs in the living room. We even gave little Cusco the dog the opportunity to shine (his guitar skills are limited but he is a brilliant pianist). Obviously, music isn’t everyones cup of tea but for me listening to other peoples talents was a highlight of my volunteer house stay!
5) School trip
We were invited to attend the San Isidro school’s trip to the Inca Museum and of course, we accepted! Sadly, it didn’t run very smoothly. We were denied entry to the museum with the kids because we were foreign and had to go downstairs and purchase entrance tickets. By the time we’d done this, we were so far behind the school that we decided to just explore it for ourselves and then go and get milkshakes afterwards…
It wasn’t very exciting and I probably wouldn’t recommend it to travellers visiting Cusco (even though it’s ranked pretty high on TripAdvisor). There was just no explanation for anything so you’d be looking at a mummified creature or a colourful tapestry and have absolutely 0 idea about it’s significance. Still, we can’t complain because we got a day off work for it. So in that respect it was truly fantastic!
It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of the nightlife in Cusco but that’s not to say I’ve been boring. It’s quality not quantity, remember? – a few great hours beats a whole night of so-so standing around a bar. We’ve had some absolutely brilliant nights here playing music, watching films, cooking yummy food and chatting until the early hours but two of my most favourite ways to spend an evening have to be salsa and karaoke.
It sounds super cheesy, but I’ve been trying to do things that I don’t usually get to do at home in the UK as well as trying to improve my spanish by mixing with the locals – so salsa and karaoke have proven to be the best ways to stay entertained in Cusco without blowing my budget on alcohol and still being able to make it to work the next day.
We all know I love to dance but salsa isn’t exactly what I’m used to so it took some hard work! Eventually I got the hang of it and ended up dancing with the instructor (go me!). It’s such a good work out, a great way to meet people and, because everyone’s a beginner, it’s always a really good laugh. If you’re ever in Latin America then don’t forget to give it a try – It could be your hidden talent!
And karaoke, what can I say? Nothing is more entertaining than singing your own rendition of High School Musical’s ‘Work this Out’ in a room filled with middle aged Spanish couples taking their song choices far too seriously. These are memories that’ll last a lifetime, that’s for sure!
It’s safe to say we are Cusco shopping experts now! For clothes and accessories – Go to the markets by the 12 angled stone for unbeatable deals! For souvenirs – Písac market or San Pedro market. For DVD’s and games – Al Molino, they sell tons of knockoff stuff for ridiculously low prices! For food – Orion market
2) Art class
I was bored one morning and wanted something fun but authentically Peruvian to do. So me and Ali headed down to the art gallery. When we arrived it just so happened that they were having an art class and had 2 spaces left to fill…. what timing!
We sat down and started creating our masterpieces. I’m not entirely sure what they are; I think they’re baby Jesus’ but the owner was so impressed with our work that she took tons of photos and gave us far too many compliments! A really, really enjoyable morning – I’d forgotten how relaxing painting can be!
1) White water rafting and ziplining
I actually can’t believe I never blogged about this, it was one of my favourite adventures of this whole trip!
I had absolutely nothing to do one weekend (which is a rarity here seeing as we’re always gallivanting across the country) and I couldn’t handle the boredom. I asked around to see who was up for an adventure and luckily Ali was keen to do something exciting too. So, we rushed down to the local tour company and managed to secure ourself a river rafting, ziplining and spa-sauna package for just 100 soles!
We drove to the Sacred Valley in a mini van packed with interesting people from all over the world. After the meet and greets and generic ‘what brings you to Peru?’ conversations we all settled down ready to embrace the days activities.
First – the ziplining! We got kitted out, climbed up a precarious ladder tower and did two ziplines across the river rapids below. It wasn’t too scary in my opinion but at the same time I AM comparing it to the suuuuuper long canopy ziplines in Costa Rica, so that’s something to consider. Even so, it’s still ridiculously cool to say that I’ve ziplined over the Urubamba river in Peru. Another one to tick off the bucket list, hey?
White water rafting down the Urubamba river was one of the coolest (and scariest) things I’ve done in my life. We were given wetsuits, helmets, warm waterproofs and a lifejacket before sitting through a quick brief of all the commands and paddle movements. Before we knew it we were on a raft floating down the river and I remember thinking ‘Oh dear God/Science, please don’t let me fall out’. Luckily, my wish came true but the fate of other people was not so good! 3 people in other groups around us fell out of the raft and into the freezing cold water and sharp rocks – scary right! But seriously, if you stay alert and listen to your instructor then there’ll be no problem at all!
Our group ended up getting into a bit of trouble. We were precariously dangling over the edge hanging onto one of the rocks and our instructor told us that it wasn’t safe to go down. So we had to evacuate the raft which was SO hard. 7 of us were climbing out onto this super small, slippy rock with water crashing against us! Thankfully, we were saved and all of us survived the ordeal but boy was it stressful.
When we finished my feet were so cold that I couldn’t actually move. So whilst everyone else was making their way under, over and around these huge, slippy rocks to get back to base I was just crawling on the floor trying to get my feet to function properly again. Despite all this, it was the most fun I’ve had in AGES and the views were spectacular – A must-do in Peru!
It’s just such a shame that we couldn’t get any photos but I’ve included a photo from our rafting company’s website to try and give you a gist of what we got up to:
Afterwards, we quickly changed out of our FREEZING cold wetsuits and back into our warm clothes so that we could settle down for a delicious lunch… but first a quick spa break in a peruvian style sauna! It was a really nice way to get warm again and a great way to wind down after a whole 3 hours of rafting. Best day ever!
So that’s that! Thanks to everyone reading about my time here in Peru, hope you’re all having equally exciting summer adventures! We’re in Arequipa at the moment, staying here until Friday and then back to Cusco for a final farewell before our flight home.
More blog posts to come soon!