Traveling in Peru

We are having lots of fun traveling in Peru! First of all, the landscape is extremely diversified, and, as mountain-lovers, we are fascinated by the high peaks. And then, there are the Peruvians, who are incredibly friendly, lively, and colorful. And since the rainy season is over, it is great to look into the fascinatingly blue Andean sky.

The Peruvian women (in the north) are usually dressed in traditional costumes and wear several skirts on top of one another, a brightly colored top, and a lovely high hat on top of their long, thick braids. They carry children and goods in a brightly colored shawl tied onto their backs. Peruvian women often wander around with their herds of animals, busily knitting or spinning wool. Die People look up whenever we drive by and give us a friendly wave. Their faces light up in a smile, especially when they spot our children. The frequent shouts of Gringo, Gringo!“ here are friendly and well meant (in contrast to what we experienced in Mexico).

The markets are lively places, and we go to them often since there are hardly any supermarkets and the good food at the markets is usually fresher and less expensive, anyway. We meet the animals which end up at the markets along the street, colorfully mingled herds of cows, pigs, sheep, and goats, often accompanied by donkeys, horses, and dogs. At the market, you can see directly what animal the meat comes from and actually every part of the animal is sold (in addition to the usual kinds of meat, there is also freshly slaughtered guinea pig with giblets). Looking at the meat is sometimes nothing for those with weak nerves. But you can hardly wait to bite into the fresh fruit and vegetable. We keep on discovering new sorts of fruit and vegetables which we have never seen before, and the fresh juice is prepared without sugar – delicious!

Since we have been traveling mainly off the beaten route (and streets shown on maps) so far, we often have to use the milestones (actually kilometer-stones) for orientation, read from tire tracks along the way, and ask our way through different villages. There are signs every once in a while, but rarely at the critical spots. In no other country have people waiting along the way asked us so often if we have room for them. The traffic is usually very relaxed, and there are hardly any private cars; you see mainly collective taxis and an amazing number of buses on the streets. If I (Tanja) am driving, the Peruvians get very excited – a woman driving a truck is a rarity here! When I drive by, they whistle at me, but, when I make a turn, they panic (completely without cause!) because they are afraid I might knock everything over.

Spending the last few weeks wandering in the mountains at an altitude rarely under 13,000 (4000m) feet has been the most physically challenging time during our trip so far. It also means that we have spent the coldest night in our Bremach so far since our auxiliary heating usually goes on strike in the thin air, despite us adjusting various functions. Warm sleeping bags and family cuddling sessions help out!

Although we often hear that nothing bad happens in northern Peru and that it is a safe place for tourists, some Peruvians remind us that there are good and bad people everywhere. Fortunately, we have only met the good ones so far – and we hope it will remain this way!

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