Monday, July 24, 2017

Peru




                                                                                                                                              Alpaca's are a valuable livestock in Peru

                Peru was my first South American destination, as my family has always traveled Europe. Originally planned as a medical mission trip, my mother, sister, and I booked a Peruvian expedition that later turned out to be solely a touristy vacation. The trip was planned June 1st through the 5th, scheduled to visit the major cities Pisac, Cusco, and Lima. After several layovers, we arrived in Pisac, where my family drove into the Andes to see The Sacred Valley of the ancient Inca Empire. 






                            After learning about the history of alpaca weaving and watching townspeople create beautiful works of art, my family headed to the town Ollantaytambo for lunch. Peruvian food definitely differs from Texas fried chicken, but I have always been an adventurous foodie. We settled in for the night at our hotel in Cusco, awaiting our 5:30 a.m. wake up call for hiking Machu Picchu!


                      Machu Picchu Mountain, mid-way up the mountain where the abandoned Incan city lies. The ancient citadel is photographed by thousands of people every day, serving as a prime location for tourism and history to collaborate. 


                   In order to hike to the top of the mountain, one needs to purchase a ticket well in advance. Only 400 hikers are allowed to "walk" upon the trails each day- and the hiker must be on the path before 11:00a.m. If the stair-master is your choice of cardio, then Machu Picchu is the vacation for you. At no point of the hike does the path even out to flat ground. The journey took my sister and I an hour and a half to reach the peak, and an hour to get back to the ground. 
                     
                   Tips for Hiking:

                                - BE IN SHAPE. This trip is not for the faint of heart. If you have any medical conditions, are pregnant, or even have a swollen ankle- the trek up Machu Picchu is not for you. My sister and I are early 20's, in perfect health and great shape and the overall trip took us 2.5 hours.

                                - Bring plenty of water and a snack for the top of the mountain. 
                                
                                - Wear comfortable, breathable, athletic clothing.      
  
                                - Become acclimated to the elevation difference. At ground level, Cusco is about 4,000 ft higher in elevation than the United States. No matter how in-shape you are, you will feel a difference in the air. 


     *The peak of Machu Picchu mountain closes at noon, so all people must be off the mountain top by 1:30 for weather purposes, so make sure to start out early.*



Perfect spot for some meditation!



             The drink I ordered is a Pisco Sour, the signature drink of Peru. A Peruvian version of the Whiskey Sour, the modernized drink was created in the 1920s- adding Angostura bitters and egg white to the recipe.  

INGREDIENTS:


  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon pasteurized egg white
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup crushed ice
  • 2 ounces Peruvian pisco (1/4 cup)
  • Angostura bitters

              In my opinion, the drink tastes almost exactly like a classic Margarita. Overall- definitely a must-try when traveling in Peru! 

Pizza! As someone who has never been exposed to Southern American cultures, I struggled with eating Peruvian food. Many dishes utilized ingredients I would have never ordered on a typical day; such as the purple dates shown on the pizza. When vacationing in Peru, be ready to try a variety of new foods. 











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