Back to Cuzco, for a bit of much needed r&r and fireworks. Fireworks are a daily occurrence in Cuzco. A few more observations about Cuzco:
Their flag looks the same as the gay pride flag. It is not, it is the Cuzco flag representing the various local groups, similar to the checkered Bolivian flag.
If you are looking for batman, he is disguised as city bus in Cuzco.
They have a really good falafel place, named after me. Definitely the best I have tried in South America. They even will put falafel inside a shawarma wrap! Many Israelis considered this to be blasphemous, but they don’t know what they are missing. Well the resturaunt is named after me so I guess I’ll have dibs on the idea if I ever open up my own falafel joint in Israel.
They really like marching bands. Also a nearly daily occurrence.
Last on the list for Cusco attractions was the Rainbow mountain. It was a quite beautiful day trip. A bit high up at 5100 meters, but the hike was short and the view worth it.
Celebrated fourth of July and Louis’ birthday with some fireworks and met a travel companion from Patagonia on the way.
Keep your distance from South American fireworks…
After all this, it was time for something a bit warmer. Sun and sand. Welcome to Huacachina, desert oasis. We went on a sand duggie over some very impressive dunes. A bit of sand boarding as well, although the equipment left much to be desired.
The sand that would come out of my shoe and other parts of my body can be represented by the dune on the right.
We decided to go to Ballestas national park the next day only to be told the port was closed the first day and not go. When we were assured the port would be open the second day. When we got there the port was closed. If you go to Islas Ballestas, stay the night in Paracas! It will save you a headache.
Then it was on to the land of eternal cloud cover (or air pollution?) and the largest city named after a citrus fruit, Lima. Lima is another South American metropolis, with many things reminding me of Tel Aviv.
The cliffs overlooking the Pacific were quite beautiful, and they were prime places to watch the sunset (even if the sun only comes out for a few moments). There are many parks along the cliffs, including one named after Israeli prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin complete with a memorial. We descended the cliffs and caught a few waves on the second day.
Literally the only time that we saw the Sun in Lima.
Lima is much like other South American metropolises (good: better public transportation, roads, services, etc. Bad: crime, pollution, higher prices and most shop owners are oblivious to my bargaining skills)
Lima has a rich history. It was the capital of the Spanish Empire until it fell to Peruvian nationalists, effectively ending Spanish rule in South America. It was the capital of the empire long before the first English settlement was established in North America. We visited a church that was home to Saint Francis (namesake of San Francisco) and Limas earliest catacombs. Unfortunately, present day Lima can be quite dangerous and travellers are advised to stay within a few neighborhoods.
What sets Lima apart from other cities is its cuisine. It is home to the best restaurant in South America. While there are too many foods or restaurants to discuss, the most famous food from Lima is definitely cerviche. Cerviche is raw fish slightly cooked in lemon juice and served with onions, corn, and sweet potato. It is nearly a sushi with a strong sour taste. For all who arrive in Lima, it is a must. Not having enough raw fish, we discovered an all you can eat sushi place and proceeded to eat to our hearts content. Somebody pinch me...
My insider tip of the week: Cerviche is served anywhere from small market restaurants to fancy upscale restaurants. If it is not at a nicer sit down restaurant, it is recommended to eat in the morning or early afternoon. Many market restaurants do not have proper refrigeration and Cerviche is not fully cooked.
The Spanish word of the week is cumpleaños (birthday). Happy birthday Louis, happy birthday USA!
As for now and what's next: just arrived to Huaraz, the capital of trekking and outdoor activities of the Peruvian Andes. I will be completing the Cordillera Huayaush circuit, 8 days, which will be the longest of my trip.