Wow. Just wow. Peru has been incredible so far. Only a week in and we've already seen/eaten/experienced so much. We arrived to Lima late last Tuesday and spent 5 incredible days there. Though the city was a bit dreary 75% of the time (it is winter, afterall), we did catch a few glimpses of wonderfully warm sunshine most afternoons. The sun here is so intense--it can be 70 degress but it feels like 90 with the sunshine.
We spent several days exploring cathedrals, bascillicas, monasteries, museums, ancient ruins and plazas--which were all breathtaking. Though I'm not the religious type, I'm a sucker for old churches and their wonderfully intricate details. Give me stained glass windows, hand carved pulpits that stand 80 feet high and flying buttresses and I'm in hog heaven. Dave was quite thrilled, too, when we stumbled upon the Central Bank Museum, filled with pieces of old currency and other artifacts. The best thing we did in Lima, however, was when we ventured down to the district of Miraflores, where we took a Peruvian cooking class--complete with 3 courses of traditional Peruvian cuisine. This has been one of our favorite activites to date, as we both love to cook (and eat). Miraflores itself was a really neat district. Though a bit far away from downtown Lima, the amount of development there--not to mention the coastline--made it well worth it. It was great to see how the city was working to not only boost tourism, but also make the Lima a better place to live for its many inhabitants.
A slight bout with a stomach bug for me kept us from doing everything we wanted to do in Lima--must have been too many of my beloved Peruvian empanadas. Today was the first day that I woke up and actually felt HUNGRY. Only eating crackers and white rice for the last few days has been quite tragic, as Dave and I both think one of the best ways to experience a country is to eat your way through it.
We are currently in Cusco, whose sunshine and blue skies are a far cry from the gloom of Lima. Though we loved Lima, it's nice to get a little Vitamin D. Cusco is absolutely gorgeous. It's nestled in the mountains and, being much less developed than Lima, we are experiencing a bit more of "traditional" Peru. And by traditional I mean: cobblestone streets, Alpacas, guinea pig on every freaking menu, etc etc. Also, there are still people who hitch their donkeys (with packs, mind you) to poles while they go in the bar to have a drink. True story, we saw it last night. Cusco is celebrating its anniversary, so there is a festival with parades, dancing and music all week. The costumes and whatnot are amazing..pretty sure we both know the national anthem by heart now, too.
The only thing we haven't liked about Cusco so far is the cold. And by cold, I really mean the igloo temperatures in our hostal. Our hostal is fantastic-but FREEZING. Somehow we ended up with twin beds--unfortunate--but we tried sharing last night for the sake of body heat. It was actually quite toasty, but after about an hour of Dave's arse nudging me off the bed, I moved to the other. Big mistake. I woke up and literally thought there might be icicles dangling from my appendages. Thus, I have a new theory: warmth > space.
We have a few more ruins and the Sacred Valley to explore before we head off on our Salkantay trekking excurion Thursday. We are pretty dang excited about the hike, as we'll get 4 days of mountain air and spectacular views before we hit the grand finale of the trek--Machu Picchu. So long for now...
I had the joy of shooting Andrew and Kendra's wedding this past weekend. Not only are they completely adorable, but they are pretty fantastic human beings as well. Andrew is know as "Shack" by all of his fraternity brothers, so they walked out of the ceremony to "Love Shack." Needless to say, the song hasn't left my head since. Their wedding was a blast to shoot and I'm delighted to have been a part of such a sweet couple's big moment! I got almost instant gratification with the day's shoot, too, since I had to turn them around before Dave and I leave for Peru tomorrow. I couldn't help but smile throughout my photo-editing marathon, as these two just rock! Here are a few frames from the day:
The last few weeks have left me breathless--in the most perfect of ways. The frenzy that followed graduation was just my kind of frenzy--heavy in the friend/travel departments and low in the school/work departments (low might be an understatement...perhaps non-existent would be a more accurate depiction?). Anyhoo, I've gotten to spend time with my three best friends, each of whom lives scattered throughout the country, making it difficult to see them as often as I'd like. Here are a few personal snapshots from the last month or so.
It'd been a long time since I'd gotten up JUST to watch the sunrise (probably a year). This one was well worth it, although our hiking kept us from seeing the first half of it.
My mutt and my kiwi enjoying a quiet morning.
Gotta love that kiwi.
Testing out some local brews in Houston. If You haven't been to Saint Arnold's Microbrewery in Houston, it's a must.
The Rothko Chapel in Houston. Such a peaceful and inspiring place for people of all beliefs.
Of course I had to throw a few of the mutts in here.
Myrtle's sole defense mechanism. Better watch out, she'll sit on ya...