Last Days in Peru

Cordillera Blanca, Huaraz

From Trujillo, we just barely squeezed in a few days in the Cordillera Blanca region around Huaraz on our way back to Lima. Unfortunately, the weather here was less than perfect, especially after coming from the beautifully temperate ‘Eternal Spring’ of Trujillo and the Northern Coast. The weather was so bad actually, that we cut our trip here short after only a few days and with barely a glimpse of the famed mountain peaks we had come to see. That will have to wait for a revisit…

Monasterio San Francisco

Then, onward to Lima- Our last stop. Back to the beginning so to speak. It seemed like such an amazingly long time since we had stepped off the plane five months ago onto the South American continent for the first time, surrounded by hoards of Taxi drivers yelling in Spanish and barely being able to offer a word in response. Now, five months later, and a few thousand kilometers behind us, we felt so much wiser. So much more experienced. We had been so many places, experienced so much, it didn’t seem possible that it had been only five months. We had done so much more than just traveled through Peru. We had survived it. We learned the language, learned to navigate this crazy country, the busses, the crowded markets… We’d gotten lost, robbed, climbed mountains, and swam in Amazonian rivers. Peru wasn’t a place for a leisurely vacation. It was a place that took some figuring out. But once that happened, it had gotten into our hearts and it was going to be a hard place to leave.

Monasterio San Francisco

The crowded, smoggy streets of Lima that on the first visit seemed impossible to stand, now welcomed us back as something familiar after such a long journey- Weary travelers from ‘out there’… The rest of Peru. It was a whole other world out there, full of dirt roads, damp alleyways, crumbling buildings, humid jungles, empty deserts, and rugged mountains. This was back to civilization. Back to hot showers, clean sheets, supermarkets, and internet! And soon- Back Home.

Our last few days in Lima were mostly a blur- Spent taking care of some last minute errands and collecting some great things to bring back home with us. But there were a few moments to sit and reflect what we had experienced throughout this whole trip. I starting making a long list of all the things that I would miss: Things modern civilization and the western world can never provide. Among all the mixed feelings of leaving this place, I think what sticks with me most is the feeling that that this place and our time here has truly changed me; That I wasn’t not going to be the same after all of this… And it was the first time I had felt that way since I left home to travel to Europe for the first time at sixteen… And I have covered a lot of roads since then.

Then suddenly it was time to get in a taxi to the airport. Suddenly time to ask ourselves, do we really want to do this? Are we really leaving? What if we just don’t get on the plane? And I think a few times we did seriously consider it. Or at least I did. But in the end we knew it was time: That our incredible wealth of experiences would just have to last until next time, and that we had some important things to attend to on the other side of the world…

Peru Rail, November 2010

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