Monday, July 26, 2010

You're Really Going to Peru?

I pondered for a long time about how I would spend my summer. While I would have loved to live at the beach at home for three months, I wanted something more this year. After researching about several programs I decided to go to South America, an area of the world I had yet to explore.

This program through UVa allowed me the opportunity to see a new part of the world, improve my Spanish, and take some classes that I had never really had the chance to take before considering all of my classes have some sort of business focus!

The trip was a blast. I lived with a wonderful host family for the majority of the time in Lima and attended classes at la Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya. My time in Peru included LOTs of traveling throughout the country.

We visited the oldest city in the Americas and the second oldest city in the world, called Caral:

And then we went to a small seaside town called Barranca. Here we devoured some Tacu Tacu, a traditional dish made of rice, beans, and seafood and cooked like a pancake (soooo yummmy)!

And munched on ceviche!

And then chilled on the beach for a while. It had been about 5 months since I had last seen the Pacific!

We ventured to an oasis called Huacachina:

Where we partook in some sand boarding! While one of the craziest and most amazing experiences of my life, the dune buggy caused the death of my favorite Lululemon “I Love Running” water bottle. Aside from that it was incredible.


Later on during our time in Peru we travelled to Tarma, a small town in the Andes. During three days of our visit we trekked about 80km throughout the Andes mountains. It was definitely one of the coolest things I have ever done.

We made it to “La Cima del Cielo” (in English known as the “the top of heaven”)

Where my friend Charley and I may or may not have decided to take a nap:

One of the nights we really roughed it and slept on the floor of a shephard’s home. Keep in mind this was a town of SEVEN people so this particular experience was pretty remarkable.

I was particularly intrigued by all of the Incan and pre-Incan ruins we came across during our journey:

After three days of some pretty INTENSE trekkin' we made it back to Tarma in need of showers but felt pretty darn accomplished at the same time. Good thing I got to play with some puppies to elevate my mood even more!

The next day we made it to Pichanaki, a town in the jungle of Peru. Here we endured some intense humidity and saw lots of lovely green foliage.

And were also treated like celebrities at a local school. Many of the students had never met Americans before. It was really great to share each others perspectives on just about everything. The students asked questions about things that ranged from the economy in the United States to when we first fell in love..crazy kids!

We also of course visited Cusco, the town closest to Macchu Picchu. This was one of my favorite places we stayed in all of Peru, and I can’t wait to return.

Here I did some MAJOR shopping in the artisan markets and got my hair wrapped! This baby isn’t coming out of my hair, despite the dread that is surely forming at the top.

And of course we saw Macchu Picchu. All I can say is wow.

My experience was amazing and a single post is not going to do it justice. I really wanted to share with you all some of my favorite pictures of the trip. If any of you plan on making it down south please let me know and I will tell you all of the reasons it is so important to visit Peru!!!

You'll be hearing from Shelby next! Tomorrow I will be meeting with a nutritionist here in San Diego to talk about my gluten-free diet, among other things. I'll be asking him lots of questions and can't wait to tell you all what he has to say!


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