The following post was written by Ella Kim, Content Manager for trekbible.
Growing up, one subject that always caught my eye during school was geography. I loved learning about different cultures, social norms, and beautiful places around the globe and how they differed from the small town in the United States that I lived in.
However, one destination in particular caught my eye: Peru.
I don’t exactly know if it was the photos of Machu Picchu, the architecture of Lima, or the deep ridges of the Colca Canyon, but I became fixated and entranced with the South American country. I knew that one day, I would go to Peru.
As time passed and I got older, I began saving up my hard-earned money with the plan to one day visit the country that caught my eye. Finally, this past year, I fulfilled my dream.
I packed all of my travel essentials and boarded the plane, settling in to make the ten hour flight. Throughout the duration of the flight, I dozed off and dreamt about the beautiful destination that awaited me when I landed.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we landed in Lima. As soon as I arrived, I made the choice to not go straight to the hotel, but instead explore the city that I had fantasized about seeing while reading countless books about it growing up.
I first went and visited the Plaza Mayor, Lima – the birthplace of Lima and just sat and enjoyed the beautiful view featuring an amazing fountain and surrounding palaces. I sat and people watched for a while, wondering if I was somehow dreaming or if I was actually in this stunning environment. From there, as it got darker, I went to the Parque de la Reserva to view the famous light show the fountain produces. After this and the long flight, I made my way to the hotel to turn in for the evening.
Over the next day, I did my best to see all the sights I wanted to in Lima. I went to the Larco museum to see the vast array of pre-Columbian artifacts they had on display. I went to the illustrious Government Palace to witness the changing of the guard. I even made time to go to the Monastery of San Francisco, Lima to witness the wide amount of history that took place there. Needless to say, by the end of the day, I was exhausted. However, my trip was far from over.
From there I arranged travel to Paracas, a beach town on Peru’s west coast. Due to the large amount of sightseeing I did the day before, I decided that Paracas would be a great opportunity to relax. As I spent the day kicking back near Paracas Bay, I saw sea lions, something I had never seen before in person. Overall, Paracas was a very relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
After leaving Paracas, I traveled to Arequipa. Surrounded by three volcanoes, Arequipa is known for its stunning architecture. I took time to see the Santa Catalina Monastery, a gigantic 16th century monastery where I was given a wonderful and educating guided tour. I also went to the awe inspiring Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa and just marveled at the sheer size of the massive Catholic cathedral in front of me. Sadly, I was not one of the lucky 48 people a day that get to visit the Casa Museo Mario Vargas Llosa, (home of Nobel winning writer, Mario Vargas Llosa,) but I instead spent the time enjoying the food and shops at the Cloisters of The Company where I purchased souvenirs for my friends and family back home.
To finish off my trip, I boarded a flight to Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is known for both Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, as well as the stunning Temple of the Moon. This was a big moment for me as I had dreamt about visiting Machu Picchu since I was a child, and now here I was about to make the trek to the iconic hilltop.
As I began making the climb to the top of Machu Picchu, I thought about and processed everything that got me here. From the first moment I learned about Peru as a child, to a growing fascination with the country, to beginning to save anything I could to get here, to finally being here; it was quite an emotional moment.
Finally getting to the top of Machu Picchu was a feat, but I did it and simply sat in pure amazement of the history in front of me. This was something that I had literally only seen in textbooks and now I was living it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. After taking a large amount of photos and exploring the hilltop ruins of the 15th century city, I made my journey back to the bottom. And with that, my trip to Peru had come to an end.
While I sat on the long plane ride home, I revisited my trip by looking at all of the photos I had taken and studied the souvenirs I had purchased.
I couldn’t believe that the experiences I had just had were actually real. As my plane began to land, the only thing I could think of was that I felt lucky to be able to have enjoyed such a journey.
As I arrived home, I told anyone and everyone willing to listen about my trip. Whether it be family, friends, or co-workers, I let them all know about the adventures I had enjoyed on my trip to Peru. I showed them photos, gave them their souvenirs and explained the importance of them, and told them about my trip in great detail.
Even though my trip may be over, I will not forget everything that I did. However, now it’s time to begin saving up for my next trip back to Peru to visit everything I didn’t have time for!
Ella Kim, Content Manager for trekbible, is a writer and content specialist with a predilection for learning and exploring new places and cultures around the world. With family scattered throughout the U.S. and South Korea, she loves to see cross-cultural influences around the world. Her favorite thing to do on her travels is to taste the local cuisine of each destination.
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