Updated: Feb 2
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine
That is one of my absolute favorite quotes. I love to travel and my twofold dream is:
1. to visit as many countries as I can and
2. to check off all 7 of the World's Wonders as I go.
Over the summer, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Peru for the first (though hopefully not the last!) time and checked off wonder number four on my list, Machu Picchu (I’ve also seen The Taj Mahal in India, The Roman Colosseum, and The Great Wall of China).
What a magical place! I spent a full 8 days exploring the country along with a group of 17 others, led by our incredible tour guides who were so passionate and knowledgeable about their culture.
Our itinerary included sightseeing, hiking, eating amazing food (and even learning to cook a few local dishes in a cooking class), visiting museums, exploring a butterfly sanctuary, learning about Cusco textile weaving, and generally immersing ourselves in Peru’s rich history and culture.
It was an action-packed trip and while every experience was incredible, I’d have to say these were my top three favorites...
The amazing multicultural cuisine...
Though each and every dish I tasted on the trip was mouth-watering, it was the lomo saltado that made me fall completely head over heels in love with Peruvian cuisine. And apparently, I’m not alone since Peru was elected for nine years in a row as the world's best culinary destination. No doubt this incredible stir fry-like dish has a little something to do with that designation!
After learning how to make lomo saltado at a cooking class with my tour group (mine is the pic on the right), I could not wait to get home to make it for my friends and loved ones here!
Machu Picchu... We didn’t just (partially) hike the tallest peak in the world once. We did it twice! In addition to how steep many areas of the mountain are, hiking up Machu Picchu was particularly challenging because of the altitude (7,970 feet high!). But as you might imagine, the panoramic views at the top made it all worth it. I've never been so close to the clouds without being enclosed in an airplane! Simply majestic!
The butterfly sanctuary...
The butterfly sanctuary may have been my personal favorite of the experiences on this trip (I have a particular obsession with butterflies that started during the pandemic). After day two of hiking up Machu Picchu, we made an impromptu stop at the Mariposario de Machu Picchu, an utterly enchanting spot that’s actually a working butterfly research center.
I was beyond grateful to be able to see so many different species in one place. To make the visit even more special and memorable, I got to release a newly hatched monarch butterfly into the wild!
Legend has it that by making a wish and releasing a butterfly, the wish will be taken to the heavens, and in gratitude, the Great Spirit will grant the wish. Such a beautiful experience!
I returned back home feeling inspired, rejuvenated and refreshed. My creative juices are flowing freely (which is what we all want out of travel, right?!). Thank you, Peru, for the time of my life! I can’t wait to see where my travels take me next.
anpil lanmou (lots of love),