Machu Picchu

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Are there adequate words to describe a place as breathtaking as Machu Picchu?  If there are, I can’t seem to find them, even now, several years later.  We arrived just before the sun rose, and spent most of the day wandering around the ruins in quiet disbelief that this was real, that we were there.

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Islas Ballestas

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One of the more beautiful places we visited were the Islas Ballestas outside of Paracas on the southern coast of Peru.  We cruised around in a little boat, seeing geoglyphs carved in the mountain side before heading further out to where the rocky islands rose out of the sea.  There were penguins, pelicans, sea lions, and seals on the rocks, and a dozen species of birds swirling around in the air.  Afterwards, we drove around the desert, where the sand was so full of iron that, when the sand met the sea, it was all turned a dark and rusty red, though sadly my camera battery died just before we got there.  We spent an hour collecting sea glass and spotted a huge flock of flamingos in the distance, and today we have a little jar with all of that Peruvian sea glass and one pink feather, a gift carried over on a breeze from that distant flamingo flock.

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Arequipa

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Arequipa, in southern Peru, is a lovely city, but my heart only really remembers the Monasterio de Santa Catalina.  Built nearly 450 years ago, the monastery was built as a cloister for upper-class nuns, and it is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have ever been.  Even now, when I try to find a quiet place in my mind, I travel back there, and I sincerely hope I’ll get to visit again someday.

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Lake Titicaca

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We spent a few days in and around Lake Titicaca, sleeping on its shores in Puno, floating around on Uros, beautiful islands entirely constructed of reeds, and having a lovely lunch on Taquile, where I bought a beautiful woven bracelet that I still wear every day.

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Wanderings: Peru

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Winter seems to be extending her icy hand into March, and since we’re still a week away from longer days, I thought it might be fun to share a few photos from greener days.  Several years ago we spent a couple of weeks traveling around Peru.  It was an absolutely magical adventure, spanning emerald mountains, golden deserts, massive lakes, and wild rocky coasts, forcing us to stretch the limits of our abilities in Spanish, brave foreign cross-country bus trips, and cope with headaches and aching lungs while hiking at high altitudes.  They were a couple of the best weeks of my life.

Here are few photos taken around Cuzco and Lima.

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Wanderings: Love and tango

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Buenos Aires is the most romantic city I’ve ever visited alone.  At the time, I had just started dating the Mister and though I missed him, the early thrill of the relationship had me in a state of bliss and it was easy to get caught up in the allure of the city.  Every part of the Buenos Aires mesmerized me, whether full of modern art and architecture, tree-lined residential streets, or Beaux Arts buildings that were crumbling around the edges.

Particularly charming was the old neighborhood of San Telmo where I spent most of my time drinking red wine with other travelers, reading books in old cafes, admiring all the street dancers and musicians, and eating dulce de leche for breakfast every day.

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Wanderings: Buenos Aires

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The first few days I spent in Buenos Aires are a feverish haze in my memory.  I was recovering from a terrible cold or flu, and I’d spend about twelve hours a day sleeping, and the other twelve wandering around the windy, cobble-stoned streets in a mild delirium.

I carried around a little black moleskin notebook in those days and it was amusing to read through my scribbled notes about rambling down narrow streets crowded with wrought-iron balconies, feeling dazzled by the colorful buildings and tiles, peeking into courtyards filled with light and overgrown with ferns.  The Sunday antiques market was a delightful jumble of noise, food, junk and treasure.  I spent all my pocket money buying fresh-squeezed orange juice after fresh-squeezed orange juice, and tipping the tango dancers on street corners that had me mesmerized.  I walked for hours and hours, letting the winter air cool my overheated skin, indulging in way too many Argentine gelatos, and slowly falling in love with Buenos Aires.

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Fantastic ceiling mural in the Presidential palace

Fantastic ceiling mural in the Presidential palace

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Libreria de Avila

Libreria de Avila

La Libreria de Avila

La Libreria de Avila

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El Ateneo, a bookstore in an old theatre

El Ateneo, a bookstore in an old theatre

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