"One Gringa's Peru" Top 5 Page for this destination Peru by catalysta

Peru Travel Guide: 7,715 reviews and 20,455 photos

Another world, another time...

In 1981 I decided that it was high time I lived up to my expectations of myself, so I got on a plane and went to Peru for 8 weeks, no itinerary, no firm plan. Crazy gringa!

It changed me forever, this beautiful and poignant country. It can break your heart if you let it, and then reshape it in ways you never imagined.

Assembling these travel pages is something I've intended to do for a long time now, and VT has given me a simple and rewarding format in which to do it. But this trip was special. Looking at my old sketches and reading through my old trip journal reawakened memories, made me laugh and cry all over again.

The sketches are rough and really awful technically. But I'm so glad I saved them, and I decided to share them here anyway. I think they have a raw spontaneity that captured something of what I felt for those 8 amazing weeks, traveling in another world.

I've included excerpts from the journal as well, though I blush a bit to share those - was I ever really that young and serious? Sheesh!!!

I hope you pick up some idea of what the trip meant to me, and consider going there yourself. If you do, please don't see it "under glass" in a pre-packaged tour. Go out into the smaller villages, meet some of these wonderful generous-hearted people, mingle with the other travelers on the Gringo Trail, and let the metamorphosis happen to you.

FAIR WARNING! This page is not intended to be a normal VT page w/specific info, but rather a sampling of one person's experience. Let's face it, a lot has changed since I was there. For the best pages on Peru I've seen, check out richiecdisc's Travel Pages. They are beautifully written, accurate and comprehensive, with lovely photographs throughout. I also love Kevin & Andrea / AKTravellers' Machu Picchu page.

(FYI, I've decided to put most of the pics and text under one Tips section, so I can list them continuously, not in limited and broken up travelogues)

My first sketch

Una gringa soltara, what a target I was on the streets of Cuzco! I loved walking around, just feeling the uneven packed earth or cobbled stones of the narrow lanes beneath my feet...Seeing the fabled Inca stonework everywhere, stones hand-shaped and custom fitted, with no mortar, able to withstand major earthquakes because the stones could shift with the movement of the earth and not crumble.

But as a tall fair gringa, I had an entourage everywhere I went, and I was so self-conscious I could hardly talk, let alone sketch! So this was my first attempt at keeping a sketch diary, sitting in a restaurant on the Plaza De Armas in Cuzco, where the waiters protected me from my faithful followers, and drawing the wall because it didn't look back at me.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Peru is raw and unique
  • Cons:The poverty can be disconcerting
  • In a nutshell:You just have to let it happen to you to understand
  • Last visit to Peru: May 1981
  • Intro Updated Sep 26, 2005
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Reviews (72)

Comments (49)

  • Mar 28, 2008 at 9:31 AM

    South America is my favorite place in the world

  • kaybsix's Profile Photo
    Mar 31, 2007 at 7:53 PM

    Thank you for the pictures and wonderful comments.

  • malianrob's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2007 at 1:22 PM

    Hi, i loved your pictures of Peru. I havent been there yet but hope to go in October. I also really liked your Galapagos pictures!

  • Fam.Rauca's Profile Photo
    Jul 26, 2006 at 10:40 PM

    A splendid Peru page! I am excited about your talent and your much information! Gabriela

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2006 at 5:17 AM

    I really enjoyed your pictures & your interesting writing style! Lovely pages here, thank you for sharing your experiences. Greetings from the desert :-) Jess

  • bluedook's Profile Photo
    Apr 5, 2006 at 9:17 AM

    fantastic sketches and great narrative

  • Wiseman1964's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2006 at 7:05 PM

    Great Photos, Tough Pictures in some cases but need to be seen! I like your Peru Pages! I need to take more time and go through Best wishes, Ken

  • danielhades80's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2006 at 10:44 AM

    good job, nice pictures I liked your comments about it, I come from an small town called Cartavio (La libertad) Now I'm living in Baltimore Maryland keep on the good job

  • AKtravelers's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2005 at 5:36 PM

    Thanks for the compliments on our Machu Picchu page! Your sketches are wonderful!

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Oct 6, 2005 at 12:13 PM

    An amazing account of your trip, I feel I've been there with you. Next month I'm going for real and will remember your words and sketches as I travel.

catalysta

“Toto, we're not in Alaska anymore!”

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