Peru, known by most as that country somewhere south of the US/Mexico border. A place where Machu Picchu often comes to mind. Its understandable that not much more would be known about the 4th largest country in South America.
Peru is a country with a geography that can be described as "topographically diverse," with every imaginable land feature from its tropical desert coastline to the cold and mountainous Andes region all the way to the lush and hugely populated Amazon jungles to the east. A country with 25 departments (or states if you will) to chose from, that's more than enough to satisfy just about any interest and adventure of any traveler.
With a history that reads like an imaginative " Tradicion" from Ricardo Palma. It is the people of Peru, those who have always resided within and those who came from lands afar that have contributed in creating a country with such an amazing historical background. Its hard to talk about history without discussing culture and it is very much alive in Peru, even today where centuries old practices continue to thrive.
So why visit Peru, a question you may have already be en asking? My answer is why not. I have been to Peru six times and each trip has been different than the last. There is just so much one can do from skiing in the Andes to the wild night life of Lima's clubs and bars.
One aspect of Peru that keeps me coming back is the food. Peruvian cuisine has been widely recognized for its diversity, in fact the capital Lima was regarded as the "Gastronomic capital of the Americas" by the International Summit of Gastronomy. It only takes one taste for someone to understand why. Peruvian cuisine like the countries history is very diverse with Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, French, British, African, Italian, Incan, and Pre-Incan backgrounds. It is through these cultures that Peruvian food gets its wonderful flavors and colors that please both the palate and the eyes.
It is no surprise that I find myself again returning to the place I call my home away from home. No I was never born in Peru but I have my father to thank for my experiences within the country that has me seduced for life. My father having been born and raised in Peru felt that his children whom he believed were spoiled by the easy going lifestyle of the US, decided to bring culture to their eyes. It was through this process that me and my siblings found ourselves in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Lima (Comas). Nothing like a little culture shock to influence the fragile minds of young.
With my next tour of duty to Peru just a two weeks away, I find myself contemplating what lies ahead for me. I have already visited many famous cities from Nazca to Cuzco, so I am excited to see where I end up this time around. As promised I will be taking my trusty D80 with me through all my travels so that I can share with you my experiences.
My next article will be an introduction on the city of Lima, so keep your eyes open for it.