Virgen de la Candelaria Festivity ♥

Every year during February, Peru, and especially Puno, prepare everything to be ready for one of the biggest religious manifestations and catalogued as Cultural Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO: To celebrate the festivity of the Candelaria Virgin.

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Origins

The Candelaria Virgin comes from the catholic religion that has its origins in Tenerife, Spain. Its etymology is candela, which in spanish means “light” and talks about the divine light that guides us through the good path as well as intensifies the faith in God.

The festivity starts on February 2nd, exactly 40 days after Christmas, and that’s to commemorate the arrival of Jesus Christ at the Temple of Jerusalen. It’s also one of the oldest festivities on behalf of the Virgin because it was issued by Pope Gelasio I in the year 496.

Here in Peru, back into the inca times the andean people were so close-minded that only perceived as their true gods nature elements such as the Sun, the Moon, the Lightning. This means that when the Spaniards were imposing their traditions and beliefs between them, it must’ve been pretty though to teach catholicism, so, what they came up with was that at the moment everybody was around the Virgin’s portrait adoring her, they put at the bottom two little portraits, one of the Sun and the other of the Moon, and as a result, it would be like the andean people were also adoring and praying to the Virgin… Good strategy, isn’t it?

There’s also a myth about an apparition of this Virgin in Puno during the Pacific War. So, there was one time that the Chilean troops found a very old lady and decided to kill her, however shortly after that happened there was a huge natural disaster. Some time later, one day a group of farmers found a portrait of the Virgin all covered in mud. They cleaned it and then started the devotion.

The Celebration

The first two weeks of february are filled with so much music, dances and people from all the world. You really can feel the multiculturalism!

The thing is that, Puno, as it’s located right next to Bolivia, they share what we call the Altiplano, which is why both countries share some music and dances such as Diablada, Morenada, Caporales. And this is some sort of controversial point because some Bolivians say that we want to steal their heritage, but in fact, we’re just trying to promote it, especially the Caporales, dance created by the Estrada-Pacheco brothers but adapted to different styles, some of them more elegant than the others.

Right before our big performance at the Stadium (our dance group is called “Wiñay Llaqta Peru”, which in quechue means “Going together as a family”).

The first week, native dances take place from the competition at the Enrique Torres Belon Stadium and then do a crosswalk around different streets. The second week it’s time for the dance groups that come especially from Lima to perform the dances from the Altiplano (the ones I listed above). And even thought it’s it’s a competition, it really doesn’t matter who wins and who loses, because the most exciting thing is the fact of performing right at that stadium and feature on national TV as a representation of peruvian folklore.

It’s really enjoyable because you get all caught up by the energy of the dancers, and as dancer (like I was) you also get motivated by the energy of the public, cause’ here tiredness and soreness don’t matter anymore, it’s our devotion that keeps us going. ♡

So, all I can say is that it’s a party, a street party, where you just go to your hotel to change, sleep for a few hours and get ready to go out again. But of course, the first day you should stay and rest in order to avoid altitude sickness.

Finally, besides of all the folclore, this region has magnificent places too that I’m sure you won’t like to miss, you can interact so well with locals because they know so much about tourism, most of them know english too.

With a mother and a daughter @ Uros floating islands. The girls is 18 years-old and is studying to become a tour guide!
Me @ the Titicaca lake

Alright then, this is a kind of summary of my experience as a dancer and tourist at the same time… And I won’t regret it! Even thought I couldn’t make it for the official parade cause’ my feet were just hurting so badly… But I already made my promise for next year to the Virgin, and I’ll do it ♡

After the big performance at the Stadium. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to see thousands of people clapping and motivating you through yells.

This is something you’ll never forget or regret, really. If you have the chance, please come see and LIVE CANDELARIA.

(And if you’re already interested, I’m selling a full package for next year including Lima, Puno and Cusco. Just hit Book Now ☺)

See you on the next adventure,

Patsy.

P.S. then I’ll be updating more must visit and dos in Puno.

Tunantada experience 💥. Jauja, Peru

We know Lima, the actual capital of Peru, the most urban city here, and the one that has been recognized as the best culinary destination in Latin America. But the truth is that it wasn’t always the capital..

Back in 1535 Francisco Pizarro had chosen Jauja as Peru’s official capital, which is a province located right in the center of the country, and for that, it shows a combination of all three regions. He did this because of the amazing diversity that this place has, especially its natural ressources.

However, it had to be relocated due to the importance of being much closer to the sea, and as Jauja doesn’t have a getaway to the Pacific Ocean and the city of Lima is also located at the same center line, then Lima became the new capital.



This is the Cathedral at the Main Square. If you can see the sky, this is way less polluted than Grey Lima {curious fact: there are barely cars, there are mostly moto-cars}.


Besides all of that, and to start the year at the best, there is a popular party that lasts around a week {these are the popular Fiestas Patronales, parties held on behalf of a specific saint that involves religious practices as well as typical dances, music and tons of food and drink}. So, on January 20th, they celebrate the Tunantada which is a party dedicated to Saint Sebastian and Saint Fabian, and the typical dance is about a satirical imitation | reaction from the native people dedicated to the spaniards, that’s why the dresses are very elaborated and women wear fine jewerly too, plus the use of masks. 

It was declared as Cultural Heritage of the Nation and the rhytms are all slow, the steps are far from aggressive, just during specific moments of the song there are strong voice expressions. I think that the characters {because more than dancers it’s about different characters roles} are meant to be exposed and catching the attention of the public. 



friends ♡

The main date is the 20th, where there’s a competition of different dance groups coming from other provinces, including Lima, and do a little crosswalk up in the stage. As there are so many groups, it lasts until 9 pm and right after that the orchestras get ready to play some of the best hits and all people, no matter if they are new and don’t have the proper dresses, start dancing. And of course, drink a lot of beer !
{Tbh, beer companies are a really productive business in these kind of parties!}.


This shot is amazing cause’ right behind us there’s a burning castle that coincidentally exploded and created a magnificent effect ☺


Then, the following days are followed by music, dances, people showing their best costumes, and a lot of joy.

Besides that, let’s obviously mention the food, the amazing diversity of different kinds of it. The streets get crowded of both people and various stands selling dishes, desserts, liquors or handcrafts.

 

This is “chancho y carnero al palo”, probably the most sold dish. There are many vendors offering you free bites in order to motivate you you stay and eat at their restaurant.

 

This is the little “combinado”, as the name says, a “mix” of potatoes,rice, noodles and all covered with chilli (yes, it is spicy).



But definitely, one of the best things here is the weather cause’ it’s the best. It’s cold, yes, because Jauja is located at 3,000 meters above the sea {just in case be prepared with your implements against Soroche). However it has been proven that as the air is really pure, it can heal health conditions such as respiratory problems 👌

 



This is Laguna de Paca ♡

 

BONUS EXTRA: You can watch a video I made about documenting most of the trip, especially the fiesta : https://youtu.be/5ExHDvA7m14 🙂

 


My final advice would be that this kind of experience is priceless, besides there’s no other better way to get involved into a different culture rather than through their cultural heritage.
That’s why I highly recommend you that if you have a chance to live a trip like this, don’t think twice. As Nike would say, JUST DO IT.

What really is Tourism?

Alright so I just passed my exam in order to get my degree in Tourism Management, and since these recent years I’ve been valuing more my profession, i mean, it’s something that didn’t happened to me even when i was studying, but since I started to open my mind going to the US and facing reality something moved me and now i couldn’t be more engaged with this amazing field.

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Tourism is service,
Tourism is connection,
Tourism is time and attention,
TOURISM IS AN EXPERIENCE.

Yes, at the end, that’s what it is about. We sell experiences. But even now in this 21st century there are still many people who think that tourismologists (people who are majors in this field) are in charge of traveling… And i don’t blame them, really, because by common sense it should be like that, right? In fact, tourism is an activity that consists of people traveling to a destination and staying for more than a night and less than a year. And if you analyze that interpretation, it must be a beautiful career, isn’t it?

Anyways, i’m not saying that according to reality it’s not, but the people who are majors in tourism have to do the big work, being attentive to the most minimal detail in order to get a happy and real smile from our satisfied customer. It’s a double work because what we sell is not something you can touch and test before purchasing, it’s something that you’ll not see until you pay and live it, so we’re always looking for sponsors or influencers in order to materialize our service.

Plus, we want to add the final touch for your experience, which will be the interaction. We want to be your friends, at least as much as your stay least, we’re interested about how’s your day going so far and just in case something bad happens we might be able to draw a smile in your face with a joke or just a kind word, this because we want that from the moment you start your adventure with us you feel that everything else disappears and you’re going to enjoy as much as you can because life’s about it, and you’re here to make the most wonderful memories.

That’s our job, and we love it. At least, that was my reflection these recent past years and made me fall in love much more with my career, and then with my country too.

And for all of these reasons, I think that no matter how far technology goes and how developed robots can be and replace most of the human work, I’m pretty sure that it won’t replace this job, because if you think about it… There’s a huge difference between being guided and serve by a human being that keeps up the conversation with you along with real emotions, and by a machine that will speed up the process but won’t connect.

So, the biggest lesson I can deduct from tourism, and it’s something that we all need to hear and keep practicing day by day is ENJOY EVERY SINGLE MINUTE, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY INTERACTION, SEE EACH PLACE WITH DIFFERENT EYES IN ORDER TO SENSE THE BEAUTY OF IT. Live your present.

This is why is extremely important to travel often, not necessarily going out of the country cause’ it can be a weekend getaway. The most important thing is that you reconnect with yourself and the world around you.

 

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this is from back in 2016 i guess, when i took a tour guiding class.

Pisco starts with P… of Peru

This is a topic that i think that needs to be considered as important due to the confusion it can lead to. This is a distilled liquor that has become internationalized already and at least the most popular bars, as well as bartenders, didn’t think twice in order to launch different recipes. To be honest, this is such an honor, especially for Peruvians, to see our national beverage go through borders.

However, the biggest problem drives us to the discussion about if it’s originally from Peru or Chile… that’s why i’m writing this, i mean, not to cause any sort of fights between which country is better, because each one is different and has its own charms, but to clear things up.

So, actually, the real reason would be that Peru took so long to legalize the Name of Origin, then Chile took the advantage.

 

During the age of the Spanish Conquest, in 1570, the Spaniards were the ones who introduced grapes to our country [as well as other ingredients such as rice, beef, etc] and the ancient peruvians started to ferment this fruit.
It was forbidden to distill cane alcohol until 1613, but even since then they name the product as “Grape’s liquor from the region of Pisco”.

Years later, in 1814, there’s a written reference about one of author William B Stevenson’s trips to Peru, where he describes about a “colorless liquor, similar to cognac that they call pisco due to the place it was made”…

Now, it’s finally in 1931 when Chile decided to register a Name of Origin of “Pisco Chile”, but to make that kind of document there must be accredited by the place of origin, and sadly there was no place named Pisco there. Until 5 years later when they changed the name of a town called “La Union” in order to be named “Pisco Elqui”.

 

And what about Peru?

Well… it wasn’t until 50 years later that we register our Name of Origin. Why? I seriously don’t know the exact cause.

 

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I was in Washington d.C for the Passport d.C event, and I was truly amazed by how Pisco Sour is prepared for international tourists…

 

And then, another thing I’d like to clear about is the standardization of its recipe. And this is another BIG issue because there’s no official organization in charge of spreading the real measures, that’s why we can find in different media networks different amounts of pisco, syrup and lemon to pour in our final product… But the truth is that there’s ONLY ONE MEASURE IN ORDER TO BALANCE ALL FLAVORS : SWEET, SOUR AND BITTER, and these are:

  • 3 ounces of Pisco
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice
  • 1 ounce of sugar syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Dashes of angostura bitter

 

 

Cheers!

Patsy.

Traveling with friends is the coolest

Traveling with friends is the best thing ever, because one of the things that all of you have in common will be saving money, for real. It’s all about youth, you want to have a lot of fun, drink, talk until midnight, eat, trekk as long as it doesn’t compromise your wallet.
I can guarantee that it is really true, besides, the best adventures always come from it, i mean, from those moments of “money struggle”. However, i prefer to call it

B A C K P A C K I N G         A D V E N T U R E S

I’m not a multi-friend person but i have this group of people who always know how to have fun together, we just need a free space, something to drink and then the rest is up to us, just with music and talking we make the funniest night ever.

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So, we planned to make a close trip together, and we chose Matucana, a nice little town near Lima where one of my friends have her grandma’s house so we would stay one night over there. Here i’ll tell you our crazy little things:

 

How to get there

Just follow the guidelines for going to Marcahuasi noted on my last post, with the difference that once you get to Parque Echenique, you make sure that the other bus or van you’ll take goes to Matucana Cemetery.

We were lucky so we paid like 8 soles each one and had the full van just for all of us. Now here comes the risky thing: So, there were 2 drivers and they notified us that they didn’t have an actual license to take us! And to make it worst, in the middle of the path a group of policemen stopped us and asked for our ID’s {you know, just to make sure everyone was overage, and a couple of formal issues}… But the funny thing was that they told us: “okay, if anyone asks you guys, you all are my nephews”, LOL.

Good news are that we made it happy and safely.

 

Now, what to do?

Of course my #1 advice to everyone out there reading this post is that you have always a plan or at least a couple places chosen so you won’t be stuck in the middle of your trip with no ideas of what to do.
Well, all we knew was that we wanted to trek to a waterfall, but as there were a lot then we haven’t decided yet, so in the meantime, we went to a restaurant to eat lunch.

{there are a lot of cheap restaurants located around the little main square, and of course they serve you real TAYPÁ, which stands for a peruvian slang that means a full-plate}

After that, and by the way the restaurant had some pictures of the attractions around there so we decided to go to Antakallo waterfalls, but first, we ate as dessert some little artisanal ice creams… There was one of Pisco flavor, so i chose that, but tbh it was bad. I’m sorry but i won’t recommend that because it had more coconut than pisco, and that’s not the point…


Alright so we just followed all the signs and started to climb, but the path was real long. It might’ve been took us like 4-5 hours, between pictures and some stops to breath some pure air. To be honest, trekking can be so tiring, especially if you love nature but sadly don’t train too much, but it’s not impossible…

The main thing to focus will be the fact that you are in a total different place away from the noisy-polluted city and could enjoy unique landscapes as well as purify your lungs.

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And what about the night-life?

Well, after all the trekking of course we ended up exhausted, but as we’re young, wild and free we felt like having too much more energy, so we didn’t wanted to just go home and rest, even thought it was so silent out there.

That’s why before getting on the van back in Lima, we bought some pisco and whiskey, but to not drink it without eat, we made a quick estimate and bought ingredients to make tallarin rojo con atun {=spaguetti with tomato sauce and tuna}, and ended up spending less than in a restaurant!

Recipe:

  • Spaghetti noodles
  • Tuna
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Oil
  • Matches
  • Disposable plates and forks

And yep, it’s just as simple as it is, just put the noodles to boil and then in a casserole make a seasoning with the oil, onions, garlic and tuna {with the tuna oil}, then pour the noddles and mix. Don’t forget to add the salt.

In our case, we didn’t have salt; that’s why we made the pisco sour first so they can eat it all with hunger, LOL.
But another problem was that there was NO ICE! and i was about to not do the drink, but as they were asking for it i did it… And it came good, but strong.

So, yeah, after that we were just in the same room, talking until 4 am and laughing out loud…

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Alright so this was what we ate. And you know what? It doesn’t matter how little you have or if any ingredient is missing, just

A C C E P T       A N D      L E T       G O 

And enjoy it, because at the end you’re creating more life memories and enriching your trip with unique anecdotes.

 

Marcahuasi has it all

2016: This trip was made as a part of a class so we can observe the real conditions of the highway as well as the touristic infrastructure, but then it ended up as a big adventure filled up with new experiences. Up next i will tell you everything about it {as well as giving you some little advices}.

 

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The Amphitheatre

How to get there?

From Lima you have to go to Bolognesi Ave. and right two or three blocks away from the plaza there is a spot where there are a lot of mini vans that just charge you 5 or 6 soles to take you to Parque Echenique in Chosica.

Right there you have to take a bus straight to San Pedro de Casta, which is the little town that surrounds the meseta. Even as little as it is it has enough things to survive like some restaurants, stores and a little city hall where you can buy the tickets to climb {if i’m good it’s going to be around 10 – 15 soles}, plus there’s a regular hostel that has minimal infrastructure conditions where people who, for some reason, don’t want to climb all the way up can rest. But to be honest, i literally recommend you to take the risk and go climb, cause’ if not there’s no sense at all…

 

Ways to climb

a) By walk, which is the most common way. It usually says that takes 4 hours, however if you would like to enjoy and take pictures and videos that would be 6 hours {if you don’t get lost, lol}. Besides, when you reach a middle point in the road there will be two kind of paths to follow: the long and flat one, and then the short and sheer one… But what it doesn’t say is that if you follow the long one it will take you directly to the Amphitheatre {the place where everyone camps}, instead of the short one, that will lead you to the Stone Monument first and then there would be another path to follow

{but please, do not do this unless you are with a group of people or know how to use a map properly, cause’ it gets scary when it gets dark}

 

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here we were ready to take the risk of the short path… without noticing that we would get lost.

 

b) By car, which is the lazy-option, hehe. Or actually, if you would like to climb by foot but just a little bit this is perfect for you. They will charge you like 5 soles {per person} and the van will take you to the half of the meseta so you can walk from there.

 

c) By donkey… Uhm, i really don’t know how it works but as i’ve heard it only takes you to some point and then you must walk {but anyways it’s a great experience}

 

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Of course nothing compares to walk… You breathe very pure air and enjoy the view of beautiful highlandscapes.

Mountain sickness : Soroche

Yup, even if this place can be so close to the city, the altitude can reach to 4200 meters above the sea {compared to San Pedro de Casta that only has 3900 meters above the sea}, and the weather is very tricky too because during the morning and some part of the afternoon there’s a lot of brightness of the sun as well as heat {which, of course doesn’t help you to climb lol}, but nights can get real cold {during winters the temperature can reach 20°F}, that’s why everyone must take big backpacks with enough warm clothes to make it through the night cause’ of course no one will survive in a light tent, right?

But anyways, up there there’s a big tent where some locals sell hot teas, food and even rent blankets for people who just can’t handle those temperatures {i rented one and i felt really cozy}.

NOW, THE GREATEST ADVICE THAT I CAN GIVE YOU IS NEVER DO ANY KIND OF EFFORT AFTER CLIMBING. YOUR BODY NEEDS TO GET ACCLIMATED SO THE BEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE TO IT IS REST, NO MATTER IF ONLY 10 MIN BUT GIVE IT A REST OR YOU’LL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES {belive me, i got the soroche, and it wasn’t funny at alll 😦

My symptoms where coldness, chills and then a stabbing headache. After that during the early morning i woke up to throw up.
Don’t forget to take pills such as gravol or sorochin, and of course, TONS of water.

 

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It was a great backpackers’ adventure. People say that Marcahuasi is a great place to see UFOs because of the magnetic field that covers all the meseta, but as we weren’t so into that we just told some horror stories and gave us an amazing breakout!

Plus we did the PAGAPU, a kind of payment that our ancestors used to do for the mountain’s gods in the highlands so they could be protected during all of their trips.

 

Patsy.

 

My happy grey Lima

Lima… The City of the Kings, or most likely known as Grey Lima due to the big amount of pollution that is on the air. As you can see, even if this is a bad point to classify our city, we try to call it with the most beautiful terms we can.

Lima has it all, not exactly like New York because it actually sleeps, but if some time you would like to eat something quick, from 1 to 3 am you can catch up a sandwich at tía veneno’s {the poison lady} that, even if as not-so-good as it sounds it’s about an old lady who sets up a little cart in popular streets and sells sandwiches, hamburgers, sodas for everyone starving during early mornings… And you win twice, beacause it’s a delicious homemade flavor and it’s also a very cheap price!: from 3 to 10 soles {=less than USD$5!!}..

There’s also a great amount of diversity there, it’s the place where almost all races from all over the country meet together in order to find better life opportunities. That’s why there’s no a specific standard to define the “peruvian person”, because as each region has its own traditions, clothings, beliefs, accents and practices, you always learn something different from them, and there’s no other place that mixes it like Lima.

Lima was the capital of the Viceroyalty, and where Jose de San Martin declared in 1821: “Since this moment Peru will be free and independent due to the general choice of its people and the cause that God defends”. 

san-martin

 

It’s also the place where most of the cultures around the world mixed up and came up with unique foods that made our country Latin Culinary Destination of the world.
Thanks to every Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African & Spanish inmigrant, and our milenary civilizations’ traditions that lead our country’s development to a new level.

 

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There’s a bunch of history around the corners of Lima, but sadly most of them aren’t well informed to the visitors, that’s why everyone that comes is always looking to go straight to Cusco or any other region, because “lima is always the same”, but no. I’m here to show you that if you want to eat delicious, drink amazing pisco sours, get into the Republican old times and party like there’s no tomorrow, this is your first door to Peruvian culture.

So, next time you have the chance to travel to Peru, please DO NOT HESITATE IN STAYING IN LIMA AT LEAST 3 DAYS UP TO 1 WEEK. 

YOU WON’T REGRET IT 🙂

 

Safe travels!!

Patsy.

I’m chola.. and i love it.

Many years ago, when people used to ask me “where are you from?”, i just used to say: “oh i’m from the Coast: Lima, i’ve always grown up there”, and never said or at least show interest on where my parents come from. Then, recently {like one year ago since i started traveling a little bit more around Peru} i could visit the places they come from and realized that they are completely different; both with different traditions, food, music… So it was from that moment that i felt extra happy for all diversity i have had into my house all of this time.

Now i couldn’t feel richer and lucky for having all peruvian culture from the three regions in my veins, and everytime i get asked that first question i say “i’m peruvian, i grow up in Lima but my dad is from the highlands {Ancash} and my mom is from the amazon {Lamas}

And here i explain to you a little bit of those regions:

The Amazon

This is the hottest part in Peru, all year the sun brights a lot and that’s why almost everyone always wears thin layers of clothes. Of course there is rain but no matter how strong it gets the weather remains warm {now i get why my mom loves to stay under the rain lol}.
The people there have a lot of charisma and happy all the time, plus they can be really talkative, but especially when there is trust in the air they have always something really funny to tell between every conversation {they got real hilarious jokes}, so everytime i get to meet with my mom’s side of the family there’s laughing everytime…

It has also a lot of vegetation so that’s why it can reduce at least a little bit the hotness. Besides, they have very interesting wild animals that you can even take pictures with {like snakes!}

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on december, 2015 i got to meet for the first time this part of Peru, and i absolutely loved it! i’m here in Lamas town, specifically in the “wayku neighboorhood” with a statue of a typical couple. 

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The Highlands

I already knew how big my dad’s side of the family was because grandpa had 8 kids and then they got my cousins, nephews, etc. But i didn’t have a clue of how famous we were in this part of my country, especially grandpa… It was really incredible to arrive and by the time we were hanging between the farms people would look at us, talk a little bit and say “oh, so you’re related with Juan Blas! Come and stay for lunch, okay?”, but then we ended up with at least 30 invitations from the other families, for real! and we couldn’t make it to all of them, of course, because they also have the tradition of serving a very full plate of food.
But yes, people all over there is so humble, i mean, even they live in small houses they do have big farms and like to invite people related to them, even far relatives.
Besides that, the landscape is wonderful, very pretty, especially the blue sky and white clouds {no pollution like “grey Lima”}, and at nights you can see a lot of stars.

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i went from the first time, in 2011 when i was 15. This is Ancash’ highlands.

 


 

I know how to cook dishes from the highlands as well as from the amazon, plus i love their music too… that’s why my preferences are so diverse! However, i notice that those parts of my country are not getting enough promotion, so there’s a great chance for me.

 

Patsy.