I’ve been in Peru for just over 24 hours, and it has been full of firsts and personal milestones. I’ve never been so fast south, I’ve never been to Peru (or anywhere in South America), and I’ve never been at the ground at high altitude.

Getting here took…. a while. 17 hours worth of whiles. Less painful than I thought they’d be, but not hugely eventful. My main muzzy reflections:

  • Madrid airport is comically oversized. The bus ride to another terminal felt like it took less time than the night bus home from central London.
  • The plane’s definition of blockbuster and miner differ somewhat. Mad Max I get, ‘aloha’ I don’t, nor:
    • Pawn sacrifice
    • Ricki and the flash
    • Sleeping with other people
    • The end of the tour
    • Digging for fire
    • Mistress America

Flying into Peru was unsurprisingly spectacular. The first hint came with the daylight when I suddenly realised that I want looking at a distant cloud bank, but rather snow capped mountains.

Coming in over the Andes, I realised I have never been simultaneously so high in the air and so close to the ground. Particularly flying from Lima to Cusco, the ground rises up faster than the plane, until we’re swooping between cliffs and along valleys. It felt oddly thrilling.

I couldn’t help but be surprised at the colours of the landscape as we rise too. Browns and the white of ice, against rough black stone. Those I expected, but not the musky greens that seem to be more prevalent the higher you go. Almost the reverse of Norway, where the greenery abruptly halts at a certain altitude.

Lima is much less green. It crawls along hills and hides in little valleys. Buildings pump out smoke like cloud machines, with the city wreathed in mist. It’s not all that romantic when you see just how many industrial buildings are pumping out smoke.

Straight off the plane in Cusco I met Kristin, who had been here for over a week already. Happily she was able. 

Last night I stayed in Pisac, just 30 minutes from Cusco. With jet lag and altitude I was pretty drained, I haven’t been up to much other than rating and wandering. That is enough here. I will end up overusing the word stunning.

Agriculture and geology both fascinate me as I eat breakfast (my kind of thing, simple scrambled eggs on toast). You can see the stepped fields, forestry, eucalyptus trees (I think), some grazing. But I don’t think my Spanish is yet up to the task of along about the economics, primary products and labour requirements of the whole system.

Once my Spanish is up to scratch I’ll try my best asking about a few other things too. How common are landslides? Why I’d your WiFi better than mine in London? Why are there so many golden retrievers? Do people really easy alpacas?

There are way more healthy looking retrievers than I expected. So far 3 more than I expected. I have seen 3 retrievers. Why retrievers?

For now I’m going to go wander along the valley, while Kristin finishes her conference. We’re going to Cusco to see the sights, whatever they may be. This time I think I’ll have enough brain power left to drink in the sights on the breathtaking drive there.