The road north from Lima

Connections and Volunteering in Lima

Good morning Lima! What a beautiful day for a run through the bohemian suburb of Barranco. And what a joy to do it with my precious family.

What was supposed to be a meeting with one person, turned into an entire day with a wonderful bunch of people. Thank you precious Oli! We love everything about this organisation!! After packing sixty boxes with food and personal hygiene items for people who lost everything in the recent floods and landslides, we moved on to sorting and packing clothes. Volunteers simply arrive at this gorgeous house and do what needs doing for as long as they can or want to. It feels like a big happy family.WP_20170519_12_35_14_Pro (Small)

Francesca and Daniela showed us the ropes and we fell in love with both of them within the first few minutes. We had a good few laughs too. Katja, the founder, is an inspirational, kind, gem of a lady. Well connected too. She will hopefully visit us in Australia in the not too distant future. Diana runs the show and is incredibly busy. She put us in touch with people in Trujillo, our next destination in Peru. Oh how very grateful we are for each of the new friends made here in Lima – the absolute highlight!

Lima to Trujillo

On our departure day in Lima, we got up super early to book accommodation in our next town and to clean and pack. Well, well… Jarik’s laptop went into some crazy loop during the night and ate up all our data!! Oh no!! And everything is closed for at least another three hours.

So with no accommodation booked on the other side and only being able to get wi-fi in time to get an uber, we ran downstairs to meet our lift to the bus station. With all the stress and drama, I managed to lock my backpack in the apartment. And by now, we were cutting it very fine for the bus departure about ten kilometres away. Our Mr Uber (which we paid) drove off when he realised there was a problem. I managed to get hold of Mariana, our wonderful hostess and friend, who dropped everything to come over from the next suburb and unlock the door and then drove me to the bus station. The rest of the family, in the mean time, got lost in another uber and only arrived at the bus terminal after me and after our departure time. Marvellous Mariana spoke to the bus people in Spanish and made them wait until we were all finally onboard. Phew!!! What a drama!!

Mariana told me not to worry, as she would organise something for us with a friend of hers who works at a five star hotel in Trujillo. We arrived around 8pm and was driven to our fancy hotel in the smallest, dirtiest taxi in the world. Quite the comical contrast as our porter loaded our backpacks out of the taxi and onto his glitzy trolley. Five stars here we are!!

The next morning we enjoyed the gym and pool before we moved on to our much more humble abode on the other side of town. Our new hosts told us not to venture out to the left as this is a “very dangerous” neighbourhood. Very reassuring!

After being completely underwhelmed by Chan Chan (the largest pre Columbian city remains in South America) and walking for miles in the hot sun, we took a local bus to the coastal town of Huanchaco.

Here we got harassed by restaurant recruiters and were promised amazing food at great prices. We were taken to a place up on the third floor from where we had a lovely view of the surfers and traditional straw boats. We thought we hit the jackpot. Until our food arrived. Tiny portions of disappointing food, incorrect drinks (which was supposed to be complementary) and a bill three times what was advertised. Mmm… And there we were thinking we were doing great being able to help ourselves in a completely non English speaking environment.

Back to Trujillo on a local bus (see picture above), we were dropped off 3km from our place, on the wrong side of the “danger zone” we have been warned about. An interesting stroll back home.

That night we ventured out for dinner and Peruvian haircuts for the boys. Loads of fun!  Six glasses of chicha morada (a drink made with purple corn) in a local restaubar concludes our adventurous day.

On our last day in Trujillo we went for a run in our now familiar “dangerous neighbourhood”. After a last cold shower, we were on our way to yet another overnight bus ride. 🤢🤢To Chachapoyas in the northern Peruvian highlands. Up from the coast – I’ll say no more…

Peruvian Coastal Dessert

We survived the overnight bus ride with the help of motion sicknesses tablets and my Annie’s wristbands. I didn’t quite get my required beauty sleep, but I saw some interesting sights along the way.

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The coastal desert was a shock to me. Miles and miles of concrete coloured flatness interspersed with concrete coloured hills. No green, no signs of life, just dead rock. For someone who lives in the country with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, this is pretty hard to swallow.

I don’t think we’ll settle here then.


Thank you dearest Salkantay trek guide Ricardo. This was an excellent recommendation! Chachapoyas is a beautiful, clean little city in the northern highlands of Peru. We stayed in a hostel on the main square. Lovely!

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From Chachapoyas we explored the surrounding canyons and waterfalls. Breathtakingly beautiful! The perfect ending to our Peruvian adventure.

Peru to Ecuador

An entire day of traveling in and on all sorts of interesting vehicles brought us from Peru to Ecuador. Buses, minibus-taxis, motorcycle taxis, local fall-apart-cars and a truck made it a very interesting experience indeed. Bent, our German travel companion for the day, who speaks Spanish was a great help. He told Jarik that people everywhere we went that day asked him who are we and what are we doing there and how does he know us. They have never seen a family do what we are doing and didn’t believe we were merely vacationing. Spying for the government, maybe?

At the border we had warm beer and our last Peruvian meal in an eatery with the most disgusting bathroom for which you pay 50 American cents per use. No seat, no, toilet paper and a floor flooded with wee. Eeeeeewwwwwww!!!!!! The food was great, though. We paid and strolled into the immigration office.

Bent lost the little piece of paper issued upon arrival in Peru. The penalty for that is 14.75 soles, less than 5 dollars. The catch, however, is that you can only deposit it at the national bank of Peru in a town a few hours from the border. Being a Saturday afternoon, there was nothing we could do.  Bent would have to stay in Peru untill Monday. We were all pretty devastated. A whole day of traveling for nothing.

Bent walked across the bridge and into Ecuador with us. He stood with us as we got our passports stamped in a little office. After exchanging hugs we got onto the back of a truck with a horde of Ecuadorians and waved at Bent as he walked back across the bridge and into Peru. As we drive into the dark we feel a mixture of sadness for Bent and excitement for our next adventure. And we wonder where we’ll end up sleeping tonight.

– Mariza –


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