The land of the Incas. Here my salsa skills got better, my Spanish got better, and my cooking!
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26 feb201826 The heart of Quispicanchi - Urcos natureplacesUrcos, PeruUrcos, Peru When somebody is talking about Peru, Cusco, and/or Sacred Valley, few obvious places come to mind: Machi Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, Puno, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, or Urubamba. My last Tuesday on Peruvian we (Bettina and I, as it was her last day on Peruvian soil) decided to spend a day in some less touristy part of the Sacred Valley. My vote initially went to Maras and visiting the salt evaporation ponds - and we all now that anything to do with salt is of interest to me, Betting opted for Urcos, and yes ultimately we agreed Urcos will be the best bet. Kudos to you Bettina, the choice was perfect!Urcos is a small town situated around 50km south-east from Cusco with population of only a bit over 4000 people and a capital of the province Quispicanchis (one of the 13 provinces of Cusco district)... Comments (0)more...23 feb201823 The Lost crops of the Incas - The Mother Grain foodCusco, PeruCusco, Peru Do you now what is the Mother of all grains? Guess, just guess...  If you said QUINOA then you are absolutely right! Chisiya mama (which is quinoa in Quechua language) was so crucial for the life of the Incas they considered it sacred. Derived from Spanish spelling of the Quechua name kinwa or occasionally "Qin-wah", it originated in the Andean region before they were colonised and baceme nation-states, where it was successfully domesticated 3000 to 4000 years ago for human consumption, though archeological evidence shows a non-domesticated association with pastoral herding some 5200 to 7000 years ago.  Imagine the Incas domesticated it 4000 years ago and it only made to the US in the 80s! Nowadays its presence is growing especially in vegetarian and... Comments (0)more...21 feb201821 Farewell Cusco, it's been great knowing you! peopleplacesCusco, PeruCusco, Peru 165 days, that's 14 256 00 seconds I spent in the sacred city of Cusco. I didn't know I would be going here until late February last year. After haing agreed to go to Honduras first my availability changed and I didn't know if LAFF would wait for me that long. When I received a positive answer I was so happy. It meant I had 9 continuous months of volunteering secured, which I hoped would get me closer to my life goals. Get to know Latin and South America, learn Spanish, improve my salsa, meet great people, but also advance with my professional ambitions that stopped advancing a while ago. As you may know I am in Colombia now where I will be working as Data Analyst/Salesforce Admin (Dev). An opportunity that would never happen without LAFF. When I started volunteering in... Comments (0)more...13 feb201813 Cusco, Cusco es tu nombre sagrado! peopleplacesCusco, PeruCusco, Peru Cusco, Cusco es tu nombre sagradoComo el Sol de Incario immortal,todo el mundo te lleva en el pechocomo canto y bandera triunfal.This is the first verse of the Cusco anthem, which in short four lines show how proud people were and are of their native land.Your name is sacred like the immortal sun of the Incan Empire, whole world carries you in their hearts while signing and waving the flag of triumph.I think there wasn't a day when I didn't think at least once what this place would have looked and sounded like had the Spaniards never been granted a permission from Queen Isabella of Portugal to conquer Peru. I imagine Quechua would still be a primary language, maybe (a big one) Huáscar and Atahulpa would get along to preserve the empire instead getting into... Comments (0)more...27 jan201827 Rainbow mountain, alpacas, and spirits of the mountains natureplacesVinicunca, Canchis Province, PeruVinicunca, Canchis Province, Peru Vinicunca, as that's how Rainbow Mountain is called in Quechua, is one of the most popular hiking destination in Cusco (despite having been opened to tourists for just three years). The main reason is of course to see the magical spectacle of colours of the mountain and the whole valley caused by many different layers of rock formations. I wish I knew the chemical and physical magic behind the colours. But that's not only reason. The changing difficulty of the trek is a good way of testing yourself before some more difficult treks. I personally didn't know if I'd make it. After another stretch of few weeks filled with health problems, hospitals, and having been bound to my chair at home, I was at first sceptical about going. Then I thought it has been two weeks of feeling not... Comments (1)more...14 dec201714 Unexpected gaLIMAtias! placesLima, PeruLima, Peru Why Lima? As some of you know I was travelling to Medellín, Colombia to talk to Moving Worlds, a company that helps skilled volunteers (experteers) to find great opportunities for really meaningful work with non-profits. I actually found my Honduran and Peruvian opportunities through that site. Few weeks ago it turned out they were looking for kind of a mix of Salesforce Admin/Developer with Data Analysis skills and some Web Development. Yup - that fits me perfectly.I sent them a message and started advising them remotely straight away, mostly in things related to Salesforce integrations and how to design the database and keep the data. I'll be honest the paid remote contractors only focused on writing code without even thinking who is going to use the data and how. I'm... Comments (0)more...6 dec20176 First half of the Cusquenan adventure foodnatureplacesCusco, PeruCusco, Peru Exactly three months ago I arrived in Cusco. 6th September seems like a different lifetime ago and yet it has only been three months. They say the older we get the different our perception of time is. When you're 15 a lot more can happen in a year than when you're 25. Do you believe that? I used to, nowadays I think it's just an excuse for people who can't or don't want a lot to happen in their lives.After 12 weeks I can say I have a pretty good life here in Cusco. It has its routines and stability but at the same time always interesting and daring - I can't call it boring even if I wanted to. Beginnings are always difficult but I learned that humans can adapt to anything and I have too. At first it wasn't easy even with simple things lie weather. High-altitude... Comments (1)more...5 dec20175 Experteering with LAFF workCusco, PeruCusco, Peru It was just a typical Monday morning, my last Monday at Salecycle - 3rd April - when I received an e-mail from Latin American Foundations for the Future confirming that I was accepted as a volunteer. My heart was buzzing as I had only 11 days left in the UK and my plans only included few weeks in Canada and then 3 months in Honduras. It was a perfect timing and couldn't be more happier when they also agreed to wait for me until September so that I could finish my placement in El Porvenir. Before I arrived I had my own doubts about what's it going to be like but in places like this you have to have positive attitude. So far every trip had its ups and downs, happy and not so happy moments, each trip also featured some mistakes on my part that I wish I could change, so when I... Comments (0)more...3 dec20173 First trip to Willka Qhichwa natureplacesPisac - Lamay - Calca - Urubamba, PeruPisac - Lamay - Calca - Urubamba, Peru Who doesn't like a road trip?! If you don't then you can leave ;)Today I tagged along with Taylor, Ange, Libertad, and their mum to a trip to Sacred Valley (Valle Sagrado de los Incas, Willka Qhichwa) in search of perfect wedding reception spot. So far during my stay here in Cusco I haven't travelleed much and this seemed like an awesome opportunity to see few places. The primary reason for the road trip was to inspect few places that Angela & Taylor are considering for their wedding reception.Before we got to business we visited Pisac - well known for its ruins and Sunday market (I have to say I fell in love with all sorts of markets here!). The city was erected by the most important Sapa Inca Pachacútec who was responsible for transforming Kingdom... Comments (0)more...27 nov201727 The most expensive broccoli in the history of broccolis foodCusco, PeruCusco, Peru Broccoli is such a normal, typical, and casual vegetable, wouldn't you agree? It's not my favourite but I like it, especially in stir-fry or mashed with cauliflower. It was a very common day, 23rd November, and after work I decided to make stir-fry for dinner. Vegetables, mushrooms, chinese spices, and soy sauce was exactly what I needed. Usually I boil my broccoli and cauliflower before I use it in anything but this time I decided to keep it on the fire for longer without boiling. I have to say the dish kicked ass and it disappeared very quickly.That was beginning of the end. Stomach cramps within two hours of eating, not sleeping at all, and then Friday at work wasn't the easiest of workdays. Later I tried to go to salsa lesson as usual on Friday night and for a... Comments (2)more...
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