|Krishna and Lakshmi Image Credit|
Sometimes a short journey is the best salve against both homesickness and the rigors of living abroad. This is the first post in a series about refreshing Peru travel.
Taking a break from the routine, I took my colleagues’ suggestion to visit Chachapoyas, Peru. Chachapoyas serves as a base for exploring myriad recently discovered ancient ruins. They even claimed to prefer it over Machu Picchu. That appealed to me, the contrarian traveler who eschews most touristy stuff. I wasn’t disappointed.
I boarded a Movil Tours bus from the Sechura Desert that surrounds my current residence in Piura, across the Andean continental divide, and to the hamlet of Chachapoyas. The capital city of the Amazonas department, the town of Chachapoyas takes its name from the ancient tribal culture who lived there. It’s an Inca word that translates as “people of the clouds”.
Exhaustion clogged my movements and thoughts after the 14-hour journey. Upon arrival I hobbled down the cramped stairwell. My eyes peeled opened enough to see the sunrise smiling golden rays over verdant Andean mountain scenery. The tepid air refreshed my skin and perked me up enough to start thinking in Spanish again.
The local dialect instantly forced me to bear down on my listening skills. I’d become accustomed to the clear, articulate Spanish of northern Peru. Here, though, the words slid and curved– even seemed to slant in different directions. It was tantamount to the difference between Chicago and Macon, Georgia. A few awkward adjustments later I checked into the Hotel El Dorado after booking trips with the young man who checked me in. Exploration into the local historical culture, art, and architecture would wait a few hours; it was time to make up for sleep as one only gets when traveling: Hard and dreamless.
This week’s Writer’s Choice Wednesday is a return to the guest post.
When my husband and I first went to Tenerife, an island in the Canary Islands, we were desperate for a vacation. He worked seven days a week and I spent nearly 30 hours a week just commuting to my full-time job. We needed a vacation where we could just flop and recharge ourselves. Tenerife delivered the goods.
Tenerife is a five-hour flight from the UK. I would say that after Spanish, German is the next popular language, and then English.
Las Caletillas is a lovely area with traditional charm on the northeast coast. Although hilly, it’s a nice place for walking and strolls. The ocean is practically at your front door and there are neighborhood shops, bars, and restaurants. In no time at all, you feel like a local resident. You get a real feel for life in Tenerife without being swallowed by the holiday hordes. Visiting in January, Las Caletillas is quiet and laid back and any tourists there are mainly German senior citizens.
Hotel Catalonia Punta Del Rey is where we like to stay. It’s a three-star hotel and a little dated and worn in places, but it is very clean, the rooms are spacious, the balconies are big, meals are included, and the staff is very friendly and helpful. The hotel has a giant pool on the property, but it also owns a sea pool across the street that is pure heaven.
While I don’t like loud and crowded tourist resorts, I have nothing against tourist attractions, especially if they are cultural or geographical rather than purely commercial. People talk about the beaches and resorts on Tenerife, but the mountains are something to behold too; therefore Mount Teide, Spain’s tallest mountain, is a definite must-see. The drive up Mount Teide is exquisite. You literally go above the clouds travelling through forests and into what is typically described as a “Martian” landscape as the trees give way to reveal the desert, arid topography of this active volcano. But don’t worry. The last eruption was in 1909.
A word of warning. Do keep in mind that you are travelling from sea level to above the timberline. The air gets very thin. I actually felt the effects of the altitude but I don’t regret going. If you want to go to the summit, you will need special clearance from the national park service in Santa Cruz, but a cable car will get you very close to it.