LOCAL Houston | The City Guide September 2016 - Page 70

DESTINATION | Peru BROADENING MY HORIZONS By Jay Landa Travel enthusiast Jay Landa is a local jewelry designer and owner of the J.Landa boutique in Rice Village. It was my love of South America that led me to PERU this year. I was accompanied by 11 members of my family, and together we explored the indigenous history of Peru, its culture, cuisine and hand-crafted artwork and jewelry. It is one thing to travel alone, but sharing moments and places with loved ones made it even more special. We flew from Houston to Lima, Peru, in just six and half hours. It was an easy flight, and with the fortune to stay in the same time zone, there was no jet lag to get over during the trip. Upon arrival in Lima, our group was greeted by a tour guide who would be our conduit to the culture of Peru. He himself was Inca and greatly passionate about his people and culture. It was important for him to tell his story, and to share how these century-old customs are preserved today. Lima is a bustling city, full with people on the go and streets teeming with cars, trucks and motorcycles. It is also a very international city with people from all over South America coming together to form a Peruvian melting pot of cultures. Our hotel was the gorgeous Milaflores, which overlooked the Pacific Ocean. Every morning, we were blessed with beautiful ocean views before setting off on a day of adventure. Each night, we were treated to sunsets out over the Pacific as the sun made its daily circulation of the Earth. How beautiful it all was. Peru’s landscape and its indigenous cultures are unique. Rugged mountains, coastal deserts and tropical rainforests all make up Peru’s geography. There is no 70 L O C A L | september 16 Cusco Cathedral question that throughout our journey, we were all anticipating MACHU PICCHU. The 15th-century Inca citadel sits on top of the mountain of the same name. Though the hike up the mountain was difficult and took a couple of hours, it was worth it when we saw the magnificence of the ruins. It was spiritual, and I couldn’t help but think of the events that took place on the sites all those centuries ago. It was like the ghosts of the ancient tribes were still there, and I could feel their presence. The train from CUSCO to MACHU was extraordinary in its own right and was the highlight of our trip. The beauty of the people and the landscape going by were incredible. Continued on page 72