It’s been sixteen months since we landed in Houston after spending nine and a half months in Latin America. Our little chihuahua growled at us when we got into my parents’ car still wearing our hats from Nicaragua. It took him a while to warm up to us. Our intention was to get this post out right away. Well, American life happened. We visited Kate’s family in Northern California for three months then spent time with my family in Nashville and Houston. We have been back in Central Texas since the fall of 2015, working on projects we had planned while traveling and swimming daily in the cold springs that make this region so special.
Day 1: Lima, Perú to Bogotá, Colombia
We left our comfy hotel in Barranco and attempted to take the metro to the airport. However, rush hour proved too much of an obstacle for our backpacks on the crowded trams so we hailed a cab. We had barely enough Peruvian soles to make it. Kurt was anxious about the restrictions of flying because we had traveled solely overland during the previous nine months. We were taking Viva Colombia, a discount airline, which has the usual reputation of forcing one to jump through hoops to avoid excessive charges. I told Kurt all will be well, let’s just be open to whatever happens. After Paying Viva Colombia’s bogus “foreigner arrival fee”, we boarded a quick three hours flight to Bogotá. Our carry-on and checked bags passed an easy inspection. Upon arrival in Bogotá, we chatted for about five minutes with the immigration agent about places we had been in Colombia and tips on Fin del Mundo, a place regrettably we had not been. My fond memories of happy moments in Colombia gave me a wild idea. I suggested scrapping the San Blas plan for now and heading south in Colombia to return to some of our favorite spots and to see some places we missed the first time around. We spent the night in Bogotá to give the idea some thought. In the morning, we decided that it was best to continue with our original plan and head for Central America.
Day 2: Bogotá to Medellín, Colombia
Cusco – A Great Place for a Reunion
The best part of Cusco was getting to spend time with friends and family. We stayed in a sweet little hotel with five rooms in the San Blas neighborhood run by a Peruvian family and ate daily at some fantastic vegetarian restaurants. We ran into people we met in Chachapoyas, Yarinacocha and Potosí months before. The Cusco region is a major hub for travelers.
Visiting with Family in La Paz
We left Perú before seeing Machu Picchu so that we could meet Kate’s Aunt Indira while she was visiting La Paz. Indira has an interesting story. She’s from Kyrgyzstan. Kate’s Uncle Toby met her while mountain climbing in Central Asia. After marrying, they settled in Homer, Alaska to raise their son and daughter. Indira is an industrious woman. She bought a well known established business in Homer called A Better Sweater. It’s a rare store that sells handmade products from around the world.
We went with Indira to visit her various suppliers, our favorite of which was Artesania Sorata, owned by Diane Bellomy. Diane has been working with indigenous women for over 30 years in producing naturally died and hand woven products made of alpaca wool. We were also fortunate enough to meet Diane’s life long partner, Ron Davis, who installs water powered electrical generators throughout Bolivia. Both of these people are inspirational in what they do for others and the environment.