We are travelling fools, Pam and I, so you have to take the following with a grain of salt, but when you get to the place that you can’t remember the last trip you took, it is time to take another. We try to fly home to Canada and the States as often as we can. Three kids and five grandkids are a big attraction. But other than that, there hasn’t been much. It is true that we did take a cruise a year ago. Sorry to say that was a bust, as any moment’s worth of reflection would have revealed before the voyage. Seriously? You live in the Caribbean and you are going to take a Caribbean cruise? D’Oh!

Anyway, after that fiasco of a cruise last year we decided to bite the bullet and actually visit a foreign country, even if it meant going through Miami to get there. We were coming up for our 40th anniversary and wanted something to match the amazing trip to the Nihiwatu Resort in Sumba, Indonesia on our 30th. After much debate and a consideration of options, we settled on Machu Picchu.

Because we hadn’t travelled in a while, I had a bucket of points on my Visa travel card that enabled us to get everything in country – flights, trains, and hotels – on points. We did what we normally do when a target destination is unknown. We have a look at the ridiculously expensive packaged tours, see where they are staying and how they are mapping the route, and then pattern our trip after that to book our own.

Having checked out Lima on Google, we thought it best to stay on the southern edge in a district called Miraflores. Again, no mistake there, for as we drove along the Pacific boulevard the hang gliders were sailing down over the cliff and the surfers were braving the gravelly beach by the score. We checked into the Radisson, where we got an upgrade to a superior room that overlooked the ocean and after a quick change of clothes and a brief look at Google maps, wandered out into the late Peruvian afternoon to J.F. Kennedy Park.

Peru is not Southeast Asia. Crowds, by Asian standards, were not a problem, and at least in the areas we travelled plenty of locals spoke sufficient English for our needs. We never felt threatened or were ever in any danger of getting lost or even separated from each other. After the organized chaos of Southeast Asia, travelling in Peru was a breeze.

Kennedy Park was filled with vendors with their leather and pottery crafts. The local art was amazingly bold and unique, with strong colours and dynamic designs. Bordering the park were a number of outdoor cafés where we stopped for dinner so we could watch the crowds.

A pleasant stroll brought us back to the hotel to cash in a voucher for free drinks, then off to sleep in a most comfortable bed. This trip to Peru, much delayed and postponed, was starting out on a very positive note indeed. Why, we asked ourselves, have we waited for so long to travel in this part of the world!