After the high of hiking the Inca Trail and giving ourselves a few days to rest and process the experience, something just felt misaligned. We received bad news from home and homesickness snuck in. Plans we made in Peru fell through or never materialized. Slowly, and then all at once, we felt like we didn’t know what we were doing or where we we going.

Completing the Inca Trail represented the end of the second chapter in our travels, the first being our time studying Spanish and traveling through Mexico. We didn’t know what this third chapter would entail, but we felt comfortable with the uncertainty–until we didn’t. This combination of internal feelings and external forces left us tired and aimless. We tried to reason through what distances made sense to travel within the country, what experiences fit our budget, and which experiences didn’t seem exploitative.

After waiting around in Cusco for a while for a trip that never materialized, we decided to visit a few more towns in southern Peru. As many interesting opportunities as there were further north, we didn’t feel like such a roundabout path to Chile was all that justified. After all, Peru provided us with a highlight of our trip—hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. So despite our floundering and uncertainty, our visit to this interesting country was certainly a success.

In these weeks of uncertainty and processing, we still experienced many incredible corners of the country. Below are a collections of snapshots from out time in the south. Some big moments, and plenty of little ones that make each day swell with gratitude in the privilege of traveling with my love.

The Plaza de Armas in Cusco is surrounded by several beautiful cathedrals
Peaceful protest through the streets of Cusco
Shopping in the market during a hail storm (not pictured)
Markets are often a great place for well-priced, delicious meals
My fav shirt and me at Moray—the Incan agricultural lab
Maras salt mining—different families different terraces of the collection pools
Learning about the design of structures within the Sacred Valley. Building in the mountains to the left was used to store food because the wind coming off a nearby glacier kept this area of the mountain cool.
Laughing at lunch and reminiscing about our first date 7 years ago to the day
Hard-hitting journalism
Enjoying a fantastic tour of Monastery of Santa Catalina de Siena, Arequipa built in the 16th century
Common living quarters within the convent. Arch intended to provide some protection from earthquarkes.
The grounds of the covent today are surprising great for an impromptu photo shoot
Case in point
Striking white cathedral in the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa
The fruit stands seemed extra-colorful in Arequipa
Any name suggestions for this cutie?
I'm planning to publish a coffee table book of roof dogs
Bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel, yes that Eiffel
Lane staring off into the...I mean away from the sunset
Volcanos are beautiful...until I remember what volcanos do
We did not sign up for the tournament
A fancy meal at a fancy hotel (we didn't stay there $) enjoying views of Lake Titicaca
More Titicaca (teehee)
Lane pointing at Bolivia. Mountains in Bolivia were actually visible, you're gonna have to trust me on that.
Caption this
and this
Not sure if it's seaworthy...or lakeworthy
The most terrifying slide we've ever seen (steepness not actually conveyed)
On Lake Titicaca...I'm not laughing, you're laughing
Floating reed islands
Floating over to another island
Anti-violence display outside a local school in Puno. We saw they decorating the wall earlier that day.
Olive you, but why so serious?

With a lack of energy and enthusiasm to continue our travels in Peru, we set our sites elsewhere, hoping a more extreme change in scenery might to the trick. There is so much of Peru we have left experience. Maybe we will return in the future, try it again. Nonetheless, we packed our bags for the last time in Peru and hopped on a series of buses southbound. Time for Chile.