From Lima, Peru
The Lince barrio gets few visitors - it's real Lima. We sat down to Chupe de Camarones - dazzlingly fresh seafood in bright yellow broth. No nonsense food, served with love. Utterly delicious.
Coffee beckoned, so Ronald took us to trendy Barranco, right on the waterfront, and a chilled cafe with comfy sofas, art, books, and, importantly, first rate espresso. Sure, Lima can overwhelm, but if you know where to go you'll quickly come to love it.
From Huanchaco, Peru
An early flight from Lima and a couple of hours clambering around a Moche temple had left our little group of four more than ready for some ceviche when we reached Huanchaco, its spiritual home.
I don’t know if it was the fish, the cook, or watching the totora reed boats diving into the surf, and listening to the waves hit the beach below - but Peruvians and gringos alike, we all swore it was the finest ceviche we’d ever tasted.
From Sacred Valley, Peru
There are lots of ‘weaving demonstrations’ at the front of shops in Peru's Sacred Valley. Then there's the women’s co-operative - the real deal - set up in the 1970s to provide a space for women to continue their ancient craft, under the watchful eye of the most senior weaver, Nilda.
I spent the most fascinating hour or so watching them at work, slowly teasing the wool from rough bundles of coloured fluff to increasingly thin, fine thread.
From Sacred Valley, Peru
Chicha is a drink which appears in many forms in many different parts of South America. In Peru it is usually a fermented corn beer which you’ll see being served up by street vendors in most towns, served in front room bars in villages.
But I defy anyone to find a chichería whose proprieter can rival Mercedes for character, as both her smile and the enormity of her glass will testify. Meeting her is one of my favourite memories from Peru.
From Machu Picchu, Peru
We've all seen the photos, heard stories of how beautiful it is. I almost expected to be disappointed. I wasn’t. We tend to forget how much our brains pack in around an image, partly sounds and smells, but also knowledge.
Having walked all day to get here, I knew how remote the place is and how impressive a feat of exertion and engineering it is. Machu Picchu was far more stunning in person than even the best photo could ever capture.
From Cusco, Peru
4pm. Time for coffee. We clocked a terrace and tottered off. All was calm, all was normal, all was... utter mayhem.
Trumpets blared, crowds gathered, colours merged into a rainbow. What was happening? For an hour we watched as Cusco came alive with a religious festival. It came from nowhere, and everywhere. My photos capture the colour, but the sound, the energy, everything else is locked away in my memories. Perhaps I didn't need that caffeine hit after all.