Of little children and mountain villages.

We climbed into our rented van at 4 in the morning, or maybe it was 3... I don't really remember because I'm pretty sure that I wasn't yet fully awake yet. For all I know, it might have been as late as 5. There were eight of us, plus a dog, and bags upon bags of candy, gifts, and supplies, plus our overnight bags. We headed out of the craziness that is Lima, to the mountains. After a couple of stops, for a few last minute supplies, gas, and bathroom breaks, we left the paved highway behind and turned onto a dirt road. Well, "road" is a pretty liberal term... let's call it a trail or large path. Our van, which was NOT an all-wheel-drive vehicle like my much loved Subaru back home, took the mountain one switchback at a time. We crawled, bumped, and groaned over the rocky path, sheer cliffs to the right, rocky mountain to the left, for HOURS. I was in the very back seat with my mom and our bags, trying not to look out the window for fear of hyperventilating. (Mountain roads tend to cause severe anxiety for me, ever since my car crash, on a mountain road back in 2007.) We passed cacti farms, a few small villages and just kept going, kept climbing. Higher. And higher. Finally, we stopped at a village square! Is this it? Are we here? No. Just taking a break. There's another couple of hours to go. DEEP BREATHS. I can do this. We continue on, up into the clouds. We pass old women walking with large colorful packs on their back and men herding donkeys along.

It's like a movie, I think to myself. I can't believe it, even as I am seeing it, I simply cannot believe that people live and exist up here in the mountains, so far removed from "civilization". Finally, we get there. To the tiniest little village of San Damian, nestled in a little valley of the mountains, engulfed in clouds.

It's quiet and cold, seems rather desolate... but it's beautiful. There are murals on the walls of the main square, brightly painted doors and windows add bursts of color, and the people all have friendly, albeit slightly curious, smiles.

We came to host a "Chocolatada" for the kids; which essentially entails handing out delicious hot chocolate and little goodie bags. It's funny how kids are all the same, no matter where you go. The eager excitement, the impatient hands, the shy smiles, the milk mustaches, the crumbs down the front of their shirt. When it comes to getting treats, kids are all the same. :)

I honestly wanted to put every single one of these little ninos in my pocket and take them home. They were all SO sticking cute! Their little smile totally made the stressful trip up the mountain worth it. :)


  1. Came here from Mari's blog (nice to "meet" you.) Your photos are gorgeous! I can only imagine the surreal feeling of being there. Peru is on the top of my places to visit list...

  2. I just found your blog on The Young McDonald's blog and love this post! I was in Peru two summers ago and your photos totally brought me back. We started in Lima and then headed to Huaraz before leaving for a mountaineering course far up in the clouds, amongst the glaciers. Thanks for sharing these photos! I look forward to reading your other posts too. :)


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