Whenever I think of the Ballestas Islands, I see this image in my mind. It is my favorite photo of our entire trip to Peru.
As we are into our fourth week of stay-at-home orders in the U.S., and my friends and family around the world are suffering the same confinement,
I am ever more thankful for the great trips I have been able to take in the past.
Such as my trip to Peru with two of my children last July. Since none of us can even go to a nearby park, let alone travel to another country, I thought it would be fun to offer you a virtual trip and finally share some of my impressions of Peru.
Like most visitors to Peru, we mainly wanted to see Machu Picchu. We did, however, visit many more sights and saw quite a bit of the country. Now, whenever I think about the trip, it is the Ballestas Islands that stick in my mind. And I wonder what it is about traveling to famous sites.
Why would Machu Picchu make less of an impression on me than a bunch of bird-shit covered islands off the Pacific coast?
I have noticed the same about my last trip to China. Was it seeing the Great Wall of China that impressed me the most? Or the Terracotta Soldiers? Those sites were great, and it was awesome to experience them in person, but it was the Muslim Quarter of Xi’an that left the most lasting impression on me.
I wonder if this has something to do with having seen too many images of the site before I arrived? I knew what to expect, and so perhaps the experience of being there was more about the excitement of actually doing it and seeing it, than the sights (and by that I do mean their appearance) themselves.
Contrary to that, I had absolutely no expectation whatsoever of the Ballestas Islands.
Rather, our travel agent had recommended a boat trip to this wildlife sanctuary as something to do in the South of Peru on the morning after we had flown over the famous Nazca Lines and before we were heading back to Lima. And since my daughter is an animal lover and veterinary student, she was all for it, so we went.