We Miss Cheese… Oh, and Where We Have Been Lately

Yes.. You read it right.. Four weeks out of the states.. And nearly three months out of our house and we are starting to miss things. Yes, there are the obvious things like our family that we miss and having friends over at our house and visiting them at theirs, but we thought all you back home would get a kick out of the things you wouldn’t think about missing but we totally do!!

  1. Cheddar cheese… (Well at least Heather misses her cheese) Cheddar cheese is nowhere to be found down here in Peru.. maybe in the next country we can find some!!
  2. Baking and cooking in our own kitchen. We have been pretty good at finding hostels that have kitchens to cook in, and have got a ton of use out of our stove that Jason made. But not having our own kitchen with all our super cool kitchen things is worth missing!!
  3. Our bikes.. who thought it would be a good idea to get Heather a brand new bike five months before leaving the country?!
  4. Toilet seats…Yeah.. you would think those would be common down here.. not so much!!
  5. While we are on the bathroom subject.. having toilet paper in the bathroom on a hook, instead of having it in a wad in our pockets!!
  6. Again with the potty talk… free bathrooms.. let’s just say we have gotten real good at holding it!
  7. . The last week we cooked all our meals, and then the last day we splurged and had a backpackers meal…and oh my goodness.. the seasoning and spices in it were to die for!!
  8. Internet service.. good service is far and few between.. and it’s crazy to live back in the stone age where we don’t have internet service at our fingertips whenever we want to look something up!
  9. A wardrobe of clean . Hand washing only goes so far.. and dirt in the socks after a good wash is a common thing these days!
  10.  Lastly.. we miss having to get up early Monday through Friday to go to work.. oh  wait.. that’s not true at all.. okay was that mean?? #sorrynotsorry

Now, don’t read this all the wrong way. Yes, we miss these things. It’s natural to miss stuff, but we wouldn’t trade what we are doing for anything. The things we miss are not getting in the way of the joy we are experiencing being in a new country. Learning more about each other than we thought possible, and getting closer and closer with the Lord and seeing His vision for us a bit more clear everyday is worth missing a few of our comfortable things back home.

Traveling as a married couple is a lot different than traveling just as a dating couple. The Lord has totally been opening our eyes to see the things we need to be grateful for that we take advantage of every day. Simple things like sleeping in one bed together at home verses sleeping on two different bunks in hostels here, or hearing the locals talk about not being able to see their wife and kids for weeks at a time because they have to do week long tours back to back makes us so much more thankful for the house the Lord provided for us our first year of marriage and the amazing work schedules He allowed us to have.

Like we said above, we are still loving being on the road. The Lord has taught us so many things so far, and we trust that He will continue to be doing so. Last time we shared our travel plans with you, they changed a bit from what we thought we would be doing. The Lord had a different idea, as we were totally expecting that He would. Now we still went to a few of the places we mentioned before, but the Lord had some divine appointments for us to be making along the way.

After hiking the Salkantay Trail, spending the day in Machu Picchu, and recuperating in Cusco we jumped on the local bus and made our way to Huacachina. Huacachina is a little Oasis in the middle of sand dunes just outside of Ica. We stayed in Huacachina for a couple nights where we enjoyed a dunebuggy/sandboarding trip that came with our hostel booking, had an interesting free “wine tour”, relaxed in the pool and hammocks, and met some really nice people.

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The beautiful oasis we were able to spend a couple of days in.

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Our new friend Lynsey and the two of us about to start our dune buggy tour.

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Sand and sand and more sand for miles and miles and more miles.

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One, two, three.. jump!

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Yeah.. we are pretty cool.. and clearly Lynsey thinks so too!! 😉

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Photo break on the dune buggy tour

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Sunset over Huacachina.. isn’t it crazy that there is that little oasis in the middle of the desert?!?!

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Rasmus, Yipit, and the two of us enjoying our free Pisco Sours. One of the workers at the bar came out to us while we were walking around and offered us all a free round, if we bought a happy hour drink. So we got four drinks for S/. 15 which is only about $5 USD!!

In Huacachina, the Lord reminded us of how powerful prayer really is. Jason started showing symptoms of his Crohn’s disease coming back, so naturally we started praying.. and we were praying hard. We shared this with Ashley back home, who began having people pray for us, and bam… his symptoms were gone. It was like night and day.. and just a friendly reminder from the Lord that we need to be in constant prayer with Him.

{Traveler’s tip..getting to Huacachina.. taking the local bus from Cusco to Ica to go to Huacachina is nearly just as nice as the tourist bus. We paid S/. 95 each and it included a nice dinner and reclining chairs. You just have to look around at the bus station to see all the deals, and be sure to ask what is included with the price. Some include breakfast too, but those were S/. 160 per person, and we didn’t think it was worth it to pay nearly double just to have breakfast and maybe a cleaner bathroom.}

{Traveler’s tip.. in Huacachina.. you can talk the taxi drivers down to S/. 5 to get into Huacachina. Getting out of Huacachina is a bit different though. There aren’t as many taxi drivers and so they are more expensive. The labeled taxi drivers will charge you S/.8 to get to a bus station. The non-labeled ones will charge you S/.7. Take our advice.. pay the extra S/.1 to get a real taxi driver. We took an unlabeled one and he took us to the wrong bus station where we then had to walk to the correct one!! Also really look at your hostel choices and think about what you want. Some include pools some do not, some include dune buggy tours some do not.. We would recommend having one with a pool and dune buggy tour. It’s worth the extra little bit of money!! We stayed at Banana’s Hostel and loved it!}

After Huacachina, we took the local bus to Arequipa. Arequipa is the second largest city in all of Peru. We stayed in Arequipa for three nights enjoying the city and really enjoying the food here! We found an amazing Mexican restaurant, Tacos y Tequilas, that we went to two different times the first time in Arequipa and then two more times once we got back from our canyon trek. It was amazing! We also found a delicious smoothie/fresh food place, Tropicana Jugos, that was really good as well, and we accidently found ourselves getting smoothies every day we spent in Arequipa.

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The beautiful plaza.. this place was full of pigeons during the day… Heather even got pooped on! Too bad we didn’t get a picture of that!!

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The local market in Arequipa

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We took the free city tour to learn a bit of history about Arequipa and we went to an Alpaca/Llama farm!!

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The women work so hard to make beautiful blankets and clothing with the alpaca and llama coats. It’s amazing to watch them work!

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A cool Peru sign we walked by!!

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Arequipa is know as the white city. Some say it’s because the Spaniards settled here and they were white so people referred to the area as the white city, but a bit less racist way of looking at it is all the white stonework in the buildings.

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This is the Mexican restaurant we went to four different times!! It was amazing and we really needed our Mexican food fix!! The last night there Jason got a dark beer and Heather spilt it all over the place. Then thinking that it would help, she put her thumb on the top of the bottle, which actually backfired and caused it to spew everywhere like a volcano. It went all over Jason’s face, all over both our clothes, the table, and all over the ground!! Sad then, but funny now!!

Jason's dark beer.. right before Heather made it explode everywhere!

Jason’s dark beer.. right before Heather made it explode everywhere!

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YAY!!! Jason finally let me rock the fanny pack!!

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A corndog that was a waffle on the outside.. surprisingly it was actually not very good at all! 🙁

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One beautiful painting from the Lord in the sky!!

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Flying Dog Hostel!! This was our favorite hostel in Arequipa.. the picture explains why!!

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And we were even able to make dinner at the hostel!!

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It was great.. minus the rocks in the quinoa!

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Yes people.. Jason drank the whole 1 liter CocaCola by himself! Rough day in the city I suppose.

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The plaza at night! So pretty with everything lit up.

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We wanted to get jugo de rana.. or a frog smoothie.. but they were closed!

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So instead of getting a frog smoothies we got real fruit smoothies instead.. this is where we went every day to get awesome fruit smoothies!!

{Traveler’s Tips for Arequipa…

+ Go to Tacos y Tequila for great Mexican food   +   Go to Tropicana Jugos for amazing juice.. it’s the same price as the juice at the local market, but it’s actually cold and really fresh   +   Flying Dog Hostel is a great hostel to stay at. It has great breakfast, clean rooms and showers, and awesome common areas! The internet here is not too great though most of the time. (S/. 25 for a dorm)   +   Marlon’s Bed and Breakfast has great internet, and okay breakfast and decent beds. There are often not people at the front desk here, which proved to be a bit problematic for us. (S/. 20 for a dorm, if you are able to talk them down from S/. 25)  +  Point Hostel was a cheap hostel, but you get what you’re paying for. It was the dirtiest hostel we have stayed at so far.    +  Book your bus tickets at the bus station, you will get a much better deal that way.}

After spending three nights in Arequipa, we endured the six hour bus ride up to Cabanaconde, to enjoy one of the world’s largest canyons, Canon del Colca. We spent one night at Pachamama Hostel before taking on the trek down to the bottom of the canyon, which is a decent of 3,600ft. We started at 10,800ft and camped at 7,200ft. We decided we would save some money and camp at the bottom, as well as cook all our own food, and it worked out perfectly! We ended up staying at the oasis for five days. The picture below will explain why we spent so much time there.  Our time was full of reading, praying, and really trying to seek out what the Lord has in store for our future. It was very easy to do this because there were no distractions of the outside world, like the internet.

{Traveler’s Tip.. do the trek yourself. You can get maps for it basically at any of the tourist places in Arequipa, as well as at Pachamama Hostel. There are really nice hostels throughout the hike for really cheap. They get you with expensive drinks and somewhat expensive food though. So if you have a water filter and a cooking stove, bring your own food!!}

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Driving out to the canyon.. just your typical pass elevation!

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The view from the top of Pachamama Hostel!

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The ginormous canyon! That little green patch at the bottom is where we were hiking down till.

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Starting the trek down the canyon.

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Such a beautiful hike!!

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Our camping spot for the week.

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This is where we cooked dinner and lunch nearly every day!

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And our little table and chairs with an amazing view around us!

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Spending our days lounging by the pool wasn’t so bad!!

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Absolutely gorgeous landscaping in the Sangalle Oasis!

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Watching the sunset from the bottom of the canyon.

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Such a perfect place to spend time with the Lord.

Our campsite from a resort/hostel just above ours.

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We were going photo happy 🙂

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Our amazing “campsite” more like a resort!! And we only played $3 US per night!!

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In the huge grass area where our tent was pitched!!

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Relaxing in the pool!

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We made it all the way to the bottom of the canyon!!

On Thursday, we got up at 4:15 am to pack up camp and begin the thigh-burning workout out of the canyon. This proved to actually be easier than the descent down the canyon, but still tough! This hike was full of prayer that Heather had the strength to get to the top, and upon reaching the top we couldn’t help but celebrate! We felt such victory in the fact that we just hiked to the bottom of the second deepest canyon in the world and back out of it!

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YAHOO!!!! We finally made it to the top of the canyon!!

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Backpacked through one more thing!!

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We conquered that Canon del Colca!

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Pano from the top.. right after we made it out of the canyon!

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We just came from that little green patch at the bottom!! Such a gorgeous place to spend a week!

Once we got out of the canyon, we had about two hours before the bus took off for Arequipa. We walked around the small town a bit, and then decided to grab some food before the long bus ride. Our food location was a divine appointment from the Lord again. We stopped in at a super small restaurant called Los 7 Reyes, or The 7 Kings. We were the only ones in the restaurant, so we were able to really chat with the owner. It turns out he just opened the restaurant a month ago, and was having a hard time coming up with rent because it is slow season for the canyon right now. His food was absolutely amazing! We had the best French toast we have ever had, and we couldn’t bare the fact that we had extra cash on us, and he needed a bit of help. Jason and I looked at each other and both felt the Lord telling us to leave a little extra for him with a little note telling him about Jesus. We left the note on the table and left the restaurant and got straight on the bus. The owner came running down to the bus and found us sitting at the window, and the look on his face brought tears to our eyes. He was so thankful, and we felt so full of the Lord.

Our amazing french toast from Los 7 Reyes

Our amazing french toast from Los 7 Reyes

{Traveler’s Tip.. Definitely go to Los 7 Reyes and get the French toast. It is only S/. 6 for two pieces with coffee or tea, and it’s loaded with amazing fruit on top! Our mouths are watering again just thinking about how good it was!}

Again, our time spent at the bottom of the canyon, the hike to the top, and the bus ride back to Arequipa was full of words from the Lord and dreams that He is clearly putting on our hearts. It truly is amazing what He reveals when you sit back and allow Him to speak to you.


…Our Plans From Here…

We are leaving Peru and heading into Bolivia. We are fairly certain we won’t be having internet as much as we have had it in Peru because Bolivia is a much poorer country. So if you don’t hear from us as often, don’t stress about it, but do be praying for our safety still! We will update you all again when we get the chance! We will probably be in Bolivia for at least three weeks.

We hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. Eat extra food for the two of us cause we are certainly sad we won’t be stuffing our faces like you all will be back in the states.


…Prayer Requests…

*Please continue praying that the Lord keeps Crohn’s out of Jason’s body, and thank the Lord for healing him from it.

*Pray for us to be hearing the Lord’s voice clearly, and that we will figure out some kind of routine with spending time with Him.

*Safety while traveling through new countries, and an awareness of the things we need to be careful of in new places.

*Praise the Lord for how He has kept us so safe so far, and how He has been speaking to us and laying clearly laying things on our hearts.

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