Disclaimer: The following article was done as part of a submission for a local travel agency. The company in question chose not to use the article, but I still rather like it.
Just whisper ‘Peru’ in a crowded room and it’s likely to inspire esoteric imagery of verdant, cloud-tipped mountain peaks, encasing the intricate stone terraces of Machu Picchu in even the least imaginative traveller. After all, the ancient Incan citadel is on the itineraries of 99% of international visitors to the country. But despite playing host to 5 000 inquisitive adventurers a day, Machu Picchu’s vast, labyrinthine layout conceals unseen hideaways and secret sites that will surprise those returning for a second- or even a tenth time. In this way, Machu Picchu isn’t just one of Peru’s most famous landmarks, it’s also an apt metaphor for the country as a whole.
Welcome back, readers. Or perhaps it is you who should be welcoming me back.
You see, I’ve just returned from a bank-balance defying two week vacation in Amsterdam and Paris, where I gorged myself on wine, food, wine, culture, wine, art, wine and wine.
Without boring the ever-loving shit out of you with intricate details about the museums and sites I visited, or sharing my hideously overexposed holiday snaps, I’ll get straight to the bit where I run my mouth and complain about the worst part of all of those beautiful places:
People who take pictures of pictures.
Winston Churchill once described Russia as ‘a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.’ Even though this description might have been aimed almost exclusively at the country’s foreign policies at the time, a present day visit to the Eastern European giant will still most likely leave the overseas visitor with more questions than answers.