Mistura 2015

P1150935Last Wednesday I went with my friend Anna to Mistura. This is the largest international food fair in Latin America. It is a great cultural festival, where Peruvians celebrate their rich culinary tradition and amazing biodiversity. It was held from September 4-13 in Lima: Ten days of flavour and colour from all the regions of Peru.

We went on Wednesday after school to avoid the big crowds in the weekends. We were lucky because there were almost no lines. In the Gran Mercado they sold specialty products from all the regions of Peru. There were potatoes, camu camu, fruits, stevia, cheeses, hams, quinoa, chia, different peppers, chocolate etc.  There were 12 other “gastronomic worlds” such as fish, local beers, BBQ and sweets &chocolate.

It was so big that we didn’t know where to start but we were both extremely hungry! Eventually we decided to eat Pachamanca. It has a traditional way of cooking that dates back to the Inca Empire. Pachamanca is the combination of two words in the Quechua language: pacha, for earth and manka for pot. To make one, “you basically make a pot in the earth”.  We were able to see how they made big hole dugs in the ground in which they cooked up entire meals. We ate alpaca and chancho.


After we finished it was time for some Sweet stuff! We tried Quinua ice which was delicious, strawberries with pure chocolate and quinoapops, a big cookie with lucuma and honey. I couldn’t resist buying a coconut and drunk the delicious coconut water while Anna preferred a moustache cocktail. We danced and sang during the performance of a band. Watched how some guys were dancing salsa and we couldn’t stop looking. It was so amazing and we both agreed that guys in our countries definetly miss that great rhythm.


After the concert we stand in line for 25 minutes to try the famous Chancho Al Palo.  It was definetly worth it. It was DE-LI-CI-OUS!!!!  We ended the day with ice cream and Arroz con leche.  We gained 6 kilo’s, we were happy, satisfied and we had an amazing dayP1150947P1160041P1160017 P1160022 P1160029 P1160005 P1150993 P1150985



Machu Picchu!

On 11th July, I started my journey to Machu Picchu. It became a journey not as expected. It all started in the morning with problems with my tour agency. The numbers on my train tickets and entrance ticket of Machu Picchu didn’t match with the number in my passport. It gave me so much stress! Then Jose (the guy from the travel agency) put me in a small bus to Ollantaytambo. (Ollantaytambo is a town and an Inca archaeological site in southern Peru some 60 kilometres northwest of the city of Cusco.) I assumed that this group of tourists would be my group for the whole two days: NOT! When we arrived in Ollantaytambo I found out that all tourists had different times for the train and mine was last. I had to wait 4 hours alone in this village! I mean hello!! I didn’t expect to spend so much time alone. Then the driver was so eager to give me a lift back to the central square in Ollantaytambo. Me (young but not ignorant) declined friendly. After he drove away, I took a Tuktuk which was a unique experience by itself.
I went to the archaeological site to view the extensive set of agricultural terraces which start at the bottom of the valleys and climb up the surrounding hills. I only wanted to take some pictures and there was a big line in front of the entrance gate so I managed to take some photos via the exit. Since there was no guard standing at the exit at that moment, I was able to take some better pictures. If there was someone who actually said something about it, I would play the dumb tourist. So I walked further and went up to the top and I can tell you it was exhausting! The Incans were really pros at architectural design and fond of stairs. Definitely worth the climb as the view was spectacular. Only because I know I won’t do this again, so it truly was once in a lifetime.P1110128

The terraces permitted farming on otherwise unusable terrain; they also allowed the Incas to take advantage of the different ecological zones created by variations in altitude. The terraces at Ollantaytambo were built to a higher standard than common Inca agricultural terraces, for instance, they have higher walls made of cut stones instead of rough fieldstones.
The second reason for visiting this archaeological site was The Battle of Ollantaytambo which took place in January 1537, between the forces of Inca emperor Manco Inca and a Spanish expedition led by Hernando Pizarro during the Spanish conquest of Peru. In any case, the Inca army managed to hold the Spanish forces from a set of high terraces and flood their position to hinder their cavalry. Severely pressed and unable to advance, the Spaniards withdrew. Unfortunately this victory was only temporary.

Later in the afternoon I took the train locomotive to Aguas Calientes which was an amazing rail travel experience. The seats were great, the train had vintage collapsible tables, panoramic windows and stunning views of the Peruvian Andes. Drinks and snacks were served in suit. One word: AMAZING!

Lets skip the bad parts about my hostel and Aguas Calientes and go directly to my fantasy: When I sat in the train and in the bus to Machu Picchu I felt like I was on an expedition like in the Disney movie Tarzan and Jane (but then the modern version). On the mountains, into the forest of Borneo, searching for apes. (In my case lamas and on my wonderful expedition I found Machu Picchu!)

Back to chronological order: I needed to stand in line with hundreds of other tourists at 5:00 AM to take the bus to Machu Picchu. I was SO HAPPY that I didn’t do the Inca Trail. I am so not suitable for that! At Machu Picchu my guide was waiting for me and eventually disappeared after 20 minutes when I was taking a picture with another tourist. Well, we enjoyed ourselves the rest of the day. So, I don’t know the history of Machu Picchu but I enjoyed every freaking minute of the view! I took over 650 photos of only this place! If you are ever planning to go to South America, definitely visit Machu Picchu. It certainly is a world wonder.
Additionally, I walked the trail to the Inca Bridge that heads west from Machu Picchu. It was built by the Incas as a secret entrance to Machu Picchu for the Inca army. Before doing this trail I needed to write down my name, gender, country of origin, signature and the time you started the trail. I was thinking that this was for a kind of database where they keep records of tourists. Stupid me!!! You are obligated to sign when you return and if they don’t see a signature at the end of the day, they will look for your first on the trail or search for your body in the cliff….Woops! The trail was parallel with no guard rails, so one would have to be very agile and not afraid of heights! The trail was well maintained, but you need to watch your step because the trail is located in a mountainous relief. I am not afraid of heights but at some points my heartbeat raised. If you don’t like looking down (+-600 meter), don’t do it!
I walked from 5.30 AM to 3.30 PM in Machu Picchu. A wonderful, magical and breathtaking place!

FYI: This Lama was freaking in LOVE with me! P1110697P1110395



Hi all, just wanted to let you know I arrived safely in Peru. The first few days I spend in Lima with my lovely family and on 3 July I flew to Cusco to do an intensive language course. 

Lets first begin with the horrible flight Lima-Cusco: Never fly with LAN Peru because it is expensive and you have no leg space. Ryanair will be KLM compared to LAN Peru. I needed to pay a penalty on my ticket of almost 200 dollars because I apparently booked a ticket for Peruvian people only (How do you mean racism based on origins…) Then my seat was double booked and it was not sure if I could take this flight and finally the whole flight from Lima to Cusco turbulence. THE MOST HORRIBLE FLIGHT OF MY LIFE!

I am staying with a wonderful, warm-hearted host-family; Mother Magali and her three daughters Luciana, Camilla and Hanna. I am with this family for a week now and I am calling Magali my second mom. She cooks deliciously, goes with me into the city and is sincerely interested in me.
The passed days I suffered a lot from altitude sickness and that’s no fun at all… but my pills, coca tea and my second mom made me better. Last Sunday I went with them to the school because they had a fundraising for the school. It was amazing! Each class had its own region from Peru and parents needed to prepare a dish from that region. Magali and the other parents prepared a delicious “almuerzo”. Moreover, most parents were dressed in typical Peruvian clothes. Additionally, they had a disco for the younger ones and I needed to go too, as supervisor…P1090944
P1090957P1110022Last weekend I also got a city tour by the coordinator of the school. We went to the school, Plaza de Armas, shopping streets and local markets. Since Monday I follow classes from 09.00- 13.00 hrs. In the afternoons I mostly go into the city or do other school activities. Since yesterday I started classes in Batchata and Cuban Salsa. Here a few pictures of Cusco.

In a few hours I will go to Machu Picchu. P1090932P1110060


Final Countdown

In the meantime I have crossed out a lot of my list:

  • Vaccinations are done.
  • Goodbye party is given.
  • Exams are done.
  • Arranged all the insurances.
  • Applied on grants.
  • Arranged my language course and stay in Cusco.
  • Arranged my trips to Machu Picchu and Titicaca Lake.
  • Arranged my stay at Esperanza Verde.

Nine more days to go and I will be flying to Peru. As you can see above, a lot of things have been arranged. However, the most important is not arranged yet: my student VISA. This is giving me so much stress! The past two months I have been sending emails to my contact person of the international department, like twice a week. I even called them this week and spoke to her boss and the only thing he said…I understand that you are stressed but don’t stress out. I mean HELLOOOO….I need the VISA before I leave and also need to pick it up at the embassy in Amsterdam. What are they doing at the international department of USIL? Sleeping or a siesta of 24 hours?

Additionally, my doctor told me that I didn’t need an official document for my medicines because there is no opium in it. After calling with the consulate they told me that I do need to have the official document and that I needed to go to court to legalize the document with an apostille. So this week I went to the doctor, the organization CAK and to court.

Moreover, I arranged my language course in Cusco from 3 July until 31 July. I will follow an intensive Spanish course to improve my Spanish. This is also needed because some of my classes are in Spanish when I start university. I have chosen to stay in a host family and I really hope they have internet so I can post my pictures.

Finally, one of the most exciting things I will do is arranged. My three-week stay at Esperanza Verde. This non-profit organisation is a conservation project in the Amazon basin of Peru, consisting of both wildlife rescue and rainforest protection. In Pucallpa many wildlife species find their way into the local markets to be sold either for food or as pets. Because this is illegal, many animals are regularly confiscated. These animals need a home for the rest of their lives and, if possible, need rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. When realized, Esperanza Verde Rescue Centre will be able to receive confiscated animals as well as animals from private persons who, for various reasons, realized these animals are unfit to be pets. In the rescue centre they will find a new home, and if possible will be taught how to live again in their natural habitat under semi-free conditions.

As a volunteer you will help in all ongoing construction, helping build enclosures and the quarantine and veterinary clinic. Other tasks are mapping the area, and participating in their reforestation project by replanting among other things, fruit trees that originate from the area.  Caretaking of the animals is one of the most important daily tasks, making sure that they are all kept fed, the enclosures clean and healthy.

One of the biggest challenges for me is living rather primitively, as there is no electricity and no hot water. Some solar electricity is available to charge batteries or computers. The biggest city nearby is Pucallpa (about 3 hours away), but the town of Curimana is closer, about 1 hour away and you can find most necessities there. So, I will be pretty far in the jungle. However, I expect the surroundings to be beautiful.

Check out their volunteer page and video clips. I think this will be an amazing challenge and experience.

Today and tomorrow I will be moving all my stuff back to my parents house and spending my last few days here with them and my lovely boyfriend and not to forget…packing my suitcases.


Hi there!

For almost two months I haven’t been writing. Time has been flying by during these past two months …

So what have I been doing? Well too much! Exam preparation, following a photography course, my new addiction… A Midori. Hmmm what more…. O and of course I will be leaving in one month to Peru for seven months! All by myself! Of course I expect a lovely welcome from my family over there, but I am stressed since I have to arrange so many things. Just a few of them are:

  • I need to move all my stuff from my room in Amsterdam to my parents’ house.
  • Insurances, insurances and again insurances. Repatriation, ‘to return your body to the country of birth’. Well I am not planning to die in Peru…
  • Vaccinations. I need a lot of those…
  • Applying for grants which is a lot of work. Start on time!
  • Arranging a goodbye party.

So my next step is Peru, leaving my lovely friends and family behind. I need to accept that their lives will continue without me (for seven months) and I will experience new adventures, obstacles and victories.
I will make a lot of pictures and will write a lot of stories in my Midori. Of course I will try to post a story at least once a week on my wordpress- account. However, I already know that I will spend a month in Cusco and one month in the Amazon and then I will be probably busy with other things.

Let me tell you a little bit more about my new addiction. My boyfriend gave me a customized version of a Midori Traveler’s Notebook as a present for writing all my travel stories in it.



“Midori means the ‘green’ colour in Japanese, the simple story is that the company is always going forward, ahead and grow. The real story is that after WWII, the founder looked at desolated lands and found a small green leaf living strong, touched by the dramatic scene, the founder named his company Midori to retain that spirit, to thrive in difficult times, to grow against all odds, to foster new life. The true story is not being told because the war topic is a sensitive history to mention, so it is the simple version they use nowadays.”


Last week I went to Angela, she made my Midori with love and passion. I visited her at her house which was close to all my favourite bars and restaurant in Amsterdam. It appeared that we share the same addiction. We were so busy that we lost track of time and she forgot to pick up her daughter from school. (No worries her daughter is a young independent woman)

My Midori will become more than just a diary or travel journal. It will become a masterpiece/object of art 😀

If you want to have a Midori yourself with beautiful inserts, please let me know and I will give you Angela’s email address.

Hope to write a ‘passage of life’ for you soon.

Lots of love,


FOAM Amsterdam

Through Babylonixour student association from the International Business School, we went to the FOAM photography museum.

We went to see a very special photography collection of the noble Van Loon family.The Van Loon photo collection consists of historic interior photography and of both historic and contemporary portrait photography. Renowned artists have portrayed family members: from Felix Nadar and Studio Merkelbach to recently Koos Breukel and Erwin Olaf. From the historic collection it becomes evident that the Van Loon’s preferred internationally established photographers who were commissioned by European royalty and families of name.

It showed the preferences of high society in the 20th century. Highlights were some series of portraits the family had made around the year 1900 by arguably the most famous portraitist of the 19th and early 20th century: Felix Nadar.

Also, the historic development and relation between painted portraiture and portrait photography becomes apparent. The Van Loon family commissioned painted portraits well into the 20th century. From the 19th century onwards photographs have been made in addition; from pre WW II formal cartes de visites, studio portraits, children’s portraits and family albums to a more personal atmosphere in the post war era.

Afterwards we did a portrait photography workshop. We learned how to make a special portrait with a digital camera.We played with light, shadows and attributes. See the pictures below 🙂






























The Bucket List

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. – Steve Jobs”

I liked the above quote but no matter how prepared you think you are for the death of a loved one, it still comes as a shock, it still hurts very deeply and that feeling comes to you, no matter how old you are.

As I am writing this I am multitasking. Writing my blogpost, thinking about life and death and watching one of my favourite movies; The Bucket List. Both Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson performed an excellent job. This movie always makes me think… Life goes by pretty fast, like smoke through a keyhole. Since the first time I saw this film I kept wondering what I want to do before I kick the bucket. Therefore, I created a few years ago my bucket list.

Things on my list vary from witnessing the Northern light, learning new languages, backpacking on every continent, getting a tattoo together with my mom and so on. Every year new things get on it while others get crossed off. I hope to cross off many this year.

For my study I have to go on exchange for six months, something I have been looking forward too for a quite some time now. I remembered the great moments I had in Spain, five months of pure joy. However, I had a bigger wish; going to Peru and spending time with my family. Finally this might come true this year and it will be crossed off my bucket list! For my exchange I had to rank and needed to make a top five of partner institutes and as you might have guessed by now, Peru is on number one!

It was not an easy decision for my boyfriend and me. Considering the situation with his mom and that we would be apart from each other for quite some time. We talked, talked and talked all over again for weeks. Again with a lot of ‘What if – questions’… but my love supported me and told me to follow my dreams. As he supported me to chase my dreams, I supported him by choosing all other universities in Europe.

My top 5:
1. Lima, Peru
2. Brighton, UK
3. Edinburgh, UK
4. Vienna, Austria
5. Berlin, Germany

I am already highlighting in my Lonely Planet book from Peru. Though, I am not sure yet, if I get it. I will receive the answer somewhere next week. I am so excited but wherever I may go it will be a new adventure.
Crossing wishes off my bucket list brings me joy in life. It reminds me of wonderful things I have done or achieved. It fulfils me and makes me less afraid of death.

“People fear death even more than pain. It’s strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over. Yeah, I guess it is a friend. – Jim Morrison”