Cusco!

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.

 

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 🙂

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Harrods – Shopping Mecca!

Harrods is a wonderful store that offers anything when it comes to luxury items. It offers the finest foods, and delicacies but also toys, electronics, clothing, perfumes, watches and much, much, more. It is a great place for “window shopping” and creating ideas. If you want to shop like a king or queen; this is the place to go! Be prepared to walk away with an empty wallet.

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To me, everything was eye candy! Everything was sooo pristine that I didn’t dare to touch the merchandise (except for the shoes of course!) One thing I did not like about Harrods is that it’s one big maze! Harrods is like IKEA multiplied by 5 and then only with exclusive, high end stuff. I recommend them to make a big map on every floor.

My UK colleagues advised me to go and see the Christmas decorations and
BB1070661the Toy Kingdom. Well I have to admit it is a place of wonder and magic! Even my parents relived their childhood. It had different sections within the department to provide diverse toys to every type of child. There were reading rooms, princess dresses, science stuff, candy, Lego, stuffed animals and much more. It was amazing!

This high end luxury store even has a SHOE HEAVEN! And I really thought I walked into heaven. You BB1070591should know… I have a shoe addiction and own over 100 pairs of shoes and they were having sale which made it even harder not to buy any shoes! It was crowded and some girls were seriously fighting about some heels. It was amazing to see something like that! At one point I was a bit overwhelmed and my parents and boyfriend dragged me out of heaven…

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You should visit Harrods definitely during Christmas and once during the rest of the year. Pay some attention to the great Egyptian escalators and store displays.

If you have just a small amount of time in London and you want to go to Harrods, just visit the toy department, food hall and shoe heaven.
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Spitalfields Market

The UK; known for its Fish and Chips, Pies, Yorkshire Pudding, Buckingham Palace, the Big Ben, London Eye, Cricket and Rugby.

Two UK colleagues of mine gave me great tips of where to go when it is your first time in London.

Spitafields Market was on the list and I can tell you this place is quite essential to get the full London experiences.  It is a great market in a fun and interesting part of London which is not yet fully discovered by tourists.

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Sunday is THE DAY to go! So plan your trip around it. If you are not able to go on a Sunday… NO PANIC; the market is open every day of the week. Sunday night we flew back to the Netherlands so we had only limited time to visit this amazing market. So many stalls to peruse, I could easily spend an entire day here with my mom.

This is the place where you can find original, 1-of-a-kind unique items and interesting to take home with you. Designed and crafted by the people themselves. I bought a handmade leather head and cufflinks made of old coins from 1949.

This is THE place you should avoid when you get your salary deposit or when you have a lot of cash. I can assure you, you will spend money to buy some original treasures that will bring back great memories about London. (Therefore, always try to bargain!)

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It is really a maze of stands where you can find goods from – long and short coats in wool, felt and all kinds of stunning materials, scarves, caps, skirts & dresses, belts & kick-a** t-shirt designs.. Check out the cool sweaters we bought for Christmas!
AND JEWELRY! From hand painted to custom fitted to your wishes by the designer themselves.

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The food is quite good at the market. You can buy breads, cheeses, pastries, candy, cookies, cakes, nuts, spices – and much more! Inside there is something for everyone, there is a wide variety of stalls and restaurants that really draw your eye.

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It is just a great place to hang around and grab a coffee or lunch. The atmosphere is always lively, a great place to socialize but overall the BEST PLACE to watch people! You might spot a fashionable hipster, an uber-cool punk dude, the old grandma, school kids, the business woman or a single tourist.

Around the Spitalfields Market you will find a lot of cool local, vintage shops which are worth visiting!

The nearest tube is Liverpool Street Station (red-line) . For more information about the Spitalfield Market and events; Click here

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Proeverij De Waag – Delft

This restaurant is very special to me. It is the place where I had my first date with my boyfriend about ten months ago.

We were supposed to eat in the normal cafe but due to a staff member who wasn’t able to process a reservation – we ended up in the a la carte restaurant. (Thanks for making this mistake, I mean reallllllly thank you)

I received a SPAM email with information about the”Heerlijk 10 Daagse”. It was from the 21 to the 30 of November. I checked if De Waag was on the list and they where on it! 25 euros for a three- course menu. Excellent deal!

To me this is the BEST Restaurant in Delft! You will taste perfect combinations. The service is great and professional and the food is delicious! De Waag has an aesthetic and sober interior. Culinary pleasures in a historical ambiance.

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Starter:
Red gurnard, m’hamsa, ink fish, harrissa mayonnaise, fennel, asparagus, sesame tuille, cucumber yuzu mousse.

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Second starter:  
We had the option to choose between fish or meat.

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Dinner:
Medium roasted duck breast, painted in soy sauce, layered cake, wild  mushroom, green mustard muslin, gravy made of lemongrass.

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Dessert:
Brownie with caramel cream, muscovado ice-cream, balsamic syrup, caramelized nuts.

Don’t laugh about my funny Dutch-English translation of the menu hahaha 🙂

Check out their website: http://www.de-waag.nl/Proeverij/Home