Dances are so numerous there that every village has its own. In Lima, the capital, the descendants of the slaves invented their own style of blues. And perched on the mountains, the Indians continue to sing the lamenting chants of the old Incas. In order to tell the epic tale of Peru, you would need entire libraries and a lot of breath. It firstly begins on sites such as Cuzco, a city “par excellence” of the lost civilisation, which alone makes the trip worthwhile.
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It continues, this Peruvian adventure, in the names that make you dreamy, like that of the highest lake in the world, Lake Titicaca, or the sharp rocks of the Machu Picchu, the mysterious lines of the Nazca Desert or the jungles of the Amazon. Once you enter into Peru, it’s difficult to choose where to visit first because everything that makes up the Latin-American legend is found concentrated here. Peru is a place of multiculturalism. Despite the revival of the Inca past, on which certain politicians base their national identity today, more or less everyone here is of mixed descent. Memories of Africa, of colonisation, of times past.
For those who are keen on heights, the Andean Cordillera offers the most desirable exploration terrain. In the North, Huaraz unfurls immaculate open spaces devoted to trekking, but also the discovery of the pre-Inca relics of Chavín de Huántar. That’s Peru. Find yourself in the middle of nowhere, in the most preserved lanscapes, then stumble almost by chance across a heritage site, a piece of history in the open air. Peru, in addition to its thousands of kilometres of golden coastline, can also be summed up by its fabric and jewellery markets, which bring life to a social setting that is among the most picturesque of the continent. There is a certain Creole nonchalance in Peru, a way of life that the writer Vargas Llosa was able to describe and that we too often think is reduced to the heady sound of the Panpipes.
Away from the clichés, Peru touches the visitor from the first second. “Without it, the world would be poor and scrawny”, said a traveller at the beginning of the last century. It is true that, between its giant freshwater fish, its local Pisco elixir and its juicy fruits, Peru possesses quite a few attractions. And they are not just for tasting.
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