So on the 15th October 2014 my best friend and I embarked on the biggest adventure of our lives. Not to sound dramatic or anything, but it was a pretty big deal. With a bulging backpack weighing approximately a billion kilos, stuffed full of chocolate, clothes and home comforts, we headed to the airport to catch a plane to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
We arrived there after a 13 hour flight of pretty bad turbulence (quote the BA Steward: “the pilots are just having a bit of fun with the plane”), with the wrong currency, no water, no food, no map, no grasp of Spanish and no idea where we were actually staying. After a minor argument with some bus shuttle attendants, we finally made our way to the hostel… We never once looked back!
We laughed, we cried, we drank, we were sick, we had tummy bugs, we missed home, but we had so much fun, we experienced different ways of life, we saw extreme poverty, we completed the 4 day Inca Trail trek, and we saw Machu Picchu, we slept in a tent, we slept on a boat, we slept on each other, we stayed with Peruvian families, we were welcomed into a Maori village in New Zealand, we island hopped across Fiji, we got emotional, we bickered, we helped each other, we cuddled, we slept in the same bed most of the time, we shared money, but the most important thing we did? We ate! Just joking, we also had the most amazing experience, whether we were silent or talking, we did it together. We travelled to the end of the earth and back. And we did it for almost 3 months. How cool is that?
But seriously, the food thing was really important. We had to eat on the go, day buses and night buses, hiking mountains… food meant energy, and we needed as much as we could get.
In South America it was just quinoa, quinoa, quinoa. And although I don’t think I could ever have another bowl of quinoa soup again, I genuinely think that was the reason we got through some days. It’s a great source of protein and even better, it’s gluten-free, which was amazing considering we both suffer from forms of IBD (and gluten seems to really trigger off bloating and tummy aches). We also had a lot of scrambled egg – don’t ask why it was just something that if you could access and find you would order it and relish it – which is also a high source of protein.
Dinner times were always a little difficult for Poe as she is a vegetarian, and South Americans didn’t seem to quite understand life without meat. This made it even more important for our bodies to absorb protein and we quickly learnt the Spanish for ‘without’ : ‘sin’ and ‘meat’ : ‘carne’.
The main problem was the search and mission to find fruit. You can only really eat fruit that you can peel, which was a struggle to find. We were in constant need of a banana. We would crave them so much we actually started search parties to find them. I learnt to like oranges, which was a big step for me. I also became obsessed with nuts and tomatoes. Anything that had some sort of natural nutritional value that I felt my body was craving, whether it was high in potassium or particular vitamins, if my body needed it: we HAD to find it and eat it!
Anyway, here are a few pictures showing the lucky and precious moments when we managed to find a nice restaurant to fill up on food:
BBQ in Salta, Argentina before the most amazing hourse riding trek
Surprise surprise: quinoa pizza in Uyuni after 3 days crossing the salt flats in Bolivia
We went back again the next night it was so good!
We had a running streak and managed to find another amazing restaurant, this time owned by a Belgian man, serving Mexican food, in Sucre, Bolivia (who would have thought!) We went back twice, ordering the same thing: beef quesadilla (just cheese for Poe) SO GOOD!
Rainbow trout on Lake Titicaca, Peru
Yummy starter we shared in a very edgy restaurant in Cusco, Peru
Falafel burger for main (Poe was extremely happy about this one!)
We went back to this cafe 4 times in Cusco, Peru it was THAT good! (they also had really nice toilets there)
Quick view from our tent/little home on the Inca Trail
Lush breakfast following a long night bus from Cusco to Arequipa, Peru
We went back there for lunch!
Traditional Peruvian meal cooked underground in Nazca
One of the most delicious meals I have EVER had in a fish restaurant in Paracas (Sin fish as I didn’t really fancy raw fish) This is when I fell in love with courgettes!
Yummy city style lunch ( with actual chips!) in Lima before we left South America and flew to Fiji