Eileen Teska visited Peru in 2019 along with her husband Bob and her friend Kim. Although a lot has happened since her trip to Peru – including a pandemic – she still has vivid memories of her time visiting archaeological sites in the North of Peru.
Eileen has visited 29 countries – including the Republic of Georgia and some remote parts of Indonesia-. Still, she says that Chanquillo solar observatory, the oldest one on the continent, has been the most amazing site she has ever seen anywhere. She shared more about her experience with Peruvian Soul with us.
1. Hi Eileen, how are you? How has this crazy last year been for you and your family?
It has been less stressful for me than I thought it would be when it started. I was in Spain when the US announced that everyone had to come home, and I was extremely lucky to get back here without any complication. My children, who helped change the flights, also stacked my apartment with lots of food and anything they could think of that I might need.
Our biggest concern is that my son and daughter-in-law own a company that doesn’t involve travel but involves printing things for events. That worked out. They were able to shift to print medical vests and masks. Their business survived, and we have all been very, very careful.
2. Tell me a little bit about your trip to Peru. How long ago was it? What parts of Peru did you visit?
It was only two years ago. My husband and I wanted to visit Peru and learn more about ancient kingdoms since the 1970s. We saw a documentary on American television about the kingdoms that preceded the Incas. Three years ago, we started planning the trip and learned that the ancient kingdoms were mostly on the coast, not up in the mountains, which was wonderful because neither Bob nor I like heights.
We did a lot of research and decided going up the North coast would allow us to see the most thing we wanted to see. The more we read, the more we realized that we couldn’t do it by ourselves. We don’t speak Spanish, and we aren’t comfortable enough with sign language to try to taking buses or public transportation. I then started searching for tours, and I could not find any American-based companies that did tours of the North Coast. I contacted several Peruvian companies, but Peruvian Soul was amazing with the program they put together for us.
3. As an archaeology lover, what did you enjoyed the most during your visit to Peru?
I loved everything equally, but my husband told me that his heart’s desire was to visit Chanchan, and it was so much spectacular than he ever dreamed. Not only was it absolutely phenomenal as an archaeological site, but when we were there, we were literally the only people there. And to make our time there even more perfect, Diego, our guide, pointed out a condor, and he said it was the first time he had seen one outside of the Andes.
4. Besides archaeology, what else was remarkable during your trip?
On our very first day, Peruvian Soul had arranged our hotel, and because of the airline, we were too early. I asked if it was possible to change the plans to go to the Surquillo market. Vanesa, who was the guide that would spend the day with us, rearranged her schedule and took us to the market. It was so interesting. Not just to see the market itself, but because there were so many fruits and vegetables we had never heard of.
She arranged for us to have a taste of all different things. She explained the background and the beliefs of what they are good for – nursing mothers should eat this one, people with headaches should eat that other one – and it was an absolutely remarkable adventure.
If we had gone to that market by ourselves, it still would have been interesting, but we wouldn’t have had a clue of all the things that we were looking for.
That was an example of what happened throughout the week we were in Peru. We learned so much about history but also current culture, foods, agriculture, exports, politics. It was just an amazing experience.
5. We know you are an informed traveler…. so I would like to ask you, is there any place you would have wanted to visit in Peru, but you didn’t have enough time?
We should certainly come back, there are many many things I would like to see. I just got an archaeological magazine of a site in Peru I have not heard of. The headline says, “exploring Peru’s cliffs cemeteries.” But I see they are in the sky, so I’m clearly not be going to one, because apparently people see it by rock-climbing and that, I think I would have to settle with pictures!
I would also love to be in Peru when there are traditional festivals, that would be very interesting. And I also would like to visit the rainforest.
6. So, we know you are vaccinated now. Congratulations! How was the experience of getting the vaccine?
I have my first dose now! I didn’t have any problem at all. It was easy when it was my turn. Each city has its own definition of who gets vaccinated when. In Milwaukee, they started with healthcare workers and emergency people like fire, police, ambulance. Then after that, it was people over 65 with serious health problems. Still, then suddenly, they decided to open it up to anyone over 65. Milwaukee’s city put up a website, and I logged in on the day the website opened; and I had a choice of many different appointments, so I picked one, and it was all beautifully organized. I didn’t even have a sore arm. Apparently, only one-third of the vaccinated people have a reaction.
I recommend anyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated as soon as they are offered the chance.
7. To finish, we can play a short game. I ask a question about your travel to Peru, and you respond with the first thing it comes to your mind:
- A dish you will always remember: marvelous fish!
- A destination you liked and why: The museum of the Lord of Sipan. That museum was just breathtaking.
- A person you can’t forget, tell us about it: Diego, our guide and Peruvian Soul’s founder. He was just delightful. He put up with all my talking and questions and handled everything.
- Why was it great to travel with Peruvian Soul in max 3 words: Fascinating, comprehensive, and fun!