Llamas and a quest for the perfect selfie

When I think back on my interaction with arguebly the cutest animal on earth -if you don’t get spat at- I think of the warm and fuzzy feeling I experienced.

As you may already know, I, along with Oli and Kate, traveled to Peru as part of a packaged tour with G Adventures. From the moment we booked our trip we were adamant on meeting these fluffy creatures and taking the perfect selfie – the internet would not be prepared for this selfie!

…And so our quest began…

We’d seen some llamas from afar on a 7hr bus ride from Puno to Cusco, but it wasn’t until we arrived in Sacred Valley that things really got exciting. We were taken to a women’s weaving co op in the beautiful village of Ccaccaccollo, and at arrival were given food to feed the alpacas and llamas. As you can imagine, I couldn’t quite handle the excitement (I had waited months for this moment), and began shoving leaves in the face of every animal in sight. It wasn’t until one aggressively flared its nostrils and threatened to spit at me that I realised it was time to back off. Luckily, our presentation was about to begin.

Posing alpaca

Traditionally dressed local women showed us, step by step, how they naturally wash and dye all the alpaca wool. It was intriguing to see how they don’t need to rely on chemicals to get the very best results. 

 

Doesn’t she look fab in her traditional attire?
 
Each ingredient, when boiled, permanently dyes the wool a different colour
 

Once the presentation was over I was eager to get back to spending time with the alpacas and llamas, and that’s exactly what I did. Admittedly, I still can’t tell between the two animals, even after being told repeatedly by our guide (I’ve googled it too).

 

Caught slippin’
 
So did I get my perfect selfie? No. Do I care? Not anymore.

You see, at first, I was so focused on looking picture perfect (with no double chin on show), that I was losing sight of where I was. I didn’t need to outshine a llama – Let’s face it, nobody can outshine a llama! And so I let myself enjoy the moment and treasure the experience. I have photos… just not that perfect photo, but you know what, I will always cherish that moment – selfie or no selfie.

 Does anyone get as excited as this guy? 

  

Japan: 4 hotels you NEED to know about

My sister and I visited Japan back in 2013 and stayed in 7 different accommodations, all in the span of 2 weeks. We craved true uniqueness and so we made every effort to make it that way. If you too are looking for the wierd and the wonderful then this short list of hotels/hostels/accommodation may be just for you!

1. Capsule Inn – Tokyo

 When I think of Tokyo the first thing that comes to mind is the Capsule Inn. There is nothing quite like it and you’d be a fool to give this one a miss. Essentially, it’s a hostel or shared accommodation, however, instead of getting your own bed, you get your own ‘capsule’, though some believe it looks more like an oven. Obviously it’s no luxury resort, but it’s nowhere near trashy, as you may expect. One of my main worries was the shared shower facilities (the Japanese are known for their open nudity), so I was pleasantly surprised to see the individual showers, the cool gadgety toilets and the level of cleanliness. Everything was provided for; we were given robes and slippers, as well as toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, cleanser and even toner. I was impressed! More to come on this subject!

2. Yoshimizu Inn – Kyoto

yoshimizu-inn-kyoto-japanOkay, so you’ve seen the advancements of Tokyo, now it’s time to step back and see the traditional in Kyoto. This inn has to be the cutest place I’ve ever stayed at, it’s up in the high hills of Maruyama Park and it’s surrounded by bamboo trees, cherry blossom or autumn leaves (depending on the time of year) and temples. Just think KungFu Panda. We were required to take off our shoes at the entrance of the hotel and were given Japanese robes along with slippers (once again). It felt like I was staying in someone’s home, except I didn’t have to clean up after myself.

This hotel offers breakfast but don’t expect croissants and jam, instead, you’ll be fed boiled eggs, warm soups and lovely Japanese concoctions. The shared bathroom facilities are clean, have an inside lock so you can shower alone, AND they have a Japanese bath – those who are curious to try it out but don’t want to be thrown in the deep end will appreciate this one.

3. Home stay – Kamakura

homestay-in-kamakura-japan
My sister and I were lucky enough to have found a family willing to let us say in their traditional Japanese home. At first, I was really apprehensive about it but I learnt so much and I’d do it all over again. I left feeling really privileged to have fully immersed myself in the Japanese culture. Our host family were nice enough to show us around Kamakura, dress us in kimonos and even cook for us! Can I also add that they fed us Kobe beef!? Kobe beef! It is the best tasting beef I have EVER tried!

I really recommend home stays as it’s where you’ll be most exposed to people’s way of living. Have a look around the web to see if anyone offers a similar experience for a small fee.

4. Henn-na Hotel aka The Robot Hotel – Sasebo


This is the only place where I haven’t actually stayed, but that’s not to mean it can’t be on my list! There’s no other hotel quite like this one. At entering, you are greeted and checked in by a friendly robot. A porter robot will then take your luggage to your room (at an extra fee) and each room has its own mini robot. It’s basically a hotel run by robots and how many more times can I say robot?

It’s an interesting one and even if it’s not your kind of thing, take a look anyway!

That’s it for now. I really hope you enjoy these sort of lists and please look out for future posts on Japan and my adventure!