the fun photographer

Dani Leigh 

Dani leigh

the fun photographer



Welcome to your fun place on the interwebs; a place to waste time at work looking at your friend's pretty wedding and family pictures and getting to know the gal behind the lens. Go ahead and grab that second cup of coffee! You'll be here awhile!

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Dec 18, 2014

So. I went to Peru.

Yep. I have had these photos in this blog post for approximately 24 hours without any words and all I have come up with so far is “So. I went to Peru.” Maybe the end of the year, when my brain is slightly fried isn’t the best time to tell you about going to South America. But, I am going to try anyway. I have had some caffeine so maybe that will help and usually once I start flowing like I am now, I can’t stop, and I just write nonsense things like I am currently.

I think I would like to start off by telling you that the only camera I brought with me on this trip was my Fuji X-T1 and my iphone – the only photos from my iphone are the panarama ones in this blog post. Holy good job, iphone! Our travel was all booked through Alex at Antietam Travel. She is amazing and now plans a lot of my couples honeymoons (hint hint).

So. I went to Peru. We started our journey into Lima on August 4th. I am not sure I had any expectations of Lima or any of Peru to be honest with you. We have a friend whose best friend married someone from Peru – it’s a running joke that I am sticking in here just for you Rachel and Nick. But they were super helpful in pointing us in the right direction of the cool things to do. I have decided after thinking about it awhile that I actually liked Lima. I will say that when I was there, my thoughts were not completely gathered about it and I wasn’t sure what my feelings were on it. We went to the roof of our hotel – the Dazzler…omg worst name for a hotel ever, but it was very nice, great breakfast – I asked Frank if maybe an earthquake had come through or something because everything looked so dilapidated. Once google confirmed that no earthquakes have destroyed all of Lima and they weren’t rebuilding, I started thinking about Lima for what it really is: a beautiful city that also has its super dirty, super sketchy and industrial areas. Sure, there are areas you should definitely avoid, and I am pretty sure we walked into a few of them, but hang out down in Miraflores (an easy enough walk from our hotel) with pretty parks and water views along the way) and you are set. Miraflores is definitely where you want to go if you are comfortable in the more touristy areas, there are tons of bars and pubs and a movie theatre and beautiful restaurants that overlook the coastline.

We went to Peru in August which is winter for them. The temps weren’t bad, a light rain jacket is pretty much all I brought and I wore it every day as well as my super worn down Ron Jon sweatshirt that I am positive doesn’t provide anymore warmth than a long sleeved tshirt. I was fine and only used the under armor I brought a few days when we were in Cusco and Machu Picchu. Definitely recommend under armor – easy to pack and isn’t bulky in the slightest. Walking on the way to Miraflores, you will happen upon this park. Which was later found out was El Parque del Amor – Lovers’ Park. There is this statue called El Beso (the kiss) in the second photo where every year they have a competition to see what couple can hold this position the longest. How cute is that?? And how difficult does this pose look? I feel like my back would hurt after about 5 minutes. But the winner held it for so many hours! Crazy! The mosaic tiles were so pretty and everywhere. It really was a beautiful park. The next day, after some much needed sleep and Inca Cola, we did a tour of the City Centre. It was so hazy but it made for great photos. We went to the Cathedral. Literally that is what it is called, the Cathedral and then went to San Francisco Monastery – super creepy. We got to go in the crypt and I cannot tell you how many bones and skulls we saw. A lot of places do not allow photos inside so sadly (just kidding, not sad at all) I cannot show you photos of the thousands of bones separated by body part in their nice little areas but trust me, it is ingrained in my brain forever. That night we went to this amazing restaurant that we walked by about 5 times before we actually found it. We were literally the only ones there and it was easily the most expensive meal we ate this whole trip but omg. I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful it was. I don’t even know what I ate, but it was seriously so good I get teary thinking about it. It was called El Senorio de Sulco. Seriously delicious. We also looked so digusting, well I did, hence why there are no photos of me, I was wearing sweatpants I am sure, and they still let me in. I recommend looking dressed for dinner, no hiking when going here.  Frank trying his first Pisco Sour of the trip. The next day we flew to Cusco. I was so happy to have a window seat. This photo doesn’t even do it justice. I was too busy marveling at the Andes when I should have been looking for my camera, but I was captivated. It was so beautiful and I have never been anywhere that looked like this before. This plane ride was about an hour from Lima. If you were to drive it would take more than 24 hours. The Andes are no joke. Once we got to Cusco we were picked up by our local guide – she was so sweet. I think her name was Sylvia. One of the first thing Frank asks was how long does it take for altitude sickness to set in. While her answer was that it varies from person to person, I can tell you that the answer is really 3 hours. Here we are walking around this beautiful Temple of the Sun (which by the way, everything is called a Temple of the Sun in Cusco, literally every building basically) and I had had a headache but didn’t think much of it because I frequently get motion sick on airplanes – I know, why in the world am I addicted to traveling if I can’t handle an airplane, trust me, I know – but I had a headache. No big deal. We are walking from room to room in this temple and our guide is amazing. His name was Freddie. And clearly he used to be a professor or something because he was literally the best tour guide I have ever had on any tour in my entire life. He had such a calm demeanor and went so much more in depth about things than anyone else, it made the rest of our guides pale in comparison. But we are walking from room to room and I grab Frank and say I am started to get really dizzy. He said, you’re fine and went back to listening to Freddie, who he was really intently listening to so I almost felt bad for interrupting. I said it one more time and started leaning on the walls and thinking about all these rocks I am going to collapse on and bust open my head. I tried to grab him one more time to tell him that I was definitely about to pass out and that the walls were really warbly. Yes, that is a word in my language, but it was too late and I had nearly fell when this nice woman from Australia caught me and Frank turned around to help too. I had succumbed to the soroche. A little weird tank of oxygen and some coca tea later, I was much better. But I will say that I moved pretty slow the rest of the day and the rest of Cusco (which by the way is about 12000 ft above sea level). Luckily, Machu Picchu is at a much lower elevation so that was totally fine. We went here. Try to say that for me please. Did you say sexy woman? Yes. Yes you did. Because that is definitely just about how it sounds when a local says it. Sexy Woman. It was so beautiful in the Andes. In Cusco stay at the Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco. Also drink the coca tea. No, it will not get you high, and no it is not chocolate but yes you will test positive for cocaine use for a bit. But it does help so much with altitude sickness. Sometimes before it starts. We didn’t eat guinea pig. We did see enough of them roasted on coals though. Frank having grown up with guinea pigs as pets just couldn’t bring himself to do it. Especially since they serve them to you pretty much whole. So we decided to just hold a living one instead. Along the way we got to see how so many of these beautiful yarns are made and colored. I thought it was super interesting. This was in the village of Awanakancha. You don’t see many pictures of me because most of them turned out like this… This is my favorite Australian who caught me as I was passing out! She was on a 5 month travel journey and was all by herself. She was super awesome to hang out with. One of the things on the to do list while we were there was to try chicha. This is chicha morada which is pretty much all we could really find for some reason. Chicha is actually made by chewing on corn and using the saliva and chewing to release the starches in the corn and then made into beer. Pretty gross right? I can tell you that it is actually super delicious and I am still alive. I believe for this we were in Pisac. This is the empanada man. I loved his basically 50 cent empanadas. And his hat. There is literally a whole book about this mountain. This was in Ollantaytambo. You should definitely make this a stop in your journey. During Inca times, this is where the Emperor lived. There are so many amazing things to say about this that I really think you would be best going and seeing it for yourself. We spent the night in the Sacred Valley which I totally recommend you do. This was our hotel: Casa Andina Private Collection Valle Sagrado. It was incredible. I would stay 1 million more times. There we met an astronomer who took this photo with my iphone through a telescope. How amazing??? Well, we made it to Machu Picchu. Likely the part you have been waiting for. We stayed in the pueblo right below it at El Mapi – definitely stay there, although when we were there it wasn’t done being built yet. Ya know, maybe it was because when we arrived it was pouring and so dark and so foggy, but I didn’t get that feeling that I usually get when I get to something big. Like this is what I came all this way to see and yes, it was amazing, but it just didn’t give me the chills like some of my other travels. The next day we got there and it looked like this. Yep. That is the famous view of Machu Picchu. So, it really is the luck of the draw sometimes. Sometimes you get a super gorgeous sunny day and sometimes you get this. We had a whole day to explore though and trust me, there is enough to fill a whole day to a day and a half to see. Especially if you read Turn Right at Machu Picchu before coming. I highly recommend it. It was amazing. And honestly, it was incredible what these Inca’s did. And how they lived and how they survived. I’m still convinced they exist. Trust me, these Andes are so undiscovered and that is what they were good at, hiding. Oh and stacking rocks. I bet they would be so good at Tetris. This is on a fault and sinks a little bit more each year. So sad. More majestic than Machu Picchu itself is the Andes. Just to think about how many undiscovered sites there are in these mountains, that is enough to give you goosebumps. This is Trista! We met her and her husband at the airport going from Lima to Cusco. She was so friendly and turned around and just started up a conversation like I normally would. You know, the kind of thing that horrifies Frank, talking to strangers. We actually wondered about them a lot when we were on our merry way. Luckily one of the nights we were in Machu Picchu Pueblo, they walked into the restaurant we were in and we invited them to come on over and sit with us. It was so great. I love meeting new people on vacation and I’m happy to say we are exchanging Christmas Cards this year. Yay friends!! The last shot I took back in Lima before boarding the plane home the next morning.

comments +

  1. Christa Rae

    December 18th, 2014 at 10:22 am

    This looks like such an amazing trip Dani! What an experience this must have been and the food looks amazing!!

  2. Caitlin

    December 18th, 2014 at 10:41 am

    omg I’m obsessed with you! this is 1) so funny 2) so informative 3) so awesome. I’ve wanted to go here forever! now I’ll just copy your entire itinerary haha. I think we’re travel soul mates

  3. Lauren C

    December 18th, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Ha!! You passed out! I so wish I could have been there for that. I know that anyone else reading this comment is going to think I’m so mean but, whatever, I know you’ll understand 😉 Yes, amazing photos and I totally want to go there some day, but right now I’m just concentrating on the fact that you passed out.

  4. Marcella Treybig

    December 18th, 2014 at 11:57 am

    You take out of the country trips with your husband to?! weird, I thought it was just friends 😉 Alpacas, Empanadas, and star gazing is on the top of my favorites list! looks like an awesome trip!!

  5. Anna

    December 18th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    aw! i love this…i really love the photos of the peruvian people doing their jobs, and the one of you and frank with the llamas! i feel like this was a totally different kind of trip/experience, but such a cool one! and now i need to read that book about machu picchu.

  6. Brea

    December 18th, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Peru seriously looks amazing! What an incredible trip! I’m so glad you finally posted this. I feel like I’ve been waiting for it forever!

  7. Anna

    December 18th, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Dani! I’m so impressed! These pics are awesome and you didn’t even use your mark iii? Amazing…just goes to show you that it’s not just the camera 🙂 I love you and your adventures! And I really love that frank was in the pics!

  8. Miriam Schwartz

    January 5th, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    um, i think you should be a tour guide as a side thing… would be THE funniest your guide ever! just don’t pass out while guiding people, that might not look so good. guinea pigs?? they eat guinea pigs????? im just thinking of my daughter’s hamster right now and feeling very squeamish. i guess its good you didn’t get pictures of all those bones. lol. these pictures are amazing, the andes are spectacular!!!!

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|  Photos by Dani Leigh photography