Peru's Independence Day Ollantaytambo, Cuzco Region

Independence Day – Peru

As I made a speedboat in the Irish sand, Peru were celebrating their Independence as they do each year on July 28th ever since Jose San Martin took control of Lima in 1821. This was regarded as a new beginning for Peru as they continued to reclaim their country from the weakened clutches of their Spanish invaders, bringing an end to over three centuries of oppression and tyranny.

I will never forget that horrific image depicted in painting displayed in Museo de Historia Regional (Garcilaso, Cusco). To describe the scene would be too torturous for words. Perhaps there are world leaders or conflict leaders we should nominate to have a look instead to see if it would enhance their sensitivities towards fellow human beings.

Last year I was the on-looker as the Peruvians celebrated their freedom from tyranny. As usual it was a colourful display and it continued throughout the day in Plaza De Armas, Ollantaytambo. In my opinion you cannot choose a more pretty, tranquil and picturesque setting to observe this Peruvian celebration.

I was testing my own independent strengths by coming to this Peruvian land alone, in an attempt to conquer my own fears and restore peace of mind. On what day, in what month and which year should I choose to mark my Independence. When would that day arrive for me? I’m back in Ireland now wondering about it all. I didn’t exactly dig my head in the sand. Instead I choose to build a speed boat. Perhaps my imagination will get me there…all the way to Independence.

Independence Day Celebrations Ollantaytambo Peru

Independence Day Celebrations Ollantaytambo Peru

Peru's Independence Day Ollantaytambo, Cuzco Region

Peru’s Independence Day Ollantaytambo, Cuzco Region

Ollantaytambo Peru on Independence Day

Ollantaytambo Peru on Independence Day

Independence Day Celebrations Peru - Ollantaytambo

Independence Day Celebrations Peru – Ollantaytambo

Cars in Peru display the colours of their National Flag

Cars in Peru display the colours of their National Flag

Speed Boat in The Sand - Ireland

Speed Boat in The Sand – Ireland

 

The Road To Santa Maria - Peru

Win Or Lose – An Irish Womans Journey In Peru

The morning after an eventful two days and nights in Ollantaytambo, I stood at the edge of the Plaza De Armas waiting for the bus to Santa Maria. I wasn’t the one intending to travel. I was parting company with my soul sisters, Lis and Nabila, having spent those last two days together. The girls planned to travel to Santa Teresa in the cloud forest and from there to make their way to Machu Picchu via a walking trail.

The Road to Santa Maria - Peru

The Road to Santa Maria – Peru

They purchased snacks of cancha (Peruvian corn) and nuts for the long trip of at least six hours or more up into the mountains and down towards the jungle. I admired their adventurous spirit, thinking they were braver than I, even though they had each other for support. They were undertaking a journey completely independent of tour companies. Their journey would take them North to Iquitos and then to Ecuador. We all had Peruvian cell phones so we agreed to keep in touch as long as they remained on Peruvian soil.

 

 

 

I waved goodbye and wished them well and resumed my life as an Irish woman getting used to life in a Peruvian town, striving to improve my Spanish upon other things. The time I had spent with my American companions, the last few days, was a refreshing break from my routine but it shone the light more closely on my reasons for coming to this place and just staying put.

On my evening walk about I considered it more. To decide to come to this place was probably the bravest thing I ever did in my life. It had taken me 15 years to build to the level of freedom and confidence I now experienced but it didn’t come easily and I had further to go. I wanted to experience winning for a change but there was something I needed to let go of also. Here I had plenty of perspective that was for sure. It seemed the Universe had other plans for me. I did not win in the way that I had hoped. I lost in the most miserable way in fact. And that which I wanted to lose stayed with me.

You have licence to invent all kinds of scenarios to fit my cryptic talk but please be kind and keep it to your intellectual self. I mean that sincerely, I assume my readers have high intellect and compassion. I prefer to land the ‘seemingly’ dysfunctional stuff on my novel character Kitty Clinch of the unpublished (not for long hopefully) novel. She gets to be the kind of woman who’d probably make some ‘modern’ women weep for shame but in my novels (I’ve started the prequel already) she is on her way to becoming the Heroine.

I was barely in my third week in Ollantaytambo I had at least six more to go. The plot had not unfolded completely for me. Right now I felt I had the winning streak. At the very end, the measure of what I won was priceless, unexpected and will stay with me forever.

© Caroline Cunningham Author and Owner of Wild Star Landing

The Road To Santa Maria - Peru

The Road To Santa Maria – Peru

Veronica (Glacial Mountain) leads the way to Santa Maria - Peru

Veronica (Glacial Mountain) leads the way to Santa Maria – Peru

Paradise - Mixed Media

Where The Heart Is – Art Of Caroline Cunningham

Where do you call home? Is it the place where you are King or Queen or is it the place where you are bound to serve or it is something more? What brought you there, what made you stay? Can home be found in the many places that touch the very centre of your being? Have you gone in search of those places or have they found you? If you need some inspiration in your search I invite you to explore my own reflections on ‘Where The Heart Is’.

GLENDALOUGH – Ireland has many treasures and Glendalough is one. The serenity of the lake, the purifying breath of forest and solace of a glacial valley, these I treasure as the home-place of my soul.
VARANASI COW – India’s famous love-story beckoned and found its way in to my heart forever. Varanasi ‘City Of Light’ had an unexpected appeal with its wandering sacred cows and the Holy Ganga River flowing by a population, worshipping its’ sunrise and sunset.
MOUNT LEINSTER MANDALA – Since I could be profoundly affected by a far-away land such as India I took a closer look at the landscape which shaped my youth and decided for the first time to express the emotions that my Irish home-land triggered in me.
WINTER SKY and EAGLE HILL – My education in the National College of Art and Design (N.C.A.D.) brought a new level of artistic expression to my paintings and drawings. I departed from the use of photographs for my productions and relied instead on drawing and painting from life. Also it was my first practice in the use of pastels. Once again I depicted the local landscape of Carlow.
SANDYMOUNT SUNRISE – Dublin! I never intended it to be my home but somehow it happened this way. A city can be an irritating place for a country person now and then but it has its splendour and so much variety to be explored. It was a frosty 7.30am start on the strand on a September morning before work in the office but during those moments I found my way home.
THE KISS – From all around the world a famous Dublin bridge attracts many visitors. The Hal’penny Bridge harbours stories of its own. As I cross the Liffey I am anchored in its tale. It makes me wonder if I am really a city person after all.
PARADISE – Dreaming of Paradise! Do you know where it is? Tell me because I haven’t found it yet.

Art of Caroline Cunningham is for sale at Rathvilly Café & Deli during July and August.
If you are interested in making purchase the Café owners can advise you.
Payment can be made in cash or via paypal to loveisrealart@gmail.com
If you have any queries you may contact Caroline at loveisrealart@gmail.com
or visit http://www.carolinecunningham.com
Visit Facebook Page: LoveIsRealArt

Exhibition During July and August 2014

Glendalough - Caroline Cunningham Art

Glendalough – Caroline Cunningham Art

Varanasi Cow, Caroline Cunningham Art

Varanasi Cow, Caroline Cunningham Art

Mount Leinster Mandala - Caroline Cunningham Art

Mount Leinster Mandala – Caroline Cunningham Art

Winter Sky - Caroline Cunningham Art

Winter Sky – Caroline Cunningham Art

Eagle Hill - Caroline Cunningham Art

Eagle Hill – Caroline Cunningham Art

Sandymount Sunrise- Caroline Cunningham Art

Sandymount Sunrise- Caroline Cunningham Art

The Kiss - Acrylic on Canvas

The Kiss – Acrylic on Canvas

Prints and Greetings Cards of Caroline Cunninghams Art are available via Fine Art America

Fiest del Carmen Rumira

Sacred Valley Festival – Stories from Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen was underway in Rumira, a roadside towns-land a few miles outside Ollantaytambo, Peru’s ‘Living Inca Museum.’ My decision to return after my first visit to Peru, one year earlier, did not disappoint me. Ollantaytambo stood out as being rather unique, so, I chose to discover what life was like in a small town in this area known as The Sacred Valley.

Fiest del Carmen Peru

Fiest del Carmen Peru

My friendships grew at the rate of my improvement in learning Spanish. I was the director of my own learning and all my life discoveries with help, of course, from those whom I befriended. In this, my third week I had formed a lovely bond with some passing American tourists. Lis and Nabila agreed to walk with me to Rumira to witness a religious celebration which my Peruvian friend Hoowert had been telling me about.

Fiesta del Carmen Peru

Fiesta del Carmen Peru

Hence, we found ourselves sitting amongst the Andean folk, me pretending to drink beer and managing plates of rice with vegetables and tiny pieces of fatty pork, provided for all the guests. It was close on 5pm and things were just getting started. I didn’t know if we were at the right house at first but I was reassured when I saw Hoowert coming from the road. I was proud to introduce him to the girls. He treated us like special guests and was so eager for us to understand the essence of the celebration.

 

 

 

Fiesta del Carmen Peru

Fiesta del Carmen Peru

He described everything beautifully. It was poetry to him. ‘We celebrate The Jesus and The Mary,’ he explained, ‘and also the traditions and stories from our past.’ Whilst the Spanish conquistadors imposed the Catholic belief upon their Inca captors these tenacious people and their descendants never lost sight of their original beliefs and traditions. Hence the ceremonies are a fusion of two belief systems ending up with very colourful and joyful celebrations.

Dancers Costumes Peru Fiesta

Dancers Costumes Peru Fiesta

Dancers Costumes Peru

Dancers Costumes Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dancers Costumes Peru

Dancers Costumes Peru

For this festival is it the custom that a patron provides food and drink for the occasion. It is considered an honour to do so. All are welcome to the feast no-one is ever refused. Hoowert brought us into a tiny hut that had an open fire with pots and pans. The fire was lighting and some meat was hanging from the rafter for curing purposes. Hoowert had a good grasp of the English language, which is not usual for his kin. He owned his own mini-market where he worked long hours and in his spare time he performed as a traditional dancer at ceremonies such as these.

Dancers Costumes Peru

Dancers Costumes Peru

The way he described the importance of the dancing and what it meant to him was inspiring. Until recent years I had encountered very few people who would unashamedly display their hearts passion openly as he did. His love for his culture exuded in every word, every demonstration of his body behaviour and from his light-filled eyes.

Dancers Costumes Peru

Dancers Costumes Peru

 

Giving Thanks To Pacha Mama - Peru

Giving Thanks To Pacha Mama – Peru

After educating us about the celebrations he urged us to walk further along the road in the direction of the church. Throughout the remainder of the evening groups of dancers would be arriving there to perform their ritual dances. Each group represented the houses of the hosts of the fiesta. Costumes and masks are part of the dance and every item including the colours is significant. Hoowert explained, ‘the dance tells a story of my country.’ One of the masks was yellow in colour representing a tragic episode in history where many people in

Fiesta Del Carmen In Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen In Peru

that area died of Yellow Fever. Also some costumes were ragged and torn to represent extreme poverty that had been endured. He told us to watch out for the man with the whip, this too signified the history of oppression following the invasion by the Spanish in 1500’s.

 

 

Dancers make their way to Church - Peru

Dancers make their way to Church – Peru

 

Dancing Groups arriving at the Church - Peru

Dancing Groups arriving at the Church – Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen - Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen – Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiesta Del Carmen - Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen – Peru

We had some fun as the young men displayed their costumes to us. After taking photo’s we followed instructions and made our way to the church. It was getting much cooler as it does in this part of the high Andes during winter. The church was a small modest building decorated inside with fruit above the altar, as thanksgiving to Pacha Mama, Mother Earth. The statues were decorated like dolls with pretty dresses all a glitter. Outside a group of dancers arrived in a procession towards the church. A large costumed gorilla led the way. There was a particular foot work sequence which I noticed through-out the dances, a quick shuffle of steps from side to side accompanied by swaying bodies and outstretched arms.

Fiesta Del Carmen - Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen – Peru

 

Fiesta Del Carmen - Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen – Peru

As the sky darkened, country-folk gathered around the courtyard of the church. One after the other, groups of dancers arrived with bright colourful costumes and outrageous masks. Each group had a different theme and different story to tell in their performance. We saw the whipping man, yes, and he appeared to be genuine in his whipping intentions as he lashed at those who stepped out of line. After each group completed their performance in front of the church, they then proceeded into the church itself. A new group took their place to perform the next sequence.

 

 

Fiesta Del Carmen - Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen – Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen - Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen – Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stayed as long as our bodies could withstand the cold. We bought coca tea with spices from a nearby stall and skewered barbequed meat to sustain ourselves. A few hours had passed. It was truly special to be here but also to have friends to share the experience with and to see my friend Hoowert dancing.

Fiest del Carmen Rumira

Fiest del Carmen Rumira

There seemed to be no end to the dances but it was evident that a return to the houses for more food and drinks was part of the plan. We had received an invitation to return to the house we had started out from. Getting home could have been tricky for there were no lights along the road back to Ollantaytambo and we had only dark clothing. For luck there was an auto-taxi. Nabila did the deal as her Spanish language was more fluent. Three of us huddled in the darkness of the covered motorbike giggling at the driver’s choice of music which was loud and surreal to my senses. This dimly lit motor-taxi dropped us safely back to Ollantaytambo.

 

 

It was our last night together. The girls were bound for Santa Teresa in the morning. Our time together was short but definitely memorable.

© Caroline Cunningham Author of Wild Star Landing

Auto Taxi Peru

Auto Taxi Peru

Auto Taxi Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen En Rumira – A Peruvian Tale

It was nearing four in the afternoon. Andean sun-down was strictly 6pm. Once the sun dipped behind the rocky mountain fortress we would be reduced to sudden twilight shifting to darkness and plummeting temperatures sometimes reaching zero degrees. It was July in the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo. I was all set with my new American companions, Lis and Nabila to attend a Peruvian festival in a nearby towns-land.

Fiest del Carmen Peru

Fiest del Carmen Peru

Rumira, we were told by Hoovert (my Peruvian shop-keeper friend) is a forty minute walk from Ollantaytambo in the direction of Santa Maria and the Jungle. The girls had stayed an extra night in Ollantaytambo so as to accompany me to the Fiesta del Carmen, an annual religious celebration which takes place in this part of Peru in July. While Carmen is a Catholic saint we were about to witness the amalgamation of two religious cultures during this colourful celebration. Hoovert was keen for me to go so that I would also see him dancing.

Auto Taxi Peru

Auto Taxi Peru

We didn’t meet many people walking out that road but we did encounter traffic, mostly trucks and cars. To avoid the trucks I found myself hopping across large drains on the edge of the roadside. We walked in silence mostly, which allowed for contemplation of the journey. Hoovert told us that there would be parties in the houses and we were to go to one of these. ‘All are welcome,’ he had explained, ‘no-one is refused during the Fiesta.’ We didn’t know really what to expect as the instructions he had given us were quite loose and the starting time kept changing whenever we asked about it.

Peruvian Rooster

Peruvian Rooster

We had walked almost an hour. I was still drained from our extravagant night out the night before. Another serving of Coca tea would have suited me fine. Nabila who was slightly ahead of us on the road had come to a stop just outside the entrance to a courtyard. She appeared to be talking to someone. A young man was beckoning to Lis and I, he looked vaguely familiar to me. ‘The family say that we are welcome,’ Nabila explained to us.

Cusqueno

Cusqueno

Fiesta del Carmen - Peru

Fiesta del Carmen – Peru

Fiest del Carmen Peru

Fiest del Carmen Peru

We entered and were offered seats amongst the Peruvian people seated in the outdoor yard and we were each handed a bottle of Cusqueňo beer. I looked at Lis who was beside me. ‘No me gusta,’ I whimpered quietly in her ear. ‘Pretend you are drinking it,’ she answered with her ever-ready smile and winking at me. We sat there smiling at the locals. There was no lively conversation, most just sat there sipping their beers and watching the chickens clucking and picking in the earth. It was fortunate that those chickens were constantly looking downwards for around the corner of a small hut was a clothes line with full skins of chickens hanging out to dry.

 
A dog sat beneath a chair with a beer by his side. His eyes intrigued me. They were wildly dark and lively and matched his tanned wavy coat. He had the stature of a regal warrior. He surely deserved a beer.

Stories of Peru

Stories of Peru

We were the only tourists amongst these Andean people. The older folk were dressed in more traditional clothing. This pertained particularly to the women who wore full skirts with petticoats beneath, woolen jackets and blouse and hats that were particular to their clan. The hats here were tanned and brimmed. These were older women. I had noticed that the colours of the clothing grew duller with the aging of their wearer. Thus, the younger girls could be seen vividly in full array of colourful clothing.

Fiesta Del Carmen Peru

Fiesta Del Carmen Peru

Festival In Peru - Sacred Valley

Festival In Peru – Sacred Valley

We passed a half an hour this way, observing the details of the company. A group of younger men scarpered in and out of doorways of the house behind us. It turned out that they were busy preparing their costumes for later. They were one of the groups of dancers for the evening’s festival. The atmosphere was about to get more lively. Hoovert had arrived.

 

 

© Caroline Cunningham Author of Wild Star Landing Blog

Follow Wild Star Landing to hear stories of life in this Magical Land of Peru

La Nusta Kura Ocllo, Ollantaytambo, Peru

Los Americanos En Ollantaytambo

It was the week of the Americans that was for sure. Ollantaytambo is no ordinary little town in Peru and that was my main reason for choosing to return a year after my first visit to this mighty homeland of the Inca civilisation. Evidence of the past is not only marked out magnificently in stone for all to see, the streets are also alive with inhabitants displaying their colourful costumes and attending to their traditions. And all the while, the nations of the world pass through relatively unnoticed by these country folk, or so it seemed.

Forteleza, Inca Architecture, Ollantaytambo, Peru,Travel & Astronomy,Ireland & Peru. Published in Astronomy Ireland Magazine 2013 Photograph by Caroline Cunningham
After my three weeks of constant study and practice of speaking Spanish and adjusting to higher altitude (2,850m a.s.l) I had been paying more attention to my Peruvian companions rather than the tourists, who often only stopped off for a few hours before or after their trip to Machu Picchu situated a short train ride away.

Inca Descendants in Ollantaytambo

Inca Descendants in Ollantaytambo

But this week was different. The day before, I had spent the finest evening and night with a group of Americans whose company I will always treasure. As I raised my head from the pillow this morning however, it seemed that gravity was more against me in my efforts. Steve had already left town on his way to Cuzco but Nabila and Liz had promised to stick around a while longer. I got myself together and sent a message to the girls to find out about their plans for meeting up.
My friend Hoovert in the Mini-Market had been telling me lots about a festival taking place in a nearby towns-land. He urged me not to miss it as he would be one of the dancers taking part in Fiesta Del Carmen de Rumira. The girls were considering extending their stay in order to accompany me to the festival.

 

Fortaleza In Ollantaytambo, Peru

Fortaleza In Ollantaytambo, Peru

Excitedly I made my way to the square to meet them in the Coffee Tree Café. En route I met another lady, also American, who was having trouble finding a cash machine. Ollantaytambo, at that time, only had two cash machines, one on the corner of the Plaza De Armas (on the Pinkuluna side) and one inside the doorway of Hotel Sauce not far from the square in direction of the Fortaleza (on the left). There is no bank and another thing to note is that the machines often dispensed high denominations of Soles, leaving café owners scarpering from door to door in search of smaller notes for the purposes of ‘change’. I escorted Cathy to the bank machine at Hotel Sauce and discovered here too another interesting soul. I told her about my plan to meet the Liz and Nabila and invited her to join us in the café.
Once again we were ‘four’. I treated myself to a ‘tourist’ breakfast of ‘Huevos Rancheros’ but something was amiss. ‘I feel weak,’ I moaned a little. Liz and Nabila were grinning. ‘You probably are feeling the effects of high altitude Caroline,’ they teased. ‘Yes, it could be that,’ I wailed thinking about the mojito we had finished up our night with. ‘Have coca tea!’ Cathy suggested. I ordered a large pot. Coca tea has great riving properties to counter symptoms which high-altitude can induce and it did the trick for my present condition.

 

Los Americanos En Ollantaytambo

Los Americanos En Ollantaytambo

Nabila and Liz confirmed that they would stay an extra night in Ollantaytambo and come with me to the festival in Rumira. Cathy had other plans however. She had already booked a trip to a mountain village to learn the weaving craft of the Inca tradition. Weaving is a very popular tradition in Peru and Cathy was an enthusiast. Awamaki are an American volunteer (not-for-profit) group based in Ollantaytambo, they work with the Andean communities to promote their culture and assist their communities.

Hoovert - Mini Market Owner & Dancer

Hoovert – Mini Market Owner & Dancer

 

Cathy had booked her trip with Awamaki and would be leaving early in the morning. Nevertheless, she agreed to join us for a walk around the town.
We stopped off to confirm with Hoovert the start time for the Fiesta and then made our way along the river taking in the golden statue of La Ñusta (Inca Princess) and the breath-taking scenery along the road that leads to Andean village of Patacancha.

©Caroline Cunningham Author of Wild Star Landing

 

 

La Nusta Kura Ocllo, Ollantaytambo, Peru

La Nusta Kura Ocllo, Ollantaytambo, Peru

Cuenca del Patacancha, Sacred Valley, Peru

Cuenca del Patacancha, Sacred Valley, Peru

Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham describes life in a Peruvian Town in the heart of The Sacred Valley.

Travel Writer Caroline Cunningham describes life in a Peruvian Town in the heart of The Sacred Valley.

 

 

 

 

Quechua Bar Ollantaytambo, Peru

Baby Steps Out Of The Corner – A Story of Peru

Imagine not one but three pairs of eyes shining their loving rays of sunshine back at you. I stood in the doorway of the Coffee Tree Cafe soaking up this splendid wave of energy. Without effort or invitation I was reflecting three smiling faces, beaming from ear to ear. I stepped through the doorway to greet my new friends. Nabila, whom I had met for the first time just a few hours ago in Casa Della Abuelo Hotel, introduced me to her travelling companion, Liz. ‘And this is Steve,’ she added. The three had got talking to each other while having coffee. Steve, also from the States of USA, was travelling solo and had just arrived in Ollantaytambo from Machu Picchu.

Ollantaytambo, Peru

Ollantaytambo, Peru

After three weeks of grappling with a new language, my Spanish was slowly improving but not enough to convey much detail. My new Peruvian friends in this Sacred Valley town, were patient with me, but I was very much a baby amongst them and definitely ‘in the corner’ in many ways.
This was ‘baby’ stepping out of the corner into centre stage. English gushed from me, so much to say and to appreciative listeners. If you know that bond that exists between friends from an earlier part of your life, which ignites instantly once you are together again, this was the feeling I had in that moment of meeting these wonderful souls, except we had never been connected previously in this lifetime of my earth existence.
A plan was set in place without hesitation. Pizza and Pisco were involved in the plot. Off we set and since I was considered by my new friends to be the ‘local’ amongst them, I got to choose the venues. Tonight I was going to be a real tourist, so we ate our ‘stone-oven-fired’ pizza while listening to Pan Pipe music and sampling Peruvian ‘Tacama’ Red Wine and Pisco Sour.

Friends in Ollantaytambo Peru

Friends in Ollantaytambo Peru

We were abuzz with conversation. My new friends were such interesting people. Liz and Nabila both worked in education, researching the ways in which children learn in order to develop better strategies for teaching them. They both seemed highly motivated and passionate about their work, we discussed the ways the world could benefit from such advancements. I was intrigued by Nabila’s story of how her family had moved to America when she was little, leaving her war-torn homeland of Afghanistan behind.

Steve, who also had Peruvian background, told us about his work as an orthopaedic doctor. He had journeyed to Peru with a team of doctors from America for the purpose of providing voluntary medical assistance and surgery in areas where people cannot afford medical care. Having spent some weeks in this role, he was spending his final week enjoying a vacation before return home to U.S.A.
I was in awe of my new friends, inspired and feeling grateful to have the company of such

Quechua Bar Ollantaytambo, Peru

Quechua Bar Ollantaytambo, Peru

magnificent minds and hearts. Naturally they asked me about my story. ‘What brought you to this place?’ Nabila asked. The answer I had rehearsed for the inquisitive café customers came tripping out more shyly this time. ‘I wrote a novel,’ I replied as the three of them listened attentively. ‘I visited Peru last year on a holiday,’ I added, explaining how this first visit had inspired a story. ‘I wrote continuously, morning to night for five months until I had completed it, my first novel.’

I looked at them, wondering what they might think of this. I half apologised for not having made more effort to do ‘worldly-good’ deeds as they had been doing. Steve was the first to reassure me, ‘I wish I could write a novel!’ he remarked.

Quechua Bar Ollantaytambo, Peru

Quechua Bar Ollantaytambo, Peru

The laughter and fun continued and our next stop was the Quechua Bar in the direction of the craft market and Fortaleza. You will know this bar if you visit Ollantaytambo. It’s the one that is playing the Bob Marley music and the Spanish version of U2’s ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.’ The dogs in the deserted streets followed us home. Since my accommodation was on the far side of town, the guys walked me there first. Steve was leaving early in the morning so I wished him well on his journey. Liz and Nabila were toying with the idea of staying an extra day, so we had swapped mobile numbers in order to make plans.

Friendships in Ollantaytambo Peru

Friendships in Ollantaytambo Peru

That was my ‘wildest’ party night in Ollantaytambo town during my nine weeks there and the best friendships formed with any touristic visitors to the town during my stay. Only in more recent times did I discover that Steve’s trip to Peru that July was even more significant than he had revealed that night. He had been responsible for making a miracle happen. At least it was a miracle for the young Peruvian boy who received a prosthetic limb. Steve had responded to a plea for help which could have gone unheard. It seemed impossible to him at first but he got support of his colleagues and arranged for the artificial limb to be made especially for the boy, whose family could never have afforded this. During this trip to Peru, Steve had personally delivered and fitted the limb to the young boy, transforming his life forever.

Salutations to you Steve! And to Liz and Nabila, thank you for being there!

© Caroline Cunningham Wild Star Landing Author