Category Archives: Travel

Ireland Celebrates Peru

I’ve been invited to the Mansion House! Dublin’s cities residence of The Lord Mayor is the venue for a special celebration of Peruvian culture in Ireland soon. I have, in recent months, connected with a vibrant group of Peruvians living in Ireland.

In June 2017, I attended dance rehearsals with members of the facebook group ‘Casa Peru in Ireland’. At the end of that month we performed on the streets of Dublin, show-casing the traditional dances of Peru.

This was also a way for me to show my friends back in Peru that my time spent amongst them, as an adventurer and writer, has not been forgotten.

‘Stories are my thing and I seek the positive and beautiful even in the darkest of places.’

In fact, it is my wish to publish my travel memoir from that time. I refer to it as my ‘Journey in Peru’ story. It has been featured on this blog ‘Wild Star Landing’ and has also been listed in Ireland Blog Awards in the last few years running. Take note if indeed you are a publisher or agent, we could be a team! (:

‘I was always writing but I could say I ‘BECAME’  a writer when I landed in Peru.’

Flashmob 2

Peru is the country that propelled me into the world of writing. I was always writing but I could say I ‘BECAME’  a writer when I landed in Peru. I have been twice to that magnificent land as a result of this writng ‘fire-spur’.

I would love to return andI would relish any form of sponsorship that would return me there a while longer. I write lovingly about genuine stuff, people, places and culture. Stories are my thing and I seek the positive and beautiful even in the darkest of places.

Fly me  to Peru? Have a heart (:

Can’t wait to visit the Mansion House for celebrations. Will keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by! Do say hello!

©Caroline Cunningham

Author, Blogger, Artist

For amazing, thoughtful gift ideas for yourself and loved ones visit Carolines bookstore and gallery – go shopping!

Do you agree?

Itching to write! But something’s stopping me. I’ve worked too long and hard on other stuff (other writing projects, paintings, promoting my work, providing therapy, networking). My brain is saying ‘Stop! Take a break’ and another part is saying ‘Get on with it, you’re not going to survive if you sit still!’.

When it comes to creativity, timing is everything. You create the right space by taking care of yourself. Do you agree?

I’m just writing out loud here in an effort to clear the decks. The thing I love most about writing is the connection it allows me to have with the wider world. That connection is a very special thing. We share so much even though we may be oceans apart. Do you agree?

I am always going to assume from now on that you may be the person who does not agree so fire ahead and rant and rave, just on this post, leave the others alone hahaha! Selective ranting and raving. Do you agree?

So its Friday, I have not co-ordinated a plan yet but I am going to unwind ever so slowly. A break is indeed necessary. It’s Bank Holiday here in Ireland (meaning most people get an extra day off work just because).

August is for me, like an end of year thing, because I am actually a student and have been for many years. September to July are the months of my studies which have transformed me to what you see today. Not like that ‘wan’ years ago, who would hide under a bed so that the world would not see her in anyway good.

Elton Caroline

Now, is a time for reflection. So much has happened in this last 11 months. My sphere has broadened, I’m on the up in lots of ways. I still need more sales to bring more dignity to my efforts but if you are serious about helping in that area I provide excellent value in all my art works and books and its very easy to use my on-line shop.  Do you agree?

I look forward to keeping you posted on the next big news stuff for my creative works.

Have fun everyone. Thank you for stopping by! Do you agree?

© Caroline Cunningham

Support my creative endeavours – books – artwork – therapy

The Whisperings of Nature – Book

Seven Cs to Calm – Book

Preparing for Calm (Free eBook)

The Sacred Lives of Trees – Artwork

Even more affordable artwork options – Art Prints

Dancing in the Street! Peru Style

Now at least I can say I have something in common with Mick Jagger and the great David Bowie! Only a week ago I was ‘Dancing in the Street’!! Want to know how that feels? Feckin’ amazing! (;

No other words for it really! I answered the call – Casa Peru Ireland – a group of Peruanos living in Ireland, put a call out via their face book page. Flash mob! Rehearsals in June! All welcome!

Flashmob 2

Flash Mob Casa Peru in Ireland!

How could I resist? As someone who wrote continuously about my Journey in Peru over a period of 30 months on my Wild Star Landing blog, I was eager to strengthen my links with this country by taking part in this fun event.

During my time in Peru, I had observed the many festivals in the plazas and on the streets where dancing is central to the celebration. I had even given it a go myself ‘Dancing around the Coffee Tree’ and ‘Waino Dancing by the River’ but I had not properly learned the steps and sequences.

Flashmob 1

Peru Ireland Connections

So in June 2017 in Dublin city centre, I joined this festive group to partake in a sequence of dances representing the three main regions of Peru, Coast, Mountain and Jungle.

We rehearsed over a period of three weeks. I really enjoyed the gatherings and met people not just from Peru but countries such as Mexico, Bolivia, Italy and Romania.

When it came to our street performance, some were understandably nervous and certainly there was much anticipation. None of us had quite done anything like this before.

Dublin was strangely quiet that evening and rain was upon us too. Nonetheless, we followed through with the joyful action and all our steps were carried out.

Flashmob 4

Wild Star Landing – Dancing in the Street

I am proud to say I danced the Peruvian dances. My friends in my Peru can see me in the videos and I know my bonds have been strengthened even though the miles between us are many.

Take a look at our ‘Dancing in the Street ‘Peruvian flash mob style!

Have you been to Peru? What was your favourite spot?

© Caroline Cunningham

Author of Wild Star Landing

Books by Caroline Cunningham – Go Shopping !

Writing letters all of their days – Travel Tale

Up until then they were just two older men meeting for dinner. Then they ordered desert!

I was tempted, as one of the deserts looked particularly elaborate. I had to ask them what it was. That was the start of our conversation.

Beneath the canapé of the restaurant with candle lights dancing in table top lanterns, the waiter presented me with the delicious Hungarian delight. The gentlemen saluted me as I dipped my spoon into the chocolate dreamy folds of cake.

 

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Budapest

 

Now we were in unison, enjoying treats and absorbing the magic of lapsing twilight into deeper night time sky. I settled back in my seat for a moment, observing the city passersby and raised my eyes to the roof tops of stately buildings. I had found rest after my hours of walking and deciphering of maps and streets, this moment felt like my reward.

‘Is it your first time to Budapest?’ He addressed me in English but German was his first language. His friend smiled at me. ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘And you travel alone?’ he enquired. ‘I’m going to a wedding in a Slovakia in a few days,’ I added. They both seemed very pleased with this response and as we had now moved to coffees they saluted me again.

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The Danube

Our tables were close enough for comfortable communication although, I had to pay close attention because the other gentleman spoke with a French accent and his English was not as coherent as that of his German friend.

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Budapest

They enquired about my homeland of Ireland, saying that they had visited some years ago and had enjoyed the beautiful landscape. Ireland had been in the news a lot that week, as the American President had paid a stately visit. The German man being, more chatty, made a reference to our famous USA visitor. I told him my tale of how I had seen Barak Obama twice in one day, as his car drove past and he had waved at me both times!

And I couldn’t stop myself from telling the story about his ‘stately tank of a car’ getting stuck in the hollow of the Embassy gates in Dublin and how they had to get a crane to lift it out. As we erupted into laughter, so too did the diners at the next tables. They were American!

Car Budapest

Budapest – Wild Star Landing

I decided it was time to find out more about my new friends. Their story touched my heart. Here we had two men in their seventies who had maintained a friendship since they were schoolboys. One grew up in Germany and the other in France. And how their friendship grew? They were pen-pals!

It was explained to me that this was an initiative instigated between schools after World War 2 with the intention of establishing good relations between future generations of the two countries. What a genius idea! As young boys they had shared their stories with each other, letter by letter, each building a sense of what life was like for the other. I imagined how it must have been so exciting receiving those letters and how their imaginations must have been set alight.

 

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Budapest – Wild Star Landing

 

There was thoughtfulness between them as they recounted their story in turns. They both had families of their own now, all grown up and there were grandchildren too. Throughout all the other events of life they had maintained this special bond.

In later years, they decided that every year they would meet in a European city and spend a few days together, which is how I found myself sitting next to them on this very night. Such a story warranted an additional salute. We continued our conversations while enjoying a nightcap of red wine.

Car Budapest

Budapest – Wild Star Landing

They wanted to know about my friends who were to be married and my plans for getting to Slovakia. I thanked them for sharing their story which was so inspiring.

People seldom write letters anymore. My mother writes them to her friends in sympathy when they have lost someone close. I recalled how, as back-packers in Australia in the 90’s, fellow travellers sometimes sent each other letters to say ‘I made it home’ or ‘it was lovely to meet you’, even if the meeting was just for one day. This was before things like email and mobile phones were all the rage. I still have a stash of those letters saved, promising myself I’ll read them when I’m 80 or if I ever get incapacitated.

It was time to say goodnight. We paid our bills and walked together to the train station. We embraced, kissing each other from side to side, then waved goodbye.

And that was my first night in Budapest.

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Budapest – Wild Star Landing

This article is dedicated to a group of twitter pals of mine who instigated a chat around the topic of letter writing. I remembered this story and a few of our group made me promise to share it once I added the story to my blog. I hope you enjoyed the tale.

Do leave a comment to let me know if you still write letters or have some stashed away too. Or maybe you had a special trip to Budapest too?

© Caroline Cunningham

Inca Trail – To Do Or Not To Do? – Journey In Peru

Deciding to travel to Peru from Ireland or Europe can be a big deal especially as the price of the flight is often quite staggering and especially so during peak season. The lure of Machu Picchu, now a World Wonder and famous UNESCO heritage site of the lost Inca civilisation, captures the imagination to the extent that travellers often sign up for the Inca Trail that leads there without ever having done this type of thing before.

There are some important factors to consider before signing up to undertake some days of trekking in Peru. Firstly, I will outline, I have been to Peru twice and have even lived quite close to the Inca Trail but have not done the hike itself. I had my own reasons for this.

Two important factors to consider are, your fitness level and your adjustment to being at higher altitude than usual.

If you excersise a lot, have good stamina, are used to hiking, especially for long durations then possibly you will be more equipped for spending a couple of days of hiking the Inca Trail. If you have not experienced the thrill of hiking in hills and mountains why not join a group in your local area, who are skilled in guiding you and see if you enjoy the experience. Your expensive holiday should definitely be one that you fully enjoy.

If you have already lived in high altitude environments then you will know your bodies adjustment and reaction to this. If you have not experienced being at high altitude it is very important to educate yourself on the symptoms and effects that can occur. You really don’t know until you go, how this will effect you. It has no bearing on age or fitness level.

Machu Picchu (2430m asl) is actually at a much lower altitude level than cities such as Cuzco and Puno for example. It is best to acclimatise slowly by spending a few days in high altitude before attempting hiking treks that take you further away from access to medical care.

Always heed the signs of altitude sickness and report to your guide if travelling in a group. Guides should be trained in health and safety. Tour companies usually have these saftey guidelines well out-lined for their clients.

Peru is an amazing country with so much to offer. Machu Picchu may be its crowning glory for tourists but there is so much more to discover such as the Amazon area, Lake Titicaca and its floating reed islands and Uros civilisation, Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, Cuzco City once the capital of the Incas and Arequipa’s volcanoes and architecture.

Floating Reed Islands and Uros People on Lake Titicaca

Floating Reed Islands and Uros People on Lake Titicaca

Many people travel solo and do the back-packer thing which can be less luxurious and less expensive, while many others take advantage of an organised tour which take you much more quickly around the vast circuit of treasures in a shorter space of time.

Arequipa Peru Volcano

Arequipa Peru Volcano

Trekking and hiking can be a lot of fun and brings a sense of achievement and opportunity for bonding with fellow trekkers. Whatever you decide, be safe, be well and choose the option that will make your travel experience the most enjoyable for you.

If you do consider trekking the Inca Trail have some consideration for the ones dedicated to carrying your back-pack. This is a service that is provided for travellers within tour groups. I have spoken with one young man who did this work for a while before he studied for the hospitality industry. His recollection of carrying the heavy back-packs of travellers was not the most joyous. So put yourself in the shoes of others and pack as lightly as possible.

Enjoy your trip. If you have enjoyed my blog and this post and found it particularly useful why not repay me by sharing the post or leaving a comment.

© Caroline Cunningham – Author of Wild Star Landing and Journey In Peru

 

For Your Eyes Only – Journey In Peru

My story ‘Journey in Peru’ is coming to an end. If you think the ending was a simple matter of getting a taxi to airport and flying straight to Ireland, well no, the journey’s end had even more adventure to be lived.

Journey In Peru Book Coming Soon

Journey In Peru Book Coming Soon

 

Journey In Peru - Available Soon

Journey In Peru – Available Soon

Soon I will be publishing my story in its entirety, available for purchase through on-line stores and my websites.

This will serve as a forerunner and introductory to my first novel once published, which details the adventures of fictional character Kitty Clinch in Peru, that damsel who lured me to Peru a second time.

Journey In Peru - Mini Novel

Journey In Peru – Mini Novel

Thank you once again for reading and especially those of you who showed appreciation through comments and ‘likes’. I have received the highest praise a writer could wish for, from readers who contacted me in person to say exactly how my story made them feel. This is the ultimate reward for a writer, and especially one who has arrived late in years to this wonderful art form of expression through words.

Machu Picchu - Journey In Peru

Machu Picchu – Journey In Peru

You can sign up for the final posts (installments) of ‘Journey In Peru’ by entering your email address in the space provided either to the right side of this page (if you are using PC) or at the very bottom of the post (if using mobile phone). The ‘follow’ (subscribe) form is also found on the Home page and the ‘About’ section. All set for the ending of ‘Journey In Peru’!

Journey In Peru - Available soon

Journey In Peru – Available soon

©Caroline Cunningham Author of Wild Star Landing (Blog)

 

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One Direction – Journey In Peru

I said goodbye to my companions who had travelled with me from Ollantaytambo. They were heading straight to Lima from Cuzco airport. We kept in touch by text until they stepped aboard their plane.

On my final night I treated myself to a room in what was considered to be a posh hotel in Cuzco. My companions told me it was the chain in which ‘One Direction’ (band) had stayed when touring Lima. The room I was shown however, had a dismal view of an internal concrete chamber. I enquired if there could be another option available. The staff were reassuring and asked if I could wait twenty minutes. I was astounded by the outcome after being escorted to my room. I had been given the Presidential Suite with a view of the entire Plaza De Armas of Cuzco!

Plaza De Armas Cuzco Peru

Plaza De Armas Cuzco Peru

I was so thrilled I took photos of the room and sent them to my friends saying ‘I think I’m ‘One Direction’!’ As I sat in amazement looking out the window at the stunning view of the Inca capital my brain grappled with the reward it was receiving.

Cuzco City Peru

Cuzco City Peru

I most definitely had been lured by some other-worldly force, to visit this country of Peru. I had written uncontrollably from the moment of my first arrival, the year previous to this, completing my first ever novel. I had subsequently stepped into the pages of my own book, having created a curiosity in terms of a sequel.

Fact and fiction had become inter-twined. I yearned, as much as Kitty Clinch or any other fictional character, for an adventure of my own. What makes a heroine? Is it the things she would do for love, real love? And does anyone on this planet know what that truly is? I can safely say there are a great many people, men as well as women, aching to know the answer to this question. And of the love that lies within, can it ever find you, if you feign defeat against the haunting conflict of your past?

Journey In Peru

Journey In Peru

The view from my presidential suite pulsed with a sensation of terrific reality. Was I proud of Kitty Clinch or was it that she was proud of me? For four months I had observed her whilst sitting at a tiny desk in my rented bedroom in Dublin, with a hot water bottle on my lap and the cold breeze nipping at my fingers as I typed beside a draughty window.

Cuzco Capital Of The Incas

Cuzco Capital Of The Incas

Incredibly, this character had inspired me to arrive at this grand position of observation. The whole city of Cuzco was spread out before my eyes. Christ stood, with outstretched arms, between the elevated Inca temples of the Sun and the Moon. The memories of my visits to both of these locations were cancelling each other out with the intensity of opposite emotions. I felt like an Inca Chief standing there and I’m proud to be the teller of the tale.

Christ in Cuzco

Christ in Cuzco

Journey In Peru

Journey In Peru

© Caroline Cunningham Author of Wild Star Landing (Blog)

Dear Reader,

I am preparing to publish my blog as a mini-novel and introduction to my original novel inspired by my first Journey In Peru. I am really grateful to the readers who have taken time to ‘like’ my posts and especially those who have contacted me tell me how much they have enjoyed my writing. Your comments are very much appreciated. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of ‘Journey In Peru’ please stay tuned in the coming weeks and all will be revealed.

Kind regards,

Kitty Clinch (oops!) Caroline Cunningham