What began as a trip to meet her fiancé’s parents in Lima has turned into an extended stay in Cusco for this Russian tourist. Read how she’s made the most of the unexpected situation.
I love to travel and discover new places. I’m 25 years old, originally from Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Though I’ve been traveling for some time, what brought me to Peru last year was love. I met my Peruvian fiancé in Russia in 2018. We started to travel together in May of last year, but we decided to spend the European winter months in South America. After two years of traveling, my fiancé wanted to visit Peru and introduce me to his family. We arrived in Lima on December 4, 2019.
For two months we made Lima our home base as we continued to travel to various cities within the country. We went to Huancayo and hiked to Torre Torre (an incredible collection of rock formations). We also traveled to Huaraz and hiked to reach Laguna Wilcacocha for an amazing view of the city from above. I also swam in the Laguna Parón. (Next time, I would like to go there by foot, as the tour we did only allocated 2 hours at the lake).
We decided to go to Bolivia for a few days (since tourists can only stay in Peru for three months), then made our way to Cusco. It was then, in the Andean region of Peru, that the Peruvian government issued the state of emergency.
To stay at least a couple of weeks in Cusco was my dream. Cusco is a wonderful place, filled with so much history. In order to offset our expenses, we started to work for a hostel’s travel agency in exchange for room and board. We continue to do so during the quarantine.
Quarantined in Cusco
To tell you the truth, all the restrictive measures were not a shock. A friend of mine currently lives in Foshan, China, so I was aware that the situation was quite serious. We didn’t try to find a way to return home to Russia because our government closed the borders for foreigners until May 1.
All we can do is follow the recommendations of the government. I don’t leave the hostel without urgent need; I use a face mask to go to the supermarket or street market; I wash my hands with soap after touching anything. And, of course, I maintain a positive attitude rather than succumb to panic.
Usually we go to San Pedro market and the Orion supermarket close by. There is no problem with food in Cusco. It’s possible to buy all kinds of fruits and vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and whatever you want. More often then not I eat pasta with chicken or tuna, because it’s easy to cook.
During our time in Cusco, I’ve met a couple from Belarus and we are in touch all the time. Though we cannot meet in person, we chat on WhatsApp. I also communicate with people from Argentina, Chile and Great Britain at my hostel. We have a small international community supporting each other.
In general, people in Cusco are following the governmental recommendations and are taking the situation seriously. There are far fewer people in the streets. I’ve learned that only together we can fight any problem, especially when you just need to stay at home to save someone’s life.
All photos: Polina Koskina
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