34 year old Christelle Bittner, was born in the north of France, in Lille city. She arrived to Peru for the first time as a traveler/ backpacker in March 2009. In her hometown she wrote for Cosmopolitan magazine until she decided to travel across Latin America and publish her beautiful pictures and journey chronicles on her website: Enamórate.
Nowadays, the French journalist can’t stop writing about Peru for her country’s press. She guides television teams and publishes in the Peruvian Press. At first, she lived in the central jungle. Then, she traveled to many different Peruvian destinations and fell in love with Lima, the Peruvian capital, where she has been living since 2013.
Lately she has been developing a detailed, touristic guidebook, written in French: “Peru, to travel in a different way, to meet nature and its people,” for the Viatao editorial, which specializes in guidebooks emphasizing sustainable, ecologic and communal tourism. You can learn more about Christelle’s latest work on her Facebook page.
Christelle is our guest traveler, our independent blogger, who shares secrets, adventures and hunches. With Christelle you can always count on new encounters. As she says: “With Star Peru, you get onto a plane, close your eyes and reach a different world every time”.
Christelle in 11 questions
1. What were your thoughts about Peru, before you came?
The usual: Machu Picchu, the Incas and the mountains. I think that when I was traveling down La Marina Avenue in taxi, from the airport, seeing all the casinos and the lights, I realized that it was going to be very different from what I had imagined.
2. Why did you decide to stay in Peru?
Because the landscape, culture, gastronomy, music and dance change in almost every corner. And, for a journalist, I have so many stories to tell, and I still haven’t finished.
3. What book would you carry with you through a Journey?
I enjoy Rafo Leon’s travel chronicles, his guidebooks and the way he uses sarcasm. He could be French! Aside from that, the book that I always carry with me is my travel journal. I always have a notebook with me; I think I must have written about 50 pages by now.
4. Coast, country or jungle? ¿Why?
The jungle. By far, I always identify the Amazon with Brasil and it came to me by surprise to find the Peruvian jungle. The people of the jungle have a lovely accent, the landscapes are wonderful and the heat surrounds you as soon as you get off the plane.
5. Which Peruvian town have you enjoyed the most and which one would you always return to visit?
That’s a hard question! Without putting too much thought into it, Leymebamba, in the Amazon. It is a little town that has marvelous Spatuletail Hummingbird in Its gardens. The Lagoon of the Condors, above the thick, high jungle and an entire town proud of their home is breathtaking. The other place would be Betania, by the Tambo River, deep in the central jungle. It has natural pools, waterfalls and Morpheus butterflies. It is hard to access, but a wonderful ashaninka paradise.
6. What is the best song you listen to throughout a Journey?
Aside from the busses playing Huayno and Cumbia music, I am a fan of the Cumbia All Stars Group, the founders of Cumbia from the Amazon, featuring songs like “Elsa” and “Cariñito”. Pedro Suarez Vertiz is perfect to listen to in the car among friends.
7. Any good films?
“Sigo Siendo,” by Javier Corcuera, is a beautiful documentary, showing Peruvian cultural diversity, through music.
8. Do you have any Peruvian places of interest or cities on your wish list to visit?
– The Cotahuasi Canyon, home of the deepest canyon in the world.
– I want to meet more, distant ethnic groups, such as the Shawis, the Matses and the Awajunes by the rivers of the northern jungle.
– The route that comes down through the Urubamba River and Mainique Pongo.
9. Where would you like to live when you become old?
I imagine myself reading my thousands of notebooks in a wooden rocking chair. But, where will I be? I have no idea, and I prefer it to be that way.
10. What do you not like to be asked when others know you are a foreigner?
Do you like ceviche? Are you with a Peruvian? Have you been to Machu Picchu? Although being a foreigner is a privilege, you are just that to anyone, on all levels. But, they will always make an effort for you.
11. Define Peru in one word.