After the hike we had the rest of the day to relax, shower, and hang out. A few of us met up in the main plaza and did some shopping and eating. We went to a café that had some American food and we ordered banana pancakes which were probably some of the best I have ever had. The day of relaxation was much-needed and was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, after a day out Amelia and I went back to the house to hear the baby was even more sick and the whole family was making the trip to Cusco. Amelia and I were very worried and felt really helpless throughout the whole situation. Eventually they came back to the house and told us the baby was doing better! The situation involving the baby was really scary and gave me a new appreciation for our easy access to medicine and hospitals.
On the 10th we had a huge feast with all of the families that included a typical Peruvian dish called “cuy” which is guinea pig. This dish is very special and typical in Peruvian culture even though in Western culture we see guinea pigs as pets.
The feast was delicious but super filling. After the feast we said our goodbyes and moved out of our host families’ houses. The goodbye was sad and I will forever have a second home in Peru. They did so much for Amelia and I, and I will forever be thankful for the never-ending hospitality.
The 11th was a day our whole group was yearning for. MACHU PICCHU!!! We had heard so many wonderful things about one of the seven wonders of the world and now was our chance to see it. We got up early to try to avoid the other tourists and boarded the train for a two-hour ride. When we arrived at the historical site the view was indescribable. The ruins were larger than anything we had seen before and they lived up to all the hype. Our group quickly dispersed and went to explore and take pictures on pictures. We eventually all gathered again and ate lunch together at the ruins. After lunch we all tried to have a little alone time for reflection and silence but were quickly disrupted by the other tourist trying to capture their picture perfect moment. The day was the hottest we had and we were all feeling it.
Eventually after a few hours at Machu Picchu we headed out and left to go back for the day. That night we did a candle lighting ceremony which consisted of going around and discussing our final thoughts of the trip and what we wanted to take back. The ceremony was beautiful and a great way to end our journey.
The next morning we were up early, ate a quick breakfast, and gathered all of our belongings. We were off to Cusco! We drove out of Ollantaytambo which was very bittersweet for the whole group. Most of our trip was spent in the town and I know that some of my fondest memories were made there. The drive to Cusco was two hours and we stopped two different times to see more ruins. One of the towns was called Pisac and the other was called Saqsaywaman (pronounced like “sexy women”). They were both cool but everyone agreed that we were “ruined out”, if that was even possible.
an Alpaca at Saqsaywaman
After the ruins we finished our drive to Cusco and arrived to a cute little bed and breakfast. I loved the way Cusco looked, a mix between European architecture and Southern American. We dropped off our stuff and went shopping and exploring around the town. The souvenir shopping was perfect, consisting of endless sweaters, jewelry, food, tapestries, purses, and everything else someone could want. We all bought away and tried our hardest to cram everything back into our suitcases. That night we had our final dinner together and got one of our last taste of delicious Peruvian food.
The next day we were off! We had a couple of hours to explore again and then headed to the airport. We checked our luggage and got our tickets, and said our final goodbyes to the World Leadership School leaders. A few of us shed some tears, and thanked them for putting up with us over the last couple of weeks.
our group at the airport
After almost 2 days of traveling, we arrived back to Westtown. The trip was an amazing experience full of adventure, memories, and new friendships. I am so thankful for my time in Peru and hope one day to return!
Thanks for reading my blog 🙂