Our adventure in Peru was undoubtedly fantastic! It was a week of waking up way too early, visiting every landmark possible, dealing with the change to high altitude pressures, and of course the amazing Peruvian food! It was a whirlwind of experiences visiting Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu within a week. We were constantly packing and unpacking as we moved throughout the country on multiple airplanes, automobiles, and trains. As the pioneer group we definitely dealt with more logistical problems that will be improved as this program goes on, but overall the trip was nothing less than amazing. Peru is not for the faint at heart!
Peru is where our two locations merged; we spent a week with both of our program directors and were able to provide input about our experience so far, share our expectations for Santiago and receive closure about ending our time Rio de Janeiro. Of course most of our conversations took place over the amazing Peruvian dinners – that absolutely took hours to eat, but were always delicious. Definitely be prepared to eat very much and very well! Also be prepared to be affected by changes in pressure due to high altitude; we all felt our symptoms quite differently, but it came in headaches, tiredness, and sensitive stomachs. Chewing on cocoa leaves and drinking cocoa tea only helped so much.
It’s very hard to capture the countless incredible moments we all spent together in only a week. We visited the Plaza de Armas in both Lima and Cusco and we visited countless Cathedrals and Museums learning about Peru’s history and struggle along the way. In local shops, the native women taught us how they spin alpaca hair and the processes they go through to make sweaters, hats, and other goods. Alpacas and Llamas are everywhere you go, especially in Cusco – you’ll find them casually on the streets. Not as prominent as stray dogs in the rest of South America, but definitely more than you’d imagine. We even had sheep hanging out in the gardens in one of our hotels!
Now of course the most breathtaking experiences in Peru were the visits to all the ancient ruins of the Incas. We visited Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, and of course Machu Picchu. We walked up in altitudes as high as 12,000 ft. above sea level and adjusted to the colder weather. Peru certainly presented us with some obstacles, but once we overcame them we were presented with incredible knowledge of the Incan religion, astronomy, and architecture, all of which were beautifully combined. You could see this most in Machu Picchu where the architecture exposed their interest in astronomy, which uncovered their religious beliefs. Peru truly was a beautiful experience to take in.
Twelve times the Sun cries gold
and soaks into Mother Earth.
She repays us in sweet drinks and comfortable furs.
Between the Mountains our rivers run,
can you hear their songs?
They are centuries long but never old.
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<p>My name is Angie, I'm a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I'm majoring in Sociology and minoring in Linguistics. I love learning about people and cultures around the world through music, art and literature.</p>