Thursday, June 11, 2015

The day 3 whirlwind

Honestly, I'm not so sure where to even start! Today was incredible and again it was nothing short of jam packed education, fun, and full cultural immersion but that is what a history teacher would say....haha. If you asked the kids they would probably have list with words such as awesome, unbelievable, amazing, mind blowing, crazy, and on and on. There were things that happened today that were just complete luck and timing and the experiences the kids took away from them are better than I could have every thought.

We started off the day by flying into Cuzco around 10am and we hit the ground running. We stepped off the plane and right onto the bus to take an expertly guided tour of the city of Cuzco. Our guide Patti was nothing short of impressive and the student really enjoyed her personality. Cuzco served as the center of the mighty Incan empire and the kids got to jump right in with a tour of the first major Incan site "qorikancha''. Here we got a chance to get a background on the building process of the Incan temples and then more historical insight on the Incan empire. So, after visiting a place like this what do we do next? We took off on the bus and went to an Incan ruin site and here is where we had our first chance to climb Incan ruins. The views from this site were breath taking and a lot of ''selfies" we're taken. I would have to say that my personal favorite memory of this stop was watching 30 students chase around a herd of alpacas to take pictures!

Cuzco sits at just over 11,000ft for elevation. Luckily for us, our group did a great job handling the high altitude. Other than some light headaches and some shortness of breath from a few kids, we have been very fortunate to have everyone doing well and handling the highlands of Peru. Lots of water and slower paces have made the acclimation process very good. A good nights sleep with hopefully clear up the small headaches from those few in the morning. 

So, from these ruins we got to go and have another unique experience. We stopped at a hand made alpaca fibre shop where artisans make original alpaca wool clothing. The kids got a hands on tutorial to understand how to tell the difference between different types of alpaca and llama fibers. They also got a chance to do a little shopping as well. 

After the stop at the artisan shop, we went and ate lunch, the place we ate had amazing views of the city and the food was great. Yes, here a number of us actually ate alpaca and it was really good! We also had a surprise when a live Andean musical group came and played live music for us.

From here, the trip took the unexpected turn for the best! We had the chance to go down to the main city square and experience an event that has very special meaning to Peruvians all the way to Incan times. The Corpus Christi parade took place and we watched as statues were paraded around the
square with bands, costumes, and thousands of people. This is something that we never planned for and had we been a day earlier or a day later, we would have never seen it. So, you would think this was enough for a day but we still had one more stop.

After the parade, we went to the Cuzco cultural center to a live show depicting traditional Peruvian dancing and music. Here the group got see the different traditional dances and then half of the group got up on stage and danced too! With close to 300 people in the audience, our group put on quite a show.

After the show we headed to supper and then back to the hotel to get a much needed good nights rest.

Health wise there has been only a few minor things. Jessica slipped and scrapped her knees so that
was cleaned up and some band aides took care of it. Alyssa, Nolan, and Kassi went to bed with small headaches from the altitude. They have drank lots of water and just need to get some sleep. Breanna had a head cold come on so she has taken some cold medicine and if just getting as much rest as possible. Mckenzie is dealing with a sore throat but has been working through it. Everyone else is doing great and are just needing to get some sleep.

Tomorrow is going to be a BIG day. We will travel by train to Machu Piccu and spend the day walking and touring the ruins. So, with that, I will once again say goodnight and look forward to telling you about tomorrow's adventure.

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