Side Trip to Peru by Delaney Cloyd

In early October the group set off for an 8 day trip to Peru, hitting all of the major destinations. We started the journey by flying to Cusco, where we had a couple of days to explore and adjust to the altitude. Adjusting to such a high altitude was much harder than I thought it would be, but absolutely worth it, and it only took one day. We then took a bus through the country, stopping to pet alpacas and learn how to decipher real alpaca goods from synthetic. We also stopped by a huge artisan market with unique and beautiful goods for sale where we all stopped to stock up on presents for friends and family.

Finally after stopping at a delicious buffet, we arrived at Ollantaytambo, an incredible town with pre-Incan ruins atop a small mountain. The town was filled with local vendors, adorable places to eat, and many sweet dogs. After spending only 1 night there, we boarded a train headed for Macchu Picchu. I wasn’t sure how anything could be more beautiful than the views from that train, but then we reached Aguas Calientes. This is the town at the bottom of Macchu Picchu with many hotels, hostels, stores and local restaurants, with the most beautiful views one could imagine.

The next morning, we went to Macchu Picchu. Although it has now been over a month since this trip, I still cannot begin to fathom how insane seeing Macchu Picchu in real life felt. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable, and after going on guided tours all week it felt like we had all the background we needed to truly understand this wonder of the world. I was in awe in a way that I cannot begin to describe but I surely have never felt so lucky in my life. After travelling back to Cusco, we flew to Lima for a few days. Lima was a very different pace, but equally fun and beautiful. We had a tour guide to explain many historical attractions to us, and even went to a Museum of Chocolate to try different chocolate goods. We had another great buffet and went to the Museum of Gold, where we saw many ancient Peruvian treasures of ceremonial gold. We even saw ancient mummies. Leaving Peru was extremely difficult, and I’m fairly sure I cried. I immediately set in my mind that I would like to go back in the next 5 years to show my family the unbelievable culture and beauty of the country.

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