A Travellerspoint blog

Student's weigh in on Peru!

sunny 20 °C

Greetings again. Wow, two posts in one day. On the train journey today we had some of the students write down some thoughts. I think some of them are missing the loved ones at home. Don't worry, most of them are buying you things from the many markets and street vendors. Here is what they have to say.....I will leave you to guess who the unsigned comments are from....

Haven't been sacrificed yet, although yesterday our tour guide told us he would if the weather was bad. Luckily it's beautiful out and I am really enjoying my time. Could probably live here forever, except that I look like a gringo....Stephanie Gray

I doubt that I am the only fool to ever haul around an excess of 40lbs of camera gear around as I trek through Peru, but as we approach Machu Picchu and the Inca trail I can't wait to put every ounce of it to good use.

Just about to start my trek to Machu Picchu, I couldnt be more excited!! This journey has been tons of fun and I have gotten to create memories with great people.

Today is a special day that I will remember forever - about to cross off one of my biggest bucket list items when I hike the Inca Trail and end up at Machu Picchu. Can only wish that my sister were here to celebrate her BDAY on this beautiful day. Here's to a great rest of the trip!

I'm feeling very excited/nervous for this trek! This trip has been great so far, looking forward to the next couple of days.

This place is unreal and I'm never coming home.

Inca Trail today!!! If I die my car goes to my brother. This trip has been exciting, adventure filled but also very humbling. Love Corrina

How surreal is all of this?! I wish I could stop time and be here longer. Soaking in every bit of this trip, it is truly amazing. Love and miss you mom and sisters and brother! Xoxo Sehame

The trip has been amazing I can't wait to do the trail in just a couple minutes. These are moments I'll never forget. Xoxo Rebecca

Having a great time so far but miss everyone at home , love you all a lot ! Xoxo Alyssa

This is the trip of a lifetime! Survived a fall down some stairs but still alive and well so far. I miss my mom, dad, sister and baby kitties though!! <3 Sarah

This trip has been nothing I could have ever imagined since we arrived to Peru. Being able to experience the sights and sounds. Sara

Holy cannoli! Inca trail? Yes please - Ray

This is so fantastic and everything is beautiful. Although tons of people have had large spider encouters I've managed to stay safe And mostly unpanicked! Although quite sunburnt now! I miss everyone at home and my puppy!! -Alexa

Llamas make me so happy! This has been a knitter's dream. - Laura Kai

PeruRail is best rail in all of Peru! Been a blast so far! Can't wait for Cienciano match! Been an amazing trip! Inca Kola and Cusquena keeps you going! Hi Dad & Nana and any friends following along. Matthew

Unreal trip!!! Sun burn hello! Chad

The trip has been a whirlwind so far! Don't want to leave at all, - Kaleigh

Having a blast in Peru. So glad I've been given this chance to be here. Llamas. - Steph C

Best trip I have ever been on!!!! LLAMAS!!!!!!! -Nerima

We have been having a great time in this incredible country. The Pisco sours are also great. Carla

Cerveza is good for you!!! Classy

Amazing people, amazing way to spend my birthday ! Love Peru <3 Niel is awesome -Megan Burry

Breathtaking scenery, amazing people, and memories for a life time, oh and great drinks :) -Katrina Wood

Having the absolutely best time in Peru with the best people! Definitely don't want to leave! now time for a cerveza ;) - Katelyn Frehlich

Having the best time in Peru. The people are amazing and so frienfriends il is the best! - Laura Rintoul

Had some scotch at 8 am on the train, I love Peru!!!!! Especially all the colours -Alison Tippett

Posted by jonaway 11:28 Archived in Peru Comments (3)

Catching Up

sunny 22 °C

IMG_9664.jpg
I need to catch up some of the details of the trip. We did visit Planeterra Children of the Sun school in Cusco a coupole of days ago. The money that our club Global Passport raised went to buy cups, bowls, two shovels, a pick axe (for digging up the garden) and clippers. The soccer ball and the Canadian tattoos were a big hit.

This has been such a very busy trip that it has been very hard to post more to the blog. For that I apologize. Most of the group is now is Aguas Calientes with 15 doing the Inca Trail hike today. I can tell you that the hikers were extremely excited to disembark the train and get started on this once in a lifetime hike.

Our 12 hour day yesterday started with a stop at the GAdventures Planeterra Women´s Weaving Project and School. This project allows women to stay in their community (especially the young girls). They sell everything they make so it becomes a sustainable initiative. We did our part with lots of purchases of colorful scarves, hats and mitts. Then, for some, it was off to the school to drop off school supplies. As you might expect, the children of Peru are adorable. I believe I heard at least one student who wanted to adopt one of them!
IMG_9755.jpg

We sang them Eensy Wensy Spider, they sang to us in Quecta (sp?) and Spanish. It melted our hearts when the teacher had them thank us in English!
IMG_9767.jpg

We also fit in to visits to the Pisac Ruins and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. The Incas were a most resourceful group of people, planting crops in tiers with each tier having a crop that grows at that specific temperature.

This morning we were up early (a theme on this trip) and boarded our train and are now in Aguas Calientes awaiting the arrival of the hikers. The excitment is building for our early morning trip to Machu Picchu tomorrow. We are travelling with our SAIT mascot, Steve who has been photographed in many different adventures so far.
IMG_9878.jpg

If some of the details are sketchy we will blame it on the previous high altitudes we have experienced. It has affected everyone differently....for those of you reading about your loved ones, they are safe and sound. We are now down to an altitude close to Calgary so everyone is quite comfortable. Apologies for any spelling mistakes. Peruvian keyboards are a bit of a challenge.
IMG_9795.jpg

Next posts, WIFI willing will include some student comments and more about the excellent Peruvian food!

Posted by jonaway 10:55 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Cathedrals, vendors and altitude

sunny 22 °C

The first observation you make flying into Cuzco is the incredible altitude you are at when you are flying in to the area. Sure when we fly over the Rocky Mountains it is OVER the mountains. However when you fly into Cuzco you fly through the mountains. They are right out the window of the plane.

The first impression of Cuzco is that this tourist town has a rich history that we will learn about more in the coming days. The city of 400,000 people is growing rapidly and expanding up the sides of the mountains.

The first group to arrive was treated to a walking tour of the main city. There are lots of cobblestones and sights to see. It is a challenge not to trip and fall as you gaze at all the scenery that surrounds you. The food here is amazing. I think most of us are a bit surprised at how good it is and how generous the servings are. Breakfasts are simple but sufficient. Yesterday at a tiny little place called Jack's we had a variety of items, homemade pumpkin soup, fresh salads, milkshakes, grilled cheese sandwiches and so much more. It was yummy and so fresh! The Peruvians love their cheeses and their potatoes.
IMG_9570.jpg

Cuzco is known as the city of Cathedrals. In one square alone there are three cathedrals, a convent and the original university. We hope to explore more on our free day. In the square we began to experience the constant barrage of street vendors, everything from llama key chains, to jewelry to paintings. The students are practicing their bargaining skills and saying "No gracias". There have already been some purchases of alpaca or maybe alpaca sweaters, purses, painting and earrings. We prefer to think of it as distributing our wealth to our new friends in Peru.
IMG_9597.jpg

As some of you know our student club, Global Passport, raised 500.00 to be used to buy supplies for the Planeterra Children of the Sun project that we are visiting on Tuesday. Our goal in the afternoon was to visit Plastisco, a Peru version of Army and Navy. We had a grand time buying supplies however the process to checkout and pay was an arduous one. At least 8 people helped before we actually got the bags of goodies. It was an adventure, to say the least.

Now, about altitude sickness. Cuzco is situated at 3300 meters or 11,800 feet above sea level. The air is thin and affects everyone differently. Some of us are taking altitude sickness prescription and others are taking their chances. So far there has been nothing to severe, some headaches, some hangover like symptoms and some dizziness. For those of you wanting to check on your loved ones they are doing well!

We will leave you today with a picture of one of the local ladies and her alpaca, wandering the streets. Price for a photo 1 sol, about 50 cents.

IMG_9568.jpg

Posted by jonaway 06:41 Archived in Peru Tagged cuzco Comments (0)

Traffic everywhere

sunny 18 °C

The sun is shining in Lima today and we are leaving for Cusco. Our group has been split up for the flights and we were are the lucky ones to experience Lima traffic. It is hard to describe this as rush hour traffic as it was 6:30 AM but things start early here. The general observation is that the traffic lines on the road are just a random suggestion as where you should be. No-one pays attention to the lanes. In order to drive here you must have a certain aggressiveness in order to get to your destination. Meek drivers would be advised to get a taxi or stay at home. The traffic circle that is outside the airport could best be described as a symphony of vehicles, trucks, taxis and busses all moving in harmony. How we got from the inside circle to cut across all those lanes to make our exit is a testament to our fabulous bus driver.

The other observation relates tote use of the car horn. The horn can be used to signal someone wants you to hurry up, get out of the way, that the other driver is an idiot AND that the taxi driver want a fare....Confusing, yes!

Posted by jonaway 06:36 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Hola Lima!

overcast 18 °C

So on to our first day in Lima. Yesterday was our travel day and we certainly go our money's worth out of the day. There were some blurry eyed students for the 4:30 AM check and also some blurry eyed instructors! We also got a chance to tour the entire Dallas Ft. Worth Airrport during our 6 hour layover. And then on to the plane for another 7 hour flight. Upon arrival in Lima we were greeted by our two CEOs (chief experience officer) for GAdventures. Jose and Neil will be guiding us around for the next 9 days. And if the day wasn't long enough we then had to get all 41 of us through the 2:00 AM (yes, 2:00 AM) traffic jam to our hotel in MiraFores.. By 3:00AM everyone was headed for a short night's sleep. It is hard to believe that there is that much traffic in Lima that late at night (or early in the morning).

This morning we headed out for a walking tour around Miraflores. The bells were ringing out at the beautifully ornate church across the street from our hotel. In the park across from City Hall a very large group of people were participating in a dance areobic lesson. We also say a large bike fundraising winding through the streets. then it was off for our first view of Lima's Pacific Ocean. The park is reminiscent of the parks of Barcelona.
After a pre trip meeting the group headed out for a culinary afternoon. First stop was the fish market where we were educated about the fresh fish available in the area. The smells reminded some of their home towns. It reminded me of a VERY rustic version of Fisherman's Wharf in San Franciso. It still smelled the same though!

Lovers Park

Lovers Park


From there we headed to the oceanside restaurant for our experiential learning activity. First up, ceviche which is raw fresh fish marinated in lime juice (limon), garlic, ginger, hot peppers, milk and fish stock. The lime marinates and essentially cooks the fish. This was nicely plated with onions, sweet potatoes and two types of corn (one tastes like a less salty version of our Corn Nuts). More about the potatoes later in the week.

It was then on to our Pisco Sour lesson. Pisco is a wine brandy that is native to Peru. There are companies making Pisco in Chile however the Peruvians claim that their worst Pisco is better than the Chilean best version. The Chileans may dispute this. One part Pisco mixed with simple syrup, lime juice and an egg white. This is then mixed in a martini shaker and served with a slice of lime. There were mixed reviews on the Pisco Sours....perhaps we will have to try another one at dinner tonight to see if we really like them!
IMG_9528.jpg

We are off to a dinner tonight which is located beside an archeological site. It should be interesting. For those of you who are following loved ones, everyone is doing well so far! More later....

Posted by jonaway 15:45 Archived in Peru Comments (3)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 12) « Page 1 [2] 3 »