By the time you read this, we will all be home, safe and sound, but our last few days in Peru truly were great days.
Tuesday saw us on a luxury bus on the way from Cuzco to Puno. It was an eight hour drive, interspersed by various stops (including one of Mr. Crowder’s favorites - the highest point in Peru- he was giddy).
Everyone did really well, despite being cooped up for the better part of the day. In all honesty, it was a much needed rest day for most of us. We arrived at Puno, checked into the hotel, and enjoyed a nice dinner with llamas right outside the window.
On Wednesday we woke up and immediately got on our way to traverse Lake Titicaca. We took a boat ride to one of the Uros Islands where we were welcomed by the natives who build and maintain their own islands using, and live without any of our modern conveniences. They were delighted to have us visit, to show us their homes, and give us a glimpse into their lives. The island we visited was home to about 20 people. The men were out fishing, and the women, including the leader of the island, presented us with a demonstration of what life on their island is like. They literally brought us into their homes. We were told very clearly that they would not accept any money for pictures or for their presentation, but only if we bought some of their handmade crafts.
After our visit with people of Uros, we continued on our way across the lake. Our next stop was the island of Taquile. During our hike, we got the most beautiful view of Lake Titicaca. After a lunch consisting of quinoa fried bread, quinoa soup, and locally sourced trout, we learned about the native people and their local traditions. They demonstrated how the women of the island weave what amounts to engagement belts that tell the stories of the people on the island using pictures, and the men of the island knit hats for themselves and their families. In order to determine whether or not a man is marriage material, women will examine how tightly knitted the man's hat is. Apparently, verbal expressions of love mean very little to their culture, it's all about the hat.
Thursday, our last day in Peru, after one last stop to view an archeological site of Inca tombs, we hopped on a plane back to Lima. Augusto, our fantastic guide, took us on a short walking tour to give us a glimpse of city life. Lima was alive an bustling even more than usual in honor of Maundy Thursday. After one last, amazing dinner in Lima, we finished our time in Peru at Lima’s international airport.
Our time in Peru was packed full of culture and history. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Mr. Klenz, Mr. Crowder, and myself would like to say a huge thank you to the students who made the trip worth it with their enthusiasm, their parents who trusted us with their kids for over a week, ACIS for taking care of all our accommodations, and Augusto Salazar, our fantastic tour guide.
Have a blessed Easter weekend!