Two museums, two monasteries, and ten thousand steps later and we are settling into our first night in Peru. To recap, here is the PERUSING PERU TOP 10 LIST (in no particular order):
- Augusto! Easily, the best part of our trip so far, our Tour Manager met us at the airport, checked us into the hotel, and walked and talked us through two museums, and found us an authentic restaurant for lunch. From helping students exchange money, to walking us to a pharmacy long after he should have been in bed, Augusto has been wonderful.
- The weather. While more humid than these desert folk are used to, it was neither terribly hot nor terribly cold, and there was no rain for our treks through the city.
- Pollo a la Brasa. After being promised Peru’s second national dish, the restaurant where we were supposed to eat lunch was unexpectedly closed, but Augusto took care of everything. It was important to us that we eat at as authentic a restaurant as possible, and he found a place last minute that could accommodate a group of 28. We all almost universally agreed that it was the best chicken we had ever tasted.
- Bone dust. The Monastery of San Francisco has beneath its floors an extensive tunnel system of catacombs. Augusto guided us through the catacombs, as we all looked in amazement and fascination at the remains.
- Ancient pottery. The two museums that we toured focused on Inca and pre-Inca civilizations. The remaining artifacts give us insights into the respective cultures, and nothing was more engaging than the many pieces of pottery in the forms of both humans and animals.
- The first university in South America. The other monastery, the Monastery of San Domingo, also served as the first recognized university in South America.
- Peruvian driving rules (or the lack thereof). It’s truly an adventure driving around Lima. Fortunately our bus driver, Jaime, is a master. Amazingly enough, we have yet to see an accident of any sort. Defensive driving is alive and well here in Peru.
- Libraries. The libraries of both monasteries are fantastic, but maybe that’s just me being sentimental about the smell of old books.
- Pre-Inca civilizations. Already, we have learned so much. Before we make our way along the Inca Trail to Cuzco, Aguas Calientes, and Machu Picchu; Augusto first made sure we understood the origins of the vast Inca empire. The Incas absorbed a great number of other peoples and civilizations, and took the best of their methods and technology.
- Tres leches cake. I feel like this needs very little explanation.
Thank you for your prayers during this time! Everyone is safe and sound. Onwards and upwards as we fly to Cuzco mañana (that’s tomorrow in Spanish).