by Josh Krauss
Welcome to Part One of Student Directed Travel. I’m your Uncle Josh, and I will be your spiritual guide for today’s blog. Our story begins after leaving Patacancha, when we went back through the windy road to ollantaytambo, where we would grab our bags and munch on alfajores, which is ranking up as the group’s favorite treat. After the two hour bus drive, we reached our destination of Cusco. Once there, we set our bags in our hostel and went out to eat dinner in groups of four. Chris had found the Golden Gate (no, not McDonalds); a gluten-free bakery featuring a wide variety of delicious meals for out gluten-less friends to enjoy. We went to bed early, for the next day we would arise from our bed at 3 am to begin the drive towards Rainbow Mountain.
A three hour drive and a light breakfast later. we were at the base of the mountain. Curious as to what the view would be at the peak, we began our ascent up the land mass, seeing hundreds of alpacas and llamas roaming around the mountainside. When we reached the top, we were astounded by the extravagant view of not only the multicolor sediment layers surrounding us, but also lovely white glaciers amongst the other mountains. We then had a little snack break before returning to the base of the mountain, Matt and Cole taking the horses for a spin along the way. After our hike back we rewarded ourselves with some refreshing pineapple juice, and ate a lovely lunch alongside some new friends we made while hiking. Some of us even bought a little dessert as an extra treat for the ride home. We made it back to the hostel and enjoyed our day through various activities such as core workouts, journaling and for me, a nap. Later that night we had ourselves a movie night, enjoying films like Zoolander 2 and Catch Me If You Can.
The next day our team began to assemble for the next destination, Lares, all while I got to go purchase some spicy chocolate for the group to enjoy. With the help of Chris and Dana, The group got to Lares smoothly. There we would relax once more, enjoying the natural hot springs with its many beneficial properties. But hey, I seem to be missing something important here. Hmm…oh right, how could I forget about Thanksgiving Day!!! Coming in with style, we all sat down together in a local restaurant and said a grace, led by Christian. We then ate a lovely meal filled with fries, rice and a huge portion of chicken (on that note Dana’s chicken was replaced with some lovely sauteed vegetables; you don’t know how badly I wanted to grab a bite off her plate). After our dinner, Claire began a wonderful gratefulness activity in which we each recieved a paper and then shared what we were thankful for based off of our assigned topic. Overall we have become more tranquil individuals, both physically and mentally. I will now pass the baton, the torch, the microphone, or in this case the blogging position to Dana, who will guide you through the second part of SDT “student directed travel”. Hope you all enjoyed!