Student Directed Travel (By Willy and Will)

After our beautiful stay in the small quechua community of Patacancha we started out our student directed travel in Lares with a relaxing day at the hot springs. Willy, Emi, Douglas, Rebecca, Sam and Harvey decided to head up early to the hot springs to get a full day at the “Spa” to be joined later that day by the rest of the group. Our hostess at the hostel thoughtfully packed us potatoes for lunch which we happily ate with Tari (A new favorite sauce). Later that night we found a nice dinner place for only 5 soles! Our time in Lares was short but well spent. The next morning, after a breakfast of potatoes and eggs, We packed up to head to our next location, Pisaq. The bus ride was around 2 hours and very beautiful. We arrived in Pisaq, got settled in our hostel and set out to explore the town. Right off the bat Hollyn, Kaydee and Maddie found the artisanal market with many neat handi-crafts and clothing. Since our hostel had a kitchen we broke into three groups and decided to find a grocery store. Molly, Jack and Harvey came back and set to work in the kitchen. One night Emi, Willy and Will decided to go all out and make empanadas, rice and steak (Well, basically just Emi but whose keeping track). Also during our time in Pisaq our group headed up to the various ruins surrounding the Sacred Valley where Paxton and Sam led the way. After three nights in our cozy hostel we took a bus with an old friend of Rebeccas up to the small lodge in the community of Quenqo. Quenqo was the most rural of our locations on this trip and came to about 400 meters above sea level. We only spent one night up at the lake so to start off our stay we looked at the womens textiles and went to heard around 600 llamas, sheep and alpacas. Mike set off to find places to capture photos as Willy and Will chased lambs (For sure a highlight of Peru). After this eventful afternoon we returned for dinner and a nice cup of tea. Our lodge didnt have electricity so we got our light from candles which repeatedly flickered out. The following morning after breakfast we went out to a Chakra which is a type of field to plant potatoes. Shortly from returning we did a ceremony with llamas which entailed painting and ear piercing and then headed down to the lake to fish. Right after we finished lunch we packed up our bags and said our farewells and began our drive to Cuzco. Upon arrival we settled into our rooms and went in search of dinner. The next morning we had a early wake up at 2:30 to head to the Rainbow Mountain. When we arrived at around 6:30 we were greeted with breakfast and coffee. Shortly after we started our trek up. Thankfully there was an option to ride horses which was very nice for some of us. With many people on their trusty steeds we started out after our companions who decided to brave the mountain on foot. After a strenuous climb up (even for those on horse back) we reached our destination. A beautiful mountain with multicolored stripes of different mineral deposits at 5,100 meteres above sea level. The highest that most of us have ever been. Now we are back cozy and warm ready to watch Gladiator and head out for a yoga retreat and more fun adventures.