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Ciao Peru by Aela Morris

I’m spending my last hour in Peru eating an ice cream and working on this blog post. So there are worse ways I could be spending my time.

But let’s back up. This being the last week, it was time for us to embark on the Salkantay trek. We left our hostel at 5 am and bused 3 hours to the starting point.

The first day was fairly straight forward walk to the first campsite, as well as a side trip to Lake Humantay. The second day, on the other hand, was much tougher. We hiked almost all day, 7 hours in total, and most of it was uphill. Oh, and it was freezing cold because we were passing through the Salkantay mountain range, which has these huge glaciers.

At the end of the trek on day three, we arrived in Aguas Calientes, and immediately collapsed in a heap. That night, we headed to the hot springs, which, to be honest, were not that hot… and then it was straight to bed because we would have to get up at 4 the next morning in order to get on the bus up to Machu Picchu!

I don’t really know how describe Machu Picchu. It looks exactly how you’re used to seeing it in pictures; impossibly green and sprawling. Except that when you are actually there, it’s not just a picture, you can walk around in it. You can reach out and touch the walls. It’s weirdly surreal. After our guided tour of the ruins, we hiked up to the Sun Gate. The gate itself is not that interesting, just a collection of rocks stacked up on each other. The view of Machu Picchu is what makes it worth it, it was probably one of the most incredible vistas I’ve ever seen.

So that brings us to the end of the trip. We came back to Cusco and had the day off; I checked out the Monasterio Santo Domingo, which is a Catholic church and monastery built on top of an Inca temple. Then, we had out farewell dinner with Arlich. The next morning, everyone said goodbye and left for our respective flights.

I’m glad to be going home. I miss my family, my bed, and food that isn’t carbs. But I’m also very sad to be leaving such an amazing country. Going into this trip, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. And while I don’t think that I’ve had some dramatic personality change or grand spiritual awakening, I am definitely much happier for having had this experience. I’ve seen and done things that most people my age don’t have a chance to. I’ve learned a lot about native Peruvian communities and the tourism industry. And I’ve met a bunch of incredible people, both the people we met on the projects, and the goofballs I had the pleasure of traveling with for past 10 weeks. You guys are pretty cool.

Well, that’s all for me. Ciao!

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