text and photos by Kathryn Schmidt
The students are all safely at their service locations, except 1 who will leave this week. So, I have time to upload pictures and write! Our Sacred Valley trip was a real highlight for everybody. It certainly is a “mountaintop” experience for every Peru SST-er; for some Machu Picchu is part of the reason they sign up for this particular SST unit.
If you read a previous post called “Dig Deep” you will know that we were affected by a painful bout of food poisoning while on our trip. For 2 days, half the group got very sick (with every yucky symptom) and the other half of the group worked hard to take care of them. However, there were many days with a lot of amazing activities, where everybody was feeling just fine! Below you will find some pics of those fun times.
The Sacred Valley trip involves many stops. We start in Cusco and take a bit of time to adjust to the altitude. Cusco is 11,000 ft. above sea level; some of us experienced symptoms altitude sickness, such as chest/lung discomfort, difficulty breathing, dizzyness and headache. However, those symptoms did dissipate and we were able to have fun in Cusco. We then hiked other key regions in the area including: Tipon, Saqsaywaman, the terraces of Ollantaytambo, and of course Machu Picchu as well as an additional peak there called Waynapicchu. Students also got to know some locals and stayed with host families near Cusco for 2 nights. Additionally, Aguas Calientes (the gateway town for Machu Picchu) included a beautiful evening in the natural hot springs, surrounded by rocky cliffs and palm trees. What an experience.
It was a full, and incredibly memorable week.