Acclimatising to Cusco

Written by Sam Rigg and Carrolline Kelly, 2016 Peru: Mind and Body

I think we can all admit that when our plane landed in Cusco we were excited, but that initial taxi ride up to the hostel had us re-evaluating our physical and mental strength. It wasn’t even worth counting the number of stairs once we reached 107. We already knew that Meg and Gordon had thrown us into the lion’s den, but little did we know that it was a blessing in disguise to prepare us for the adventures ahead.

Rechelle Abalos - Peru MB 3

Photos by Rechelle Abalos

Our group dynamic made it easier to adjust to Cusco because each person brought an important piece to the puzzle. Cleaning dishes soon became just as fun as sitting out on the patio and enjoying each other’s company. Beneath all of the laughter and the jokes was a deeper connection that allowed us to get to know each other as individuals. Our Art of Living course (yoga/meditation) brought on these conversations and encouraged us to step outside of our shells and experience the world around us. We heard each other’s life stories, our biggest fears, and our most desired superpower. Orientation was more than just getting to know Peru, it was getting to know the people we would soon consider lifelong friends.

We were excited yet sceptical about our Art of Living diet (especially those who craved meat 24/7), but who knew Cusco had so many amazing vegetarian restaurants to offer? From lentil burgers to pumpkin soup and even our own homemade creations, we realised we had underestimated the rich flavours of Peru.

Rechelle Abalos - Peru MB 2

Photos by Rechelle Abalos

Walking through the streets was never short of a culture shock. If you didn’t hear the chaos of the Plaza, you were at least sure to see a llama on a leash. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to wake up to the sound of a band playing practically right outside your hostel, or to go to bed with fireworks shooting above the city lights. It was always a party in Cusco! We were even lucky enough to (salsa) dance the night away in celebration of Meg’s birthday.

Our first week in Cusco was only a glimpse of what the next five weeks have in store for us. We’re not only ecstatic to explore this beautiful country, but to spend even more time with our new amigos. The inside jokes have only just begun… llama llama mic drop.