Location: Cuzco

Today was the first full day for our joint expedition of Footsteps of the Inca and Sacred Valley Service! Our final teammates arrived early this morning in Lima, where we met them at the airport to continue our journey up into the Andes. The landscape change outside our plane’s windows was breathtaking as coastal surf gave way to jagged, sparsely populated Andean foothills, in turn giving way to snow-capped peaks and the sprawl of the ancient capital of the Inca, Cuzco (then known as Qosqo). On our way from the airport, our driver teased our upcoming trip by taking a route past the ruins of Saxsaywaman, which we’ll visit in depth tomorrow. An afternoon of lunch and full orientation led us into an evening of brief exploration of the Plaza de Armas, where the first souvenirs of the trip were purchased (though the purchase of sweaters could have been pragmatic, as most of the group is coming from hot summer temperatures and now we’re back to winter!). We finished our day with large bowls of warm soup and a photo op in front of a festive fountain in a smaller plaza, near our hostel.