Location: Urubamba

With our Peru trip quickly coming to a close, both groups were reunited for the first day trip together since four days ago! Everyone was extremely energized by the friends we had missed for what seemed like forever. Our plan for the day was just a fun tour around Urubamba, a small town with a lot to offer. Our trusty tour guide, William, along with his adorable kid named Joaquin took us on a fun day tour that involved lots of snacks and tasters! The first stop was at a quaint house where we were introduced to a family who made the fermented corn drink chicha morada daily and sold them in town. The happy lady showed us the process of harvesting the correct type of corn, drying it, then grinding it into a fine powder, which was then boiled at high temperatures for a period. With large jugs of traditional and fruity flavored chicha morada at the ready, she first poured two large glasses of each kind for mother earth, a tradition that they followed even for a tour group of teenage kids. She then proceeded to grab small glasses for all of us, and we then got to try the slightly sour and fizzy drinks. Although a couple of us pursed our lips as we downed the surprisingly interesting tasting drinks, we soon started to ask for seconds. The flavored strawberry drink was received much better, and multiple cups were filled more than once. Onto the next small tour, we stopped by a small traditional pottery workshop where we were shown how the workers there created beautiful works of art with clay and then painted with multiple colorful patterns. The tour was ushered into a rather large room with many paints and plaques laid out for us. We then got to work to start carving the circular clay disks and filling in our designs with all of the colorful paints offered to us. As everyone finished at their own pace, some went outside to enjoy the sunny weather and others went to the gallery to admire the many works that these hard workers had created. William led the group to the next location, a natural chocolate factory. We helped the friendly woman peel cacao seeds as she passed out delicious dark chocolate samples. Everyone rushed to buy small bags of traditional chocolate for the long walk to the restaurant. The restaurant, which was located outside in the midst of a beautiful garden, offered delicious chicken stir-fry and rice! – Something that reminded me of my moms cooking. After a meal full of laughter with all of our friends, we walked around the garden talking about the past events that we missed out on. We finished the day with a honey farm where we got the opportunity to hold the hives, hold some bees in the palms of our hands and even try some of the fresh honey. I managed to overcome my fears and hold the hive, but couldn’t bring myself to hold the bees themselves. A couple of other students ran away screaming, and two even got stung but looking back now, it was quite funny to see a bunch of our friends sprint away from honey bees at full speed. The night ended with a sleepy bus ride home and our mouths sweet from all the snacks we accumulated over the day.