Location: Ollantaytambo

Today started with a bit of a letdown. We were supposed to head out to another local school and cook some more pancakes for whoever showed up. Unfortunately, when we arrived, no kids had shown up for the pancakes. The weather was mostly to blame for this complete lack of attendance. It was an ugly, cold and rainy morning. I wouldn’t want to trek to school in such weather either.

However, we were not discouraged, and we were determined to be of help to someone in some way. We had all that pancake batter left – and no kids to cook for – so we all went over to MySmallHelp’s house and formulated a plan. We decided that while half of the group shopped at the market/plaza, the other would stay at the house and cook pancakes and make snack cups with oranges, apples, bananas and a rolled up pancake with jam. After making these, we would go out and sell them for one sole. The groups switched off halfway through, and the same process occurred (with the snack cups that is). We ended up collecting enough money to buy 25 school books for children!!! It was such a great feeling being able to give in this way, especially considering the fact that we originally had nothing to do during the morning hour due to the weather. After finishing up all of that, we headed to lunch. The meal was pretty good in my opinion, but most people preferred not to eat the mystery meat medley as the main course.

After lunch, it was time to head to the Ollantaytambo ruins. As one entered the gate to the ruins, they look up to see terraces upon terraces, and large walls that protected the complex. Our guide, Santiago, knew everything there was to know about these ruins (as well as pretty much all Incan ruins), and he told us all about things like the holes for mummies, and the destructiveness of the Spaniards. Once at the top of the ruins, one can see all of Ollantaytambo and much of the Sacred Valley. The mountains seemed to stand guard for the ruins of the old Incan Empire and vise versa. It was truly a sight to remember.

The rest of the day from this point on was quite relaxed. Everyone had the chance to rest their muscles, and regain their strength. For dinner, we went to a restaurant called the Coffee Tree. Other than the fact that we waited a while for the food, it was a great place to eat. We were also able to watch Peru (on TV) win third place in soccer in “Copa America.” It was pretty exciting, and we all could tell that the natives were pumped up with excitement from the win.

At the end of the day, I think that everyone is excited and a little bit nervous for the start of the trek tomorrow, but I am sure that it will go 100 times better than everyone is expecting.