Location: Cuzco

What a wonderful day to be alive and well in Peru! From the immersive scavenger hunt in the markets of San Pedro to the high Incan ruins if Saksaywaman (pronounced exactly as spelled), today has been an adventurous, action-packed day full of giggles, screams, of course, broken Spanish. Lovely people, great food, and something interesting around every corner; what more could a teen ask for?

7:25 AM could be the best and worst part of the day. Although I know that the following day will be amazing in every aspect, pulling myself out of bed to take a cold shower and a brisk walk to the terrace for breakfast is, well, less than thrilling, but the smiles are waiting, and the gorgeous views of Cusco at sunrise is all worth it! Once breakfast was finished, and all the water bottles were filled, we walked down to the town center, where Dan (our mountaineer-esque group leader) finally told us the highly anticipated morning surprise; a scavenger hunt. This scavenger hunt required more than finding silly objects, it required bargaining in broken Spanish, serenading local street vendors with happy birthday and, of course, taking photos of traditional Peruvian toilets (which are very small). Afterward, we all went to an Italian restaurant for lunch and headed back to Resbalosa for some R&R.

After we recuperated from our morning adventure, we headed out for yet another wonderful experience. We walked up the stairs of death (the narrow and winding stairs that lead to our bus stop) and headed to Saksaywaman. Our voyage was short, and once we arrived, we sat down in the mind-boggling ruins. When I say mind-boggling, it is no understatement. Rocks the size of minivans moved over 8 KM to the top a flipping mountain. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! They didn’t even have wheels and were able to move rocks that were thousands of tons and build beautiful landscapes. Maybe aliens are real. Anyways, after posing for photos and sliding down rock slides, we rode horses. This is where most of the screams came from. Imagine, 19 horses trotting straight up a mountain, running into each other and, in one case, biting other horses. This biting horse brought out quite a lot of laughter due to the complete absurdity of the situation. As I write this blog, Noah (the rider of the horse and my current roommate) said: “That’s my girl” in response to my confrontation over his horse. This is what the trip is about. Taking risks, having fun and best of all, making friends.

The bus picked us up at the top of the mountain and took us to another Incan ruin, at an even higher elevation. No explanation is needed to express the awe that my peers and I felt. I’m like 90% sure that aliens are real. On the way down back down the mountain, our group jammed out to a compilation of Beyonce’s greatest hits. Jamming down the mountain left our stomachs growling, and in need of meat, a need that only El Mason (a restaurant famous for their meat such as cuy, or grilled guinea pig). What a wonderful thing to wrap up such an interesting day!

Adventure around every corner and friendly people with an upbeat attitude surrounding me on every side. I know that this will be a great trip.