Location: Cuzco

Today was the first full day for GoBeyond Peru Sacred Valley Service 2019! Bill and Bella got in late last night, so the first time we all met was at early breakfast this morning at the hostel before rushing off to fly to Cuzco. Check out our first group photo at our second-breakfast spot in the airport! The landscape change outside our plane’s window 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. An afternoon of lunch, watching soccer (out of respect for our host country, we won’t mention their final score against Brazil), and full orientation led us into an evening of entertainment and celebrations in La Plaza de Armas, as the region celebrated the historical deeds of a local Saint. Musicians, dancers in Peruvian red and white, and performers of all kinds dazzled both the crowd and local dignitaries standing on stage, all of whom decked out in traditional garments and receiving each group with approval and applause. When we returned to our hostel (pictured third) after the crowds disbursed and hot bowls of soup were consumed, a brief power outage signaled to the wisest of us that it was time for bed, while some of our group undoubtedly continued to form the bonds of friendship and fellowship well into the night.