By: Stephen Gallagher, `16 and Curtis Tauck, `17
Nestled in the mountains of Cuzco, Ollantaytambo is a fiesta. After 23 hours of travel, exhaustion began to overwhelm our group although it was hard to overcome the awe offered by the beauty of the country of Peru. We were not fazed by the turbulence of the plane, as the scenery of the isolated mountains and slopes below took our minds off of our worries and anxiety. As soon as we arrived in Cuzco the cultural differences were evident in the bustling streets. The innovative and artistic propaganda-inspired-graffiti brought color and splendor to the streets of Cuzco. The final stretch of our travels consisted of a quiet, but pensive bus ride.
Our village, Ollantaytambo, lay at the base between two towering mountains. Without anything to do but wait for dinner and drown out the noises of the celebrations around us, we passed time by playing sapo, a traditional Peruvian game consisting of throwing coins at a board to hit targets. The incredible views allowed us time to reflect how fortunate we were to be able to be here, and we soon prepared to enter the village and eat dinner after a long day. Given a lot of time to think to ourselves, Curtis and I both realized the contrasts between our home and where we are today. The people here being friendly strangers, and at home being loved family members. The smells of the streets like grilling meat and bus exhaust is far off from the clean and open airs of Connecticut. Stray dogs roam the sidewalks without any attention, however we treated them like pets and even named one ‘Doodle.’ Since we have arrived in Peru, the colliding culture has continued to overwhelm us, and we hope to continue this experience throughout our trip.