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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

Impressions of our 5 day trek

When I sit down now and close my eyes I see the wild, beautiful andean landscape in front of me, feel the wind blowing through my hair and the sun warming me up while walking through one of the most individual, impressive landscapes I have ever been in , I still feel goosebumps forming on my skin (btw it’s Franca!).

On the trek a lot of us, as I have, have met their physical boundaries ,especially due to the altitude and health issues. By now we have arrived safely and happy back in Sorata waiting for a hot dinner and shower as well as we will plan our journey to El Alto in our one-week homestays.

But let me tell you something about the nights with Rebecca and Molly in our warm tent, which were lightened up by the Christmas lights Molly brought, making us all feel very at home during the cold, foggy mountain night on 4200 m as well as our daily routines. Every camp side was different from each other, partly I felt like we just landed on the moon due to the limited vision we had, but then I felt like I was on one of the most beautiful places while being at the “foot” of Illampu and watching some llamas eating at our campsite. What will stay in my mind will be the evenings the camp smelled like onions due to Jacksons group just cooking way to many of them and the raggy music vibrating in the background ,as well as our “lone” walks where I finally got time to focus on my surroundings and think about my future with the people I love.

You might ask yourself how we felt in those surroundings, on the one hand exhausted, cold, tired and questioning how we (or let me say I) should stay for five days in the cold. But suddenly mentally and literally the sun came out on our 3rd day, warmed us up and gave me just the strength to push myself, stay strong and enjoy the time with the wonderful people next to me. We laughed, ate, felt strong and weak at the same time, caught our breath again after hiking up those 4200 m and got scared when the mines exploded (we heard dynamite going off at a mine in the distance, but were not in danger). 

Right now we are all very excited for the cultural differences, language boundaries and love we will be feeling in the host families in El Alto. I for myself can’t wait to be part of a family again, although our time is limited to a week with them!

As you ,it’s us we miss you a lot, but at the same time we enjoy our time together and the places we’re in. Thank you for this opportunity.

-Franca 

P.S. : Ich freue mich unheimlich eure Stimme bald zu hören, gute Nacht! 

 

Some pictures will follow tomorrow !