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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

Orientating in the Sacred Valley

After months of preparation and anticipation and several loooong flights, our team for the Andes and Amazon Fall Semester 2018 finally arrived together in Cuzco on Sunday the 16th of September, although we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Livana who will complete the family next week.

After being introduced to our instructors and the basic survival techniques for South America, we loaded ourselves and our backpacks into a bus and headed for Urubamba, at 2870 metres above sea level (9420 ft), some 530m (1732ft) lower in altitude.

Our hosts, Yami and Miguel at Ccatan Ecolodge have taken us into their home and looked after all our needs including delicious meals.

Our days here have been full. After breakfast, we all check in to establish everyone’s state of health and well being before launching into the day’s activities. These have included activities to get to know each other better, how to live and travel safely throughout Peru and Bolivia, the philosophy of Dragons and an introduction to local cultures.

Our local instructor, Frank is also a Spanish teacher and has been helping us on our path to becoming fluent Spanish speakers.

On Wednesday, we went for our first hike. It was only for a few hours to see how we are adjusting to the altitude but we walked through a beautiful valley and saw some amazing Incan ruins.

These ruins included a perfectly carved ‘Chakana’, the 12 pointed Incan cross which is central to our Focus of Inquiry, ‘Encuentros con Pachamama’, (Encounters with Mother Earth).

Today, we went shopping for our first real trek, three days hiking from Urubamba to Lares. We will pass by snow capped peaks and alpine lakes and then relax in thermal springs.

Everyone is excited to be trekking through the incredible Andes and also looking forward to having internet access on Monday when we can call our very much missed loved ones back home.

Hasta pronto.

Tus Dragoncitos.