Groton Peru 2012 Blog 1: June 19, 2012

A bus load of students and faculty members left a sunny Groton School Circle at 1:45pm on Sunday, and we made the 4 hour trip to NY in order to meet the rest of the Groton contingent prior to our night flight to Lima.

We had an uneventful flight, and most were able to get at least a modicum of sleep. We passed through customs in Lima without a hitch and made our connection to Cusco. In Cusco–the capital of the Incan Empire–we were greeted by Jason and Adela, both of whom work for World Leadership School, and we traveled by van from the Cusco Airport to the central square (Plaza de Los Armas) and then to the heights above Cusco to a sacred Incan site called Sacsaywaman. Students were able to see the first evidence of Incan craftsmanship and heard some about the world of the Inca.
Thereafter, we headed to Pisac–one of the most important sacred sites in all of Peru- and all enjoyed a great lunch at The Blue Lama. We traveled with full stomachs up to the ruins above Pisac and were able to see ancient ceremonial and burial grounds.
We finally made it to Ollantaytambo in the dark and checked in to the comfortable hostel. Some of us had dinner of Lomo Saltado (stir-fried beef and vegetables and rice), others stayed at the hotel. All retired early after a very, very full two days of travel.

We awakened this morning to bright sunshine and had a good breakfast at the hotel prior to heading to the Ollantaytambo ruins. Adolfo–one of our intrepid guides–talked with us about the legends associated with these extraordinary ruins, and students were able to see the remarkable stonework, the use of water, terracing, and sunlight in creating this sacred space.
This afternoon, we headed back to the hotel after lunch and then students met their host families and headed off.

We will spend the day at the worksite in Anco Pancha tomorrow, and we so look forward to having the Groton students meet the people of this nearby village.

As a parent, I am always amazed to hear reports of how well my own children behave in my absence. Suffice it to say, I can offer only platitudes about your children–every one of them has been absolutely and utterly wonderful: flexible, happy, open to new experiences. Sarah, Nishad, Nancy and I are so grateful you have shared your children with us. This trip is shaping up already to be a wonderful one, and we will make sure to keep all of the students safe and happy.

Sincerely,

Craig Gemmell

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