We spent our last two days in the city of Cusco, the capital of the Incan Empire! This city is at such a high elevation that it takes some time working up to the altitude. The city sits at 11,000 feet up! In the city, we spent time learning how the cocoa grown in the jungles of Peru is used to make chocolate that is shipped out of Peru! Everyone got to make their own tray of chocolates and flavor them with mix-ins such as oreo, coffee, sea salt, marshmallows, cinnamon, chili, cloves, and nuts!
We had traditional Peruvian meals while in the city, and enjoyed shopping in the local markets for Alpaca sweaters, jewelry, hats, bags, and other goods while enjoyed freshly squeezed juice smoothies while we wandered up and down the aisles. On top of shopping, we also took time to go to the highest point in Cusco city. At this point, there is a gigantic statue of Jesus that displays the influence that the Spanish conquerors have had on the city by forcing the Catholic religion on the original culture of the area. Because it is the highest point of the city, the view was amazing!
For our closing activity in Peru, we did what is called "Rustic Ties". As a group, we stood in a circle and went around discussing what we used to think and how our experience in Peru had changed our perceptions of things! It was amazing to see how much had changed for so many of us! Lastly, we each were given a locally made bracelet that was made with Alpaca yarn. As we went around the circle, we shared our favorite experience with the person who's wrist we tied the bracelet on. Although the trip was coming to a close, we all became so much closer with each other after all of our shared experiences!