Trip to Peru exposes students to a new culture

Sophie Lampl, Contributing Writer

Over spring break, a group of juniors and seniors embarked on their journey to Peru.  The trip included 24 students and 4 chaperones, Mrs. Korba-Rapp, Mrs. Evelin Joseph, Jeanne Osias and Mr. Brian Rapp. Students first arrived in Lima, Peru’s capital city, where they met their tour guide, Gonzalo. Gonzalo showed showed them the beautiful seaside city of Lima, and after spending time on the coast for a day and a half, they headed toward their next destination: Cusco.

Those on the trip had to prepare for the altitude because Cusco is one of the highest cities in South America.  Before making their ascent, they stocked up on Gatorade packers, water and sunscreen. When they got to Cusco, they drove in their private coach bus through the mountains, farms and valleys. As they traveled, they were able to observe the locals farming and herding sheep, and they saw alpacas and llamas left and right. On the ride up, they were fortunate enough to spot a double rainbow shining above the mountain, and they learned that Peru, especially Cusco, is known for rainbows. In fact, Cusco’s flag is made up of rainbow stripes.

While driving through the countryside and looking at the beautiful scenery, students bonded over a sing along. They were able spend quality time with friends and get to know their teachers better.

“It was so cool to experience a different culture and place while also spending time with friends,” said senior Katherine Melkonian.

When they arrived at Cusco, they walked through the small village of Ollantaytambo. The next morning, the group took a scenic train ride to Machu Picchu. Everyone on the trip was excited to hike Machu Picchu since they had the opportunity to see one of the natural wonders of the world. The group was prepared with hiking boots and sunscreen, which were necessary for the hike. They continued their hike and were surprised to see another double rainbow shining over Machu Picchu.

“It’s so much steeper than you realize from photos,” said senior Allison Winter. “It’s on this ridge between two really tall mountains and then you’re surrounded by other really tall mountains. At the very bottom, you can see the river and we saw a double rainbow.”

The next day, the group traveled back to the center city of Cusco, where they walked more touring sights that we missed the first time. Gonzalo then planned a city scavenger hunt, in which the students stopped at a fountain at the Plaza de Armas and proceeded to look all over the city for clues.

“My favorite part of the trip was probably Machu Picchu, but I really enjoyed seeing all the various ruins,” said Winter. “In general, it was fascinating to learn about the culture of Peru and how it evolved after the Spanish colonization. It was really fascinating to see the change in architecture styles between areas with a lot of Inca influence versus more Spanish influence.”

The group got on the flight to return to New York on Sunday night. The Peru trip was a unique experience for students to learn about another culture.

“The Peru trip was the best trip I have ever been on,” said senior Anna Cohen. “Each day was so full of activities that it felt like we were there for more than ten days. I don’t know if I’ll get another amazing opportunity like this, and I was really grateful for the chance to visit different areas in another beautiful country.”