Thursday, July 23, 2009

This blog is written by Alexa Garant from Tecumseh, Ontario.

We awoke bright and early to prepare for our first group hike. By 7:30 am we began our exploration of the plentiful Incan ruins that surround the beautiful valley of Ollantaytambo. The tedious trek upwards led us to a surreal view of the town and valley while enabling us to get an up-close look at the ruins we saw from below. The group ventured through ancient Incan storage houses while absorbing the amazing view. After an eventful morning, we returned to the hostal for lunch and a comedic group activity acting out episodes of Inca history. Shortly after, we were joined by National Geographic Expert Peter Frost as well as a traditional Andean shaman and his family. The shaman blessed our group on our journey by presenting an offering, which contained an eclectic assortment of items such as herbs, llama fat, candy wafers, and cocoa leaves. Later that evening, Peter Frost presented the group with a brief history of the Inca and pre-Incan empires before dinner. We had a tasty meal at a local restaurant before heading back to the Hostal for a good night’s sleep.

Photos below are by Katie Lohman from Sedro-Woolley, Washington

Enjoying the view on our morning hike.

Exploring Inca agricultural storehouses perched high above the town of Ollantaytambo

A traditional Andean shaman adds items to the pago or offering for
(Earth Mother) while his wife watches in the background.

At the end of the ceremony the pago was burnt over a small fire

Students acting out Inca historical skits. Alexa Garant
commentates whileHannah Dunsirn acts as Atahualpa,
the victor in the pre-conquest Inca civil war.