By Paulina Leskow, ’24
After a year of delay due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, a group of Hanover High School students finally got to take the trip of a lifetime: visiting the mysteries and wonders of Peru. Led by Spanish teachers Mrs. Gately and Mrs. Aborn, seven other students and I were able to experience the extraordinary Lima, the mountainous Cusco, and the mesmerizing Machu Picchu.
The trip began February 18th, with some unfortunate mishaps. The plane from Boston to Miami, which would connect us to a flight from Miami to Lima, broke down before taking off, so we were all forced to deplane until it was fixed. This delay, which was expected to last about two hours, lasted 11 hours! We used that time to walk around the airport and buy snacks and beverages. Mrs. Gately and Mrs. Aborn remained calm through it all, figuring out how to get a new flight to Lima once we eventually arrived in Miami.
Once we landed in Miami, we had dinner in the airport since there were four more hours until the new flight to Lima. When we made our way to the check in gate, we discovered another problem: the Boston airline messed up the tickets and ended up not buying all the necessary seats for the upcoming flight. After another 45 minutes trying to figure out ticketing, we were finally set and had to run to the gate, just barely catching the flight to Lima at 1 in the morning.
After 27 hours in various airports, we finally met up with Boris, our tour guide, and arrived at the Lima hotel about an hour before our first tour. When we thought nothing else could go wrong, it was revealed that our checked luggage was stuck in Miami and would not arrive for another two days!
Despite all of the travel struggles, we were ready to enjoy our trip. During a guided tour of Lima, we were fascinated by the beautiful museums, catacombs (containing the bones of Fransisco Pizarro among others), and the President’s house, which was so close to other buildings that it didn’t even seem like his house.
The people indigenous to Lima are very friendly, however they did as much as they could to make the travelers buy their products. Although that seems a little stressful, the crafts and other items were fascinating and the people were very willing to negotiate. Overall, Lima is a beautiful place filled with rich Peruvian culture.
The next day, we took a flight to the wondrous mountains of Cusco, where luggage was waiting for all but two members of the group. Cusco has an elevation of 11,000 feet so many can suffer high altitude sickness. Mrs. Gately and I were among the unlucky ones, forced to miss a day of the tour but fully recovered the next day. During our two days in Cusco, we hiked some of the beautiful mountains, explored the ancient ruins of Incan Civilization, and ate some of the best meals we’ve ever had (including the famous sweet Chicha Morada beverage). At one marketplace we visited, the local people were so happy to see tourists that they invited us to join in a traditional Peruvian dance. It was so much fun singing and dancing with them.
Next, the group boarded a train to our final destination and the climax of our journey: Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The train took about two hours and followed along a river and through incredible mountains. We were fascinated by the views we had from the glass ceilings of the train.
Machu Picchu is a beautiful village, and it takes a 20 minute bus ride to reach the Incan ruins. The route consists of many twists and turns all along the mountainside. Once the bus reached the top of the mountain, we were in awe at the gorgeous scenery of Machu Picchu. This was my favorite part of the trip.
After a day exploring the ruins, which date to the 15th century, we took a train and flight back to Lima for our trip home. Our final night consisted of one last dinner and dessert, a workout at the gym, card games, and lots and lots of packing, trying to fit all their souvenirs in the luggage.
The flight home went pretty smoothly, at least better than the trip to Lima. Although we were happy to come home to our families, all of us wished that we could have stayed in Peru just a bit longer.
“Peru was more than just a vacation for me – it was an adventure, a check off my bucket list and the trip of a lifetime,” said Mrs. Gately. “I was not only awed by the truly magnificent beauty of the Andes Mountains and its surroundings but also the mathematical and engineering geniuses that were the Incan people.”
Dan Leskow, a senior, said his favorite part of the trip was visiting Machu Picchu. “I was just in awe of how incredible it was,” he said. “I was additionally thrilled to be able to try unique Peruvian foods such as Ceviche, alpaca meat, and of course Cuy (Guinea Pig). It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.”
Senior Andrew Corbo created a video of the experience using some of the hundreds of pictures he and the other travelers took.
This really was one of the best trips I have ever taken. Thank you to everyone who made this trip so wonderful and memorable. It is an experience I will never forget.