It’s been almost a week in Cusco and I can’t seem to shake Florida – there’s a group of tourists from Flagler College that follow me around… Just kidding! These wonderful “tourists” are my classmates on this study abroad and I couldn’t be happier they’re with me on this trip.
Florida summer really has followed us to an extent though – definitely not in the form of warm weather, it is COLD! – but rather in the uncharacteristic afternoon storms (illustrated by the ominous clouds as seen from the ECELA school yard in the photo below).
This trip is happening at the best time to visit Cusco because June is the city’s month of celebration. Corpus Cristi, a huge festival where the patron saints of all the churches in Cusco are dressed up and carried all the way to the cathedral in the main plaza, Plaza de Armas, was on Thursday, but the celebration lasted all week and will continue into all of June in the form of other festivals, etc. Wednesday was La bajada de los santos (the descent of the saints) into the Plaza de Armas, and I was lucky enough (even in the insane crowds and pushy street vendors) to see many saints make it to the Plaza de Armas. Below is a photo from Wednesday. One of the most exciting things is that we’re standing in the middle of one of the main streets of Cusco – Avenida del Sol.
I have found my six-something years of Florida classroom Spanish lessons coming in extremely handy and I’ve gotten to the point where speaking Spanish is starting to be a lot more comfortable, especially talking to my host family and all their relatives. I feel extremely comfortable with my host family – I actually just typed “at home” but realized that would be confusing. I really do refer to my little stylish apartment tucked away in an unassuming and residential part of Cusco as home now, and I love the comfortable rituals I can see forming. For example, I have Andean culture class with the Flagler Spanish group in the morning, a break where I can explore the city and have lunch, and a massive clump of Spanish grammar and production classes (4 hours) in the evening. Below is the Flagler Spanish group standing on the front patio of ECELA.
I love the fact that I’m discovering new things about Cusco and myself everyday. It sounds cliche, but in a new place you really have to adjust not only physically (altitude sickness doesn’t joke around) but also mentally. I’m very grateful I have a wonderful host family and Flagler travel group to help with everything.
One of my discoveries: the beautiful mountain view from my bedroom window. Trust me, as with everything (especially travel stories) it is much better in person.Cusco