After traveling almost half-time now for over a year, I still haven’t found anything in the world quite like a Peruvian morning. Much of Peru exists outside of the realm of exhaust and smog. They don’t produce things in factories. The air is so clear and crisp and smells like nothing I have smelled before. I miss walking outside, feeling the strangeness of a foreign place wash over me. The urgency of a nearby adventure, dangling within grasp. The feeling of not knowing what the day could possibly hold because I did not know what to expect from such a strange place.
Sometimes Peru was so overwhelming that I was grateful for the bus that we sat on. I was happy to just whiz by, observing. Other times, I was so eager to get out of the bus and start capturing photos and exploring. Andahuaylillas was somewhere in the middle for me. By this point, we were only a few days away from Machu Picchu and all I wanted was for the bus to cruise straight through this Andean countryside. The air had gotten cooler as our little vehicle drove further up into the sky. We weren’t at the desert oasis anymore. But then I saw the San Pedro de Andahuaylillas church from my window. Out!
The church is incredible. They call it the Sistine Chapel of the Americas, because it is so incredibly ornate inside. Of course, there are no photographs allowed, but you can check it out here. Just like with all of Peru, there are little merchants with their little stands setup so you can barter your way through another poncho, should you need one.
And if you’re like me and churches get really stuffy really fast, go for a walk on the grounds. There are incredible flowers planted everywhere and the grass has dew on it through all hours of the day.
The above picture is of my buddy Claire (Clara) from the trip. We tried to sit next to one another for most of the journey, because we were equally quiet and observant. I miss her so much. Meeting the people I got to travel with was one of the best parts of going to Peru. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever experience something like that again, as do most study abroad students I’ll bet.
If you’re a student and get the opportunity to study abroad at any point, take it. My study abroad was much shorter than most but was soooo worth it.