It is only day three of my six week journey through Peru for the Spanish language intensive Dialogue of Civilization. I already absolutely love the trip. We have already seen so much it’s almost hard to believe, and it is exciting knowing the amazing things that are waiting for my fellow travelers and me in the coming weeks. We have a great group of people for this trip, and I feel like I have already known these people for years and look forward to cementing lasting relationships with these people.
Today was unbelievable. We had an early start, I was up at 6am to be down for the hotel breakfast at 6:30, and then for our departure to Paracus at 6:45am. We arrived at the Islas Ballestas and boarded a boat that took us out into the Pacific. I found the candelabra de Paracus fascinating, since no one knows how the design came to be. I recall our guide Miguel saying that it may have been made to act as a signal to incoming ships by being a visible marker indicating that a bay is near. The Islas Ballestas themselves were a wonder to see. Seeing the incredible rock structures and the ocean water splashing against them was thrilling, and having the chance to be ten feet from penguins and seals was such a great surprise.
Following the boat tour, we returned to our hotel to tour the main plaza of Ica. I thought it was very interesting hearing about the storm that tore up the city and the rebuilding process that followed, as well as the fact that despite all the damage done by the storm, the church remained intact. My other favorite fact from this tour was that the clock on one of the spires of the church has the Roman numeral IV written as IIII, done as a mistake. We next traveled to the pisco vineyard for a tour and tasting. By this time, I’m sure most of us had already tried pisco, so it was interesting for us to be able to see a vineyard that it actually comes from. Seeing the ‘lager’ where they stop the grapes for around 12 hours and the other pieces of the process in producing pisco was neat to see. We all enjoyed the tasting at the end, but I myself had to pass my pisco off to Scott, because it was much too strong for me.
I think we would all agree that the highlight of today was the dunes. I still cannot wrap my head around what we got to do today. My favorite moment in travel is when you’re staring out at your surroundings and think to yourself, ‘look where I am right now.’ To me that is a special and incredible moment that many people do not get to say they have had. Today, looking out over the dunes while cruising in our buggy, I thought that to myself several times. Aside from the sheer wonder of where we were, the buggy ride itself was thrilling. It was fast, and scary at times, but it was incredibly fun. Being able to slide down those steep dunes on the body-boards was just an added bonus. I will never forget this.