The second half of my trip to Peru started with an early morning flight from Lima to the mountain town of Ayacucho.
This city is tucked in the Andes mountain and is home to 35 historic Catholic churches as well as one of the 1st (and largest!) universities in Peru. We touched down and I immediately felt the difference of being at 9,000 feet above sea level. The narrow streets & tiny sidewalks were filled with beautiful indigenous Inca people who were intrigued by our clearly American group.
We toured some of the cathedrals; some as old as the 17th century!
And we toured the university which was massive! Interestingly, school was not in session because the teachers were on strike. College is free in Peru, but that means that teacher salaries are very low. The faculty is constantly striking to protest for higher wages. Most of the students live in the hills and have a long commute to school. When we were on campus, it felt like a ghost town, but I can imagine how busy it is when class is in session!
By lunch, we had already walked 4 miles in the sun & high altitude and were starving! Ayacucho had some amazing local food, and I learned that quinoa is native to Peru and is a popular staple in this region!
It just so happened that our visit coincided with Halloween, so we got to witness how they celebrate. It was so much fun! So many families in the streets and they had an hour long fireworks show at the end of the night. I think the most popular costumes we saw were Elsa from Frozen & Captain America! I didn't take many photos but we were kicking ourselves that we didn't plan ahead & come dressed for the occasion.
We only spent one day & evening in Ayacucho, and I felt like I could have spent an entire week just in this little city. So much to see & learn in this area that was much less westernized than Lima.
Tuesday morning, we boarded our flight back to Lima with full hearts. If you missed the first part of the trip, click here!
Creative spirit living & loving in Raleigh, NC.