Challenge Season: The Story so Far...
Now that all our teams are out in-country, it's time to sum-up some highlights of the adventures of our in-country teams! Be sure to stay in the loop on the daily movements of each team on our trip tracker, which you can use to explore photos and updates as they're uploaded.
What a week we have had here in Cusco! So far five out of six groups in line to complete the Salkantay trek have arrived into the beautiful ancient city. With lots of shopping, acclimatising and llama spotting it’s been a non-stop 8 days!
Although most groups arrived straight from the UK we have had some impressive students who have dedicated their summer to exploring South America prior to the trek. Huge shout out to Mikaela from #MP05, who has not only already completed the Salkantay trek once this summer, but has also completed Rainbow mountain the day before meeting the main group in Cusco. Impressive!
During the afternoons myself and Leo have had the chance to explore some of the local restaurants. As a veggie I was a little apprehensive that I would be eating pretty basic food during my time in Peru, however I couldn't have been more wrong. A definite favourite find has been “Green Point”, an incredible vegan restaurant located close to the main square in Cusco. Every day the restaurant offer a different “Menu del Dia” (Menu of the Day), that consists of a four course set menu for only 15soles (around £4!). We have sent a lot of students to Green Point during their free day and heard nothing but good reviews. A great little spot with friendly staff and a vibrant atmosphere.
Our last group of students arrive into Cusco tomorrow morning, and we also will receive our first group of students back from the trek. We cannot wait to hear back from all of the treks and find out how much the students have loved their time on the Salkantay pass. So far the weather has been great, so fingers crossed it stays that way for our last two trek departures!
Frankie, Peru ICO.
This week was built on pickup, briefings and drop-offs. The ICO's in Tanzania have not stopped since #KILI05's arrival, with a new group landing every day. There have been many ups and downs, but we have thoroughly enjoyed it! Our favourite quote of the week is
"Jacob's name was Gustave before he came here".
Jacob is our cheerful restaurant manager, we found it so intriguing to hear about his past. Warwick university were our first group to reach the summit so we were ecstatic to see their summit pictures. It also brought back so many memories for the both of us! Our Swahili is slowly growing each day, so there are many words such as fruits and greetings that we try to memorise.
This week's eye opener would have to be the translation of Evie (one of the ICO's name) in Swahili meaning "there is". We have learnt a lot from our many Moshi tours with Jackson and Victor such as how many different varieties of bananas there are here in Tanzania, also allowing us to discover new places and shops around the local area. There is a coffee shop in the center of Moshi called Caffe Union which has the best coffees in town, unique place for tourists and locals to visit. They also have incredible pizzas!
Kieran, Tanzania ICO.
It’s been great to find our feet in such a bustling city with an array of scents and experiences. Before our first group arrivals, #EBC02 - who have been our favourite group so far, Macaulay and I took the opportunity to explore Kathmandu and the Thamel area - firstly, heading to Durbar Square. We wandered around the 12th Century temples which was a harsh realisation of the devastation the Earthquake caused in 2015 and we were even graced by the presence of the Kumari, who is only aged 4!! Maybe she blessed our wishes for all our groups so far to catch the flight to Lukla?
New Local Discovery
Pashupatinath Temple – it is the epicentre for Hinduism; the equivalent to Mecca for Muslims and Jerusalem for Christians. We visited the crematorium where the deceased bodies are burned on the River Bagmati which eventually joins the holy River Ganges.
Shout out to a staff member/guide
Pruhlad – the guide for EBC02 for providing excellent support to Lexy Graham when very poorly up the mountain. He was very concerned for her and even shed a little tear when they had to say goodbye. He offered to be her guide if she comes back to do it again.
Hannah, Nepal ICO.
We're so grateful for the hard-work of our in-country teams! And wish them, and the teams they're supporting, the best of luck on the rest of their trips.