Day 6 in Peru — Serenity, Sights, and Sport for the Soul

See clouds over mountains always puts me over :)

Seeing clouds over mountains always puts me over ūüôā

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use¬†this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” —¬†Tony Robbins

This morning in Ollantaytambo (I love saying the name of this town!) I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful girl. ¬†The 20 minutes I spent with her before breakfast really energized me for the day’s adventure. ¬†Here is a picture of her:

Mara!  A German Sheppard with CRAZY amounts of energy!

Meet Mara! A German Sheppard with CRAZY amounts of energy!

Mara was able to catch most of my frisbee tosses, and keep up with chasing me around the courtyard.  Definitely a fun way to start my day at 7 am.  What was also a treat every morning in Ollantaytambo was my breakfast nook:

My breakfast nook.  I'd rather watch the clouds float over the mountains over sitcoms any day of the week.

My breakfast nook. I’d rather watch the clouds float over the mountains over sitcoms any day of the week ūüôā

Okay. ¬†Enough about breakfast. ¬†LET’S GO HIKE A MOUNTAIN. ¬†Since our trek to Machu Picchu starts tomorrow, this will be a great opportunity to test the weight limits of my pack, my cardio to the thin air, and my guts for heights. ¬†This time our trek took us to the storage houses on a mountain opposite of the fortress we visited yesterday.

View of Ollantaytambo.

The beauty and serenity of Mother Earth depicted in the view of Ollantaytambo.

I learned that the building blocks used to build the storage houses actually stay cold. ¬†If you place your hand on the blocks they feel about 10 degrees Celsius. ¬†In essence, these storage houses were like giant fridges. ¬†Different types of food were stored in these houses — meat, papayas, potatoes, etc. ¬†The Peruvians brought in new food types by trading some of their preserved food to neighbouring countries like Bolivia.

Climbing this mountain was challenging but enjoyable. ¬†At times we had to use our hands and feet to climb up the unsure terrain. ¬†The jagged rocks and uneven hillside did not make our expedition easy, however the rewards of the view (yes, I know . . . that’s a 8 millionth time I’ve said it) are unexplainable with words. ¬†So voila:

Using my hands and feet to ensure I didn't fall over.  It's also a shot of my bum :)

Using my hands and feet to ensure I didn’t fall over. It’s also a shot of my bum ūüôā

A few of my Adventurous Teammates!

A few of my Adventurous Teammates!

Made it and I didn't die!

Made it and I didn’t die!

IMG_2714

Storage houses in Peru.

After our hike up the mountain we had lunch at a great spot in Ollantaytambo called Hearts Cafe.  This cafe employs local women in need, and sells beautiful hand-woven garments in their restaurant.  Not only does Hearts Cafe offer delicious, locally sourced, homemade cooking, ALL of their profits go to their sister company Living Heart.  Their projects range from supporting initiatives in the local community like literacy, nutrition, and contraception.  Social entrepreneurship is something I am a big fan of.  Making a profit is one thing, but making a positive difference in the communities we serve is a great way to make the world a better place.  Some other companies that do this are G Adventures (Planterra), TD Bank Financial Group (Friends of the Environment), and Under Armour (UA Power in Pink).

Having some good food and giving back to the community in Ollantaytambo :)

Having some good food and giving back to the community in Ollantaytambo ūüôā

MOMENT OF ZEN: ¬†In the evening I ventured off on my own to explore the city. ¬†Not being fluent in the local language of any country can make communicating with people challenging. ¬†However tonight I was able to bridge that gap through my favourite way to interacting with people . . . sport. ¬†In Ollantaytambo the kids play volleyball in the centre of town! ¬†Amongst the street lamps, paved road, and parked cars, a competitive volleyball match can be found. ¬†A ball bounced my way from an active rally. ¬†When I¬†retrieved it and return it to the players I asked (with my awesome skills in Charades) if I could join. ¬†To my delight they welcomed me aboard! ¬†So I found myself in a very competitive and fun volleyball game with the locals! Although I didn’t speak their language, strategic plays of setting up someone for a spike was easily translated through the motions of the game. ¬†I never kept track of which team won, but I had a great time just being in the moment and enjoying the time with new people ūüôā

Street Volleyball in Ollantaytambo!

Street Volleyball in Ollantaytambo!

There are endless tools in the ways we communicate and connect with each other. ¬†Whether it is by tossing a frisbee to a new friend, calming someone down a mountain by telling her stories of other adventures (yes, you know who you are my German friend!), or by teaching a little Peruvian girl how to set a volleyball, how we treat and help each other determines our ability to be fluent with one another ūüôā

Amy and Abby . . . the next big things in women's volleyball!  Keep practicing!

Amy and Abby . . . the next big things in women’s volleyball! Keep practicing!

Peace, love, and adventure!

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