TESTIMONIALS:
22 Day Workshop tour

PUCHKA Peru Workshop Tour

 

 

An experience like this only comes once in a lifetime, the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had with PUCHKA have changed my life forever. Thank you PUCHKA. Sheenagh Davis, UK

This has been a wonderful experience. The tour is so well organized and the visits so well chosen, it would have been impossible to tailor a tour more suited to my needs and interests. Not to mention the wonderful Peruvians I have met. The whole PUCHKA Team couldn’t have been better organized or kinder. The drivers, teachers, hotel staff and guides have all left an incredible mark on us. It has really been great. The inspiration from all directions that have left my brain a traffic jam of ideas, plans and projects!! It has been a truly wonderful experience and I hope to come back again for more in a couple of years.  So many, many thanks. Rosalind Johansson, UK

Dear PUCHKA, I feel so privileged to have been a part of this tour.  Our exposure to local textiles has been extensive and I have learned a lot. The quality of the artists has been extremely high with everyone being very friendly and helpful. The attention to detail when putting together the tour has been amazing. The PUCHKA Team has been very professional and caring. We have felt in very good hands. The guides, teachers and drivers have been of an exceptional quality. Thanks. Sarah McKee, Australia

Dear PUCHKA,  A beautifully weighted tour with a slow change in altitude. The tours and experiences between workshops were exciting and interesting, giving us a real taste of Peru, new and old. Each workshop was filled with real learning and laughter with experienced tutors. For me the embroidery tutors Elena and Anabel gave me many new stitches to use. The gourd carving with Florencio a totally new skill, a superb time. Thank you for organizing such a wonderful tour. Beth Carter, New Zealand

Dear PUCHKA, I didn’t know about this tour until mid-July, when I read about it in a UK magazine. What a wonderful discovery! I have enjoyed the places, activities and people so much. I’ve learned lots about Peruvian textiles, the countryside, the food! The PUCHKA Team has been amazing. ¡Gracias! Judith Carson, UK

Dear PUCHKA,  What an incredibly awesome trip this has been. I have learned so much about the Inca Culture and history. I did not realize how advanced their culture was. We have seen many things, thanks to a well-planned tour. The break between workshop weeks was most welcome. Thank you for such an educational trip, the PUCHKA Team is the best! Amy Buckley, USA

PUCHKA TOURS, Wow! What can one say, AWESOME!!! So well thought out. The abilities of the guides and information were excellent. To have a thorough introduction in Lima was very supportive in our learning process. The small break to Colca Canyon between classes was a good process. The classes were very professional. The level of lunch offers and hotel rooms were very comfortable. I will be recommending to friends to look at the PUCHKA site. Thank you! Diana McKee, Australia

It is difficult to know where to start the praise of PUCHKA Peru Tours; the scale of the tour in terms of the Itinerary, the workshops, the teachers, the organization and planning, the care and altogether the detail by the PUCHKA Team had no limits. I’d known of PUCHKA Tours for some years and only dreamed of coming on one of the tours and it became a reality. PUCHKA have made it a dream come true in so many ways. It has given me a wonderful insight into the fantastic cultural history and current developments of a vibrant and living culture. Thanks! Stephanie Edwards, UK

Dear PUCHKA, This has been a really wonderful trip. The weaving in the museums and at the workshops, and the folk markets have been awe inspiriting.  So much creativity, colour, technique and skill must be kept alive and PUCHKA is great at achieving this through the tours. The teaching group has been fun, informative and generous with their time, skill and patience. Thank you for such a wonderful experience. Aruna Reddy, UK 

Thank you PUCHKA for a fabulous textile tour.  I have enjoyed every minute of it. The PUCHKA Team has done such a wonderful job of keeping us all organized and have made it a wonderful experience. I’m very happy with my finished tapestry and found both Jimi and Maximo excellent! I take home many memories of the tour and all the lovely people I have met over the last few weeks. Congratulations on such a well-organized tour!Best wishes for the future of PUCHKA Tours. Jane Vanderbroek, Australia

Dear Sasha, I just wanted to let you know how wonderfully arranged and organised the tour was. I had a fabulous time, both regarding the workshops, the museum visits, the city tours, the archaeological sites, indeed everything! The group was a lovely combination of people, we got on exceedingly well, had fun, worked hard and were very mutually supportive.  The tutors were great fun, talented artists and teachers, and kept our noses to the grindstone in the most enjoyable way, we all appreciated their skills and personalities. Giancarlo and Anabel worked really hard at ensuring the organisation went smoothly; they are both exceptionally skilled at working with people and smoothing out any glitches. We all enjoyed their company a lot.  It was such a successful 3 weeks, in so many ways; I had wanted to visit Perú for several years but hadn't found the right way to do so - this tour was definitely it! Thank you for its development, I hope it continues  for many years to come! P.S. And we saw condors ......  Saludos, Judith Carson, UK

Dear Sasha, just a short note to let you know how much I enjoyed the tour, and how much I learned.  It was REALLY Fabulous!  A wonderful opportunity - inspirational and so well planned and organised.  Giancarlo and Anabel made a wonderful team, so able both of them, charming and helpful. They and Maximo just MADE it all by taking such excellent care of us and giving us every opportunity for learning and fun.  The group were super too and we all loved the teachers.  It felt like a family break up when we all went our separate ways from Arequipa, Cusco and Lima!  I envied Marziah and Beth continuing with PUCHKA on the 12 day tour and I’m looking to when I can come back for either/ or both the 12 day tour or the internship with Maximo and Jimi. I have to work hard to save up the necessary dosh and will be in touch later re reservations and dates (waiting list for Semana Santa next year?).  Thanks again for a really wonderful trip.  Rosalind Johansson, UK

I had a wonderful time and everyone was great to get on with. Our tour leaders and guides were brilliant in their care and organisation of everything down to the last detail. They worked like Trojans to ensure our well-being throughout the whole trip and I believe we all let them know how much they were appreciated. I will certainly be recommending Puchka Peru Tours to others.  Stephanie Edwards, UK

 

This has been a fabulous (experience) holiday, the PUCHKA experience is a unique and well- rounded view of Peru. Our tour Leaders and guides were very good with the group, helping in whatever way they could! They actually go above and beyond the “call of duty”, Anabel with her magic teas. Giancarlo helping to facilitate “buying trips”. The guides throughout the trip were the best! John Alfredo in Lima, our “walking encyclopedia” laid the foundation for the rest of the trip, with the history of Peru – politically, archeologically and in regards to the textiles.

Patricia in Arequipa and the Colca with her obvious love of her country and exuberance with its natural beauty and what its residents produce in goods – textiles and agriculture. And lastly, Nilo, who has a wonderful sense of humour and great information to share with us about the Inka period. He was great to get us around Machu Picchu during a rainy day in such a way that it couldn’t have been better if the sun was out, because it was shining in our hearts.

Our drivers who got us safely from one destination to another, rescued eyeglasses and stopped at a moment’s notice for us to take those special photographs. 

The workshops – WOW!! All of the teachers were beautiful and generous. I couldn’t have imagined how amazing this could be. Rufina with her great patience and beautiful smile. Her knitting is fabulous and to have her teach me was great! Not to mention the environment - sitting in the courtyard working on our projects! Elena and Anabel with their energy teaching beautiful embroidery and the colors: what great Bolitas were made – intentional and often not so intentional!

Sharing in laughter and smiles with all the teachers daily was a wonderful experience. Seeing all the beautiful work they create goes beyond words. These 8 days are extremely special!

Going to Fairtrade stores, shops and markets was marvelous – it was great to support the work as it should be! 

Traveling is about learning the culture and history of the country. It is about meeting and sharing experiences with the country residents, it’s about making new friends with the locals and fellow travelers;  PUCHKA made all these things possible!

PUCHKA is definitely an experience that should not be missed by anyone! The founder of PUCHKA, Sasha, thought of everything - from the detailed Trip Notes and Itinerary Notes, the day to day Itinerary she designed, all the help and tips she shared with me before the tour, the sequence of our journey and sites and the best guides ever!  Each part of the trip created the foundation for the next, with more amazing things to experience around each corner.  

Peru is such a beautiful country with so much to share and see, WOW! So much more than a textile tour, a full cultural experience!

Muchas gracias! Janice Romanko, Canada

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Having travelled extensively and with several different specialist companies, I can say that the 22 day workshop tour with Puchka Peru was one of the best. The balance of cultural visits to museums, churches and craftspeople; with highly enjoyable and relaxing workshops was just right. Guides and tutors were all excellent and the care and support offered by Puchka were exceptional. With detailed itinerary and trip notes, there was no excuse for arriving in Peru unprepared. Accommodation was very comfortable throughout and holding the workshops in the hotel in Arequipa where we stayed was particularly enjoyable. Surrounded, as we were, by a lovely building, beautiful flowers and friendly people, the learning experience of knitting and hand embroidery was a particular pleasure.

In contrast to the relaxed atmosphere of the workshops; visits to museums, archaeological sites and opportunities to visit craftspeople made for busy days, often involving, but only if you wished, walking and even a little climbing. The visits to Colca Canyon where condors soared for us and Macchu Picchu where mist enveloped us were particularly satisfying. We were well prepared for altitude by the time we reached the heights of the Andes and at every experience, we were expertly guided.

Rare, native animals appeared as if by magic for us as we travelled and alpacas and llamas posed for their photographs. No one need fear a cultural shock or problems with food in Peru. Eating was a varied and enjoyable experience and my travel companion and I will remember forever the Pisco Sours. Annette Collinge, UK

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I feel so blessed to have been able to join the tour at the last minute. The founder, Sasha McInnes and the PUCHKA team made it happen seamlessly, as everything seemed to happen. Everything was so well organized and well executed by everyone associated with or connected to PUCHKA, no matter where we were in Peru.

The workshops were great, the instructors were great, the guides and drivers were great!!! My expectations were exceeded, and we certainly knew what to expect from the very comprehensive Trip Notes/Travel Tips and the Itinerary Notes.

Beautiful memories have been stored, as Nilo - our Cusco guide - would say. Peru and PUCHKA Peru – Forever in my heart.

Muchas gracias. Micky Gardner, United States 

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PUCHKA,

Thank you so much for a great holiday – you did everything promised and more! Maximo – It is hard to express my thanks for your patience and kind words you have inspired me in many ways.

I learned about colour blending, and the interaction of colours during the weaving process, and of course the dramatic bold colours that Maximo uses to create his art, (I may never again use a soft pastel colour palette!)  We learned to create texture by using many different techniques, eccentric wefts, warps and wrapping techniques. I now need to put into place all of what I learned. Maximo is a kind and patient teacher, very willing to impart his knowledge and help his students learn.

Thank you! Rebecca Scott, Canada

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PUCHKA Tours is not only about Ethical Tourism, but ethical individuals as well.

The PUCHKA team included wonderful people who assisted us with whatever we needed; and always with a happy disposition. Anabel and Giancarlo (Tour Leaders), John Alfredo (Lima Guide), Patricia (Colca Canyon Guide) and Nilo (Cusco Guide) were genuinely interested in sharing their country with us and our drivers kept us safe at all times.

It has been an Exceptional Experience for me.

Good People
Good Instructors – Leon, Elena and Anabel Lots of Fun!

So much personal growth!

Peru will always hold a special place in my heart. Anne Ceccehtto, Canada

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Thanks so much to the PUCHKA team for all your hard work in putting this together and making it happen. The attention to detail by everyone associated with PUCHKA was wonderful.

The workshops were wonderful – such high quality craftspeople and the location for them is perfect.

The workshop with Maximo was amazing and intense.  Everything was so beautifully prepared - looms warped, footer woven, design drawn and butterflies wound. That just left us with the fun bit - the weaving and learning.  It was an ambitious schedule and a lot to weave in the time available, but I can understand why. Maximo's techniques only work in larger areas of tapestry, so the sample piece needed to accommodate this.  Also, Maximo had clearly decided that we should each go home with a piece we could hang on the wall.

This has been an excellent introduction to Peru, its history, its culture and its amazing textile heritage.

Muchas gracias! Ros Wilson, United Kingdom

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I just returned from participating in both the 22 day tour and the 12 day tour with Puchka tours and I could not recommend them more highly. I love the whole concept of the tours -  bringing people who have a desire to learn about other cultures and a love of fine arts  together with the people who are producing them, seeing where and how they are made and helping to make their production  sustainable. Cutting out the middle men puts a face and a history with the products and process and builds connections among people around the globe. Participating in workshops where you can learn from master craftsmen (Elena; Hand Embroidery, Florencio; Gourd Carving, Rufina and Gloria; Knitting, Leon; Braiding, Simona; Machine Embroidery, Sra. Leonora; Drop Spinning, Maximo Laura; Tapestry Weaving) gives you  a much deeper appreciation for the products and the people who made them.

Under the expert guidance of the Puchka tour organizers and leaders, Sasha McInnes, Maximo Laura and Anabel Sanabria, our every need was anticipated and provided for. They were unfailingly good natured, helpful and efficient and always available if we needed or wanted them. In addition to the textile and arts tours and lessons, during the 22 day tour we had expert local guides (John in Lima, Patricia in Arequipa, Fidel and Nilo in Cusco) who took us to see museums, markets, cathedrals and many of the amazing Inca sites of Peru. They were extremely knowledgeable about Peru’s history, geology and culture and added so much to our enjoyment of them. Machu Picchu exceeded my very high expectations in beauty and mystique, and the other Inca sites we visited were equally impressive,  though less known and visited by tourists. I also appreciated having a “home base” during each tour, to return to and become familiar with an area.

During the 12 day tour in Ayacucho we got to visit artist workshops and see the whole spectrum of artists in different stages of their careers, from the beginning artists who had just carved out a space in the family compound in which to work, to the masters with established businesses and home studios with several employees.  I was touched that they took time for us and allowed us into their homes. We got to visit alabaster carvers, weavers and embroiderers, potters, jewelers, leather workers, retablo and mask scultpors and tablas de Sarhua painters (painted story boards). Visiting these studios with Maximo Laura, who is a long time friend to many of them and a source of encouragement to all, was a treat. Maximo is not only an extremely talented artist but a humanitarian who shares his talent and success with visitors and other artists and promotes the arts of Peru. It was a huge honor to visit his studios and offices and home and to see his tapestries  and hear about his inspirations, process and designs. It is not hard to see why he has been declared a National Living Treasure of Peru.

In addition to the home based workshops we got to visit a shelter for teenage mothers and victims of abuse who were working on handicrafts to earn a living wage for themselves and their children while the young children were cared for and schooled within the same supportive compound. We also visited several textile cooperatives where people came together with their handiwork to share designs, companionship and markets. The high point of the whole 12 day tour for many of us was a visit to a small mountain village outside of Ayachucho where Maximo’s nephew and master weaver, Richar Albites was born and where he had returned to help the income of the village by teaching weaving. As the first foreign visitors to this village we were given a most warm and excited welcome. The entire village turned out to greet us and show us their textile production. We were then treated to a heart warming performance of songs and dances by the school children of the village and shared a meal prepared for us. We hated to say goodbye when it was time to leave. On our way out of the mountains for the last time, our amazing and skilled driver and knowledgeable companion on the tour, Wilbert Rodriguez, led us all in a final, fitting farewell ceremony, inviting us to breathe in some of the amazing energy of the Andes and leave some of our energy there.

I will be forever grateful to the Puchka people for the unique opportunity they gave me, to not only see the amazing sites and arts of Peru but to get to know Peru and her people from the inside out. Cynthia Mateer, USA

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I’ve been on a few “textile trips” and this was one of the best. This is, for me, because of the workshops - Hand Embroidery with Elena and Knitting with Rufina and Gloria- it’s always a pleasure to stop looking and do! The chance to meet the craftspeople and learn even a little of their skills does not happen often and this was an opportunity to be grabbed with both hands.But the whole voyage was one of discovery and the mix of history, religion and crafts is particularly enlightening.

Our tour managers and guides were perfect hosts. They were unfailingly polite, helpful, informative and tolerant. Things happened, and on time. The guides in Arequipa - Patricia and Leonel - and in Cusco  - Fidel and Nilo - were also polite, helpful and tolerant as well as being very well informed, particularly Patricia in Arequipa! Lesley Clements, United Kingdom

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This trip for me has been a “trip of renewal”, I was drawn to it because of the workshops and the studio tours that are to come. I have always been involved in the arts in different ways over the years. So I now needed new inspirations, friends, and experiences this time of my life. Maximo was so kind and free with his knowledge and techniques during the tapestry weaving workshop. The new friends we have acquired have been fantastic and I hope to make the effort to see them again.

The textiles and local artists are amazing and beyond what I had imagined. The tour has been well organized and gave us exposure to many different things.

I want to apply this knowledge to all the fiber and pottery that I do at home. I have already been dreaming about the projects I can do. I want to use more colors in my seeming “dull” life!

Everyone around us has been creative in a different way, so we can all be different in our art. I think that is a great dream for all of us.

DREAM ON- for everyone and everyone have a creative life through your art, food and life that you make for yourself!!! Jan Stortenbecker, USA

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Joining the 22-day workshop tour mid-way, I was pleasantly surprised at the way the group embraced me as a new member. Too many memorable moments to mention, but here are a few highlights:

- Feeding the camelids – especially the suri alpaca with their long locks – at Awana Kancha. 

- A baker in Pisac loading trays of empanadas into an enormous clay oven, the wood fire aroma, and the dilemma of choosing between the many flavorful varieties still warm from the oven.

- Wondering at the burial caves dotting the steep cliffs at Pisac and the ingenious circular terraces at Moray.

- Exchanging nuno felting techniques with Crista Quiroz at her studio in Urubamba and trying on hat after felted hat, unable to decide amongst the beauties.

- Our waitress in Aguas Calientes, a young woman from Chinchero, sparkling with pride as she recognized her community’s weavers and textiles in the book we were browsing through after dinner.

- Nilo pacing the climb over Machu Picchu’s steep steps, sensitive to our challenges, telling jokes as we took a long rest by the Sacred Stone.

- Fidel in the Inka Museum pointing out a textile that depicts in finely-spun fibers the demise of Túpac Amaru II.

- Anabel advising us on local Peruvian dishes at Las Cusqueñitas, a bustling picantería where costumed dancers whirl on stage to rousing traditional music.

- Peering down at the city of Cusco from atop Sacsayhuaman at sunset.

-  Women at the Chinchero Center for Traditional Textiles weaving together on back strap looms, sustaining their finely-honed traditional skills and sharing them across generations.

-  Well-organized, helpful, and high-spirited Giancarlo and Annabel adding sparks of youthful energy to this fabulous trip. Thanks to PUCHKA, the guides and the beautiful people and arts of Peru. Marilyn L. Geary, USA

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Maximo Laura is a very patient, generous teacher with an incredible ability to instruct the beginner tapestry student to the experienced weaver within the same workshop and teach a wide variety of techniques that advance the student's learning daily and from the first workshop to the second. The workshops are as rewarding as they are challenging and the efforts one puts into them.

The facility in Arequipa is amazing. Loved staying in the San Blas area of Cusco and out of the flood of tourist touts. The Tierra Viva is a great facility and there is a broad choice of places for meals within an easy walk, day or night. This is important for individual budgets and food restrictions. It is great to be able to go back to the same rooms each night or after a brief overnight elsewhere. Claudia Wieland-Randall, USA

These three+ weeks have been absolutely wonderful! The group members are wonderful, the entire PUCHKA staff and workshop staff are wonderful, the lovely old buildings are wonderful. Each day has been very special and I’m sorry to be leaving Peru – there is too much to see and do! It could take the rest of a lifetime.

I especially like that the crafts and their traditional histories have been presented within the greater context of Peru’s heritage – via the city tours and the museums, and of all the archeological sites. The various guides – John, Patricia, Leonel, Fidel and Nilo – have incredible knowledge about Peru, and are so good – natured towards everyone.

Pats to all the dogs, cats, sheep, alpacas, llamas, and burros who filled my days with delight! Sharyn Thompson, USA

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One more day left. The sites, people and processes of getting to and from have been adventurous and fun. Each centre that we’ve stayed in has been unique and with its own character making me wish I had more time to explore more deeply into these differences.

Each and every accommodation was lovely, worry free and comforting. The guides and drivers were all of the highest quality with great humour, with a depth of knowledge and anxious to provide the best experiences.

The vastness of experiences on this wonderful trip is sending me home with skills from the workshops, inspiration from all the sites and a love for this lovely country that has filled my soul with the gentleness of the people in this country. Ede Russett, Canada

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My heartfelt thanks to PUCHKA. They have proved to be wonderful hosts. Anabel’s whipcracking skills and Giancarlo´s unflappable nature have all helped us to enjoy our wonderful adventure.

It has been a trip of a lifetime. The hand embroidery and knitting workshops with Elena, Rufina and Gloria proved to be a great insight into Peruvian skills. My fondest memory in Muchas Bolitas.

Thanks again for everything. Sue McAllister, Australia

 

Thank you PUCHKA for organizing such a wonderful tour. Thanks to the teachers, and all the tour guides – John Alfredo, Patricia, Leonel, Fidel and Nilo. See you in the next tour! Warwick McAllister, Australia

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Dear PUCHKA,

You are wonderful ambassadors for your country. I thank you for all the knowledge. I also have to say Patricia and Fidel and Nilo were absolutely great tour guides going above and beyond to make our day trips exceptional. Patti is the bomb! Keep her forever!

Thanks for many wonderful memories. Angela McDiarmid, Canada

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A “Sasha Thanks” Poem

Thanks, Sasha, for your passion
your compassion, Peru fascination and fashion
The Peru you know through and through
For imbuing us with an appreciative insiders view
With the generous help of the Sasha Crew.

While Sasha, you have designed and ordered We have luxuriated and embroidered
or woven
or fluted
or braided or carved or stitched
And we’ve been in stitches due to our glitches And sometimes we’ve been all thumbs Feeling dumb then dumber before we plumbed despair

And then Maximo, Elena, Rufi or Leon offered a repair And then once again we hummed Sometimes as we puchka-ed, we came unspun But then we grasped the twist and had fun

You have shared with us the ties of human experience that find us together, one to another

You have introduced us to a whole host of Peruvians - all the cameloids, the John Davises, Meche Correas, all the great teacher, Juanita, the nuns with slaves, Patricia Fidel, Nilo.

Sometimes you have inspired our inner shopper a little Sometimes a lot But NEVER, not! You have kindled a fire in our art hearts And sometimes put out an undesireable fire Always you have inspired And now, from this work, you are retired. Love, Megan Baldrige, USA

Ah Sasha - how wonderful the workshops were. Erwin, our Andean panpipes teacher had us on the very first day making noises - some, musical - on each of our instruments. And I believe that I was playing (albeit slowly) a recognizable “Farewell to Ayacucho” by day 3. And Maestro Maximo was proved right when he (firmly) told me to WATCH and stop writing about the hard textured patters. So okay, I stopped writing, watched and did the same thing he had done - and then figured it out. Then, observing some of the other workshops, the palette of Rufina, the knitting teacher, was so rich and subtle, a dream realized. I saw, on one of our final days, the grief your parting from the tour part of PUCHKA brings forth. Farewells are hard. Sorrow lasts. And also if you’ll forgive me, the hints I heard about re the kind of work you plan next make it all sound wonderful. Best of everything to you. Marsha Siegel, USA

I have enjoyed being on the textile tour. It kept me so busy that I didn’t think very much about home. I hope that you have enjoyed it as much as I have. Mai-Liis-Toome, Canada

Thanks, Sasha, so much for all you’ve done via PUCHKA over all these years. Its so good to help the local people and introduce us to them. So great to enjoy their skills and their humour. We really enjoyed the tour with PUCHKA - so good to have a quiet learning time in the middle of this adventure. I hope that you will have much happiness with the new adventures you are working on. Loving regards, Margart Morritt, Australia

The tour was a great experience. I think you have done well to make everything run so smoothly considering the number of people involved. I enjoyed the challenge of learning something about the pan pipes and gourd carving, 2 learning experiences I would never have had the chance to do. The site seeing was very well organized and to have the Colca Canyon and Machu Picchu included was fantastic. The group were all friendly and easy to get on with - so glad I came! Best wishes for the future. Philip Morritt, Australia

These past 22 days have been a life changing gift that I thank you for with all that I am and all that I will be. Time stood still, my breath stopped and I watched, in awe, as fingers flew, colours danced and energy flowed. Each day was an adventure and every person, each smile and each moment of joy has been a gift. I left Peru bursting with new ideas, full of plans and dreams and a beautiful piece of Peru in my heart. Thank you, Sasha, for all you have done and all the people you have touched. Hilary Sadler, Canada

Thank you for introducing us to the PEOPLE of Peru. Ellen Allas, Canada

I have truly enjoyed my trip to Peru and offer you, Sasha, thanks for creating such a thoughtful, smooth, interesting, creative experience. Your eye for details has created fun events, festive, wonderful Birthdays, erasing prior worry. Organizing fresh rooms after the snow storm in Cusco and leaks at our guest house - wow! I loved my workshop experiences and loved watching myself stretch a bit out of my comfort zone, from hiking Machu Picchu, to learning new knitting and embroidery techniques. All the people and the teachers were wonderful; I enjoyed interacting with them during “coffee break time”. I am certain that your new direction will be as equally satisfying for you - the creative you - as growing the tour part of PUCHKA has been. Much success and thanks ever so much again for the wonderful experience. Joan Diamond, United States

I am taking home lots of good memories of the people I have met - I already miss our teachers. I have learned some new skills and seen so many amazing things. Thank you so much for making this trip possible. Jeanne Kohl, United States

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I am so happy that after years of seeing PUCHKA’s advertising in magazines, I finally made the decision to take this trip and made it! It has been a wonderful introduction for me to Peru and fascinating world of textiles in all their many forms and interpretations. Wonderful also to gain some insight into the lives of the people who I have met, particularly the guides and teachers. Very best wishes for your next adventure. Phillipa Mills, New Zealand

The 3 weeks have been truly memorable, an adventure I will never forget. Thank you for sharing your love for Peru. I did go with an open mind and an open heart, and now both - specifically, my heart - have been filled to the brim. I’ll be back, I think, for more. Thank you for making it happen. Agota Dolinay, Canada

Sasha thanks for the skill and care in organizing PUCHKA! For your energetic guides and talented and patient teachers; for the opportunity to be part of a creative, loving community of people in Peru. Special thanks for the delight with music and dance that celebrated my 76th year. Gracias, abrazos, amor, Frances Schneider-Liau, United States

Thank you so much for your advice, support and encouragement Sasha. It’s been such an experience to see some of the real Peru and its people. We have shared some wonderful moments. You have, along with your support people, done an excellent job of organising and coordinating. Thank you very much for everything. Olwyn and Pieta Sinfield, Australia

Of all the traveling I have done over the past 40 years this has been the best. The people we have met - guides, teachers, hotel staff, your assistant, Anabel - so friendly and caring. The sights we have seen have been wonderful and exciting. I am looking forward to returning with my husband, Paul, in the near future and sharing it with him. I can’t wait to get home to try out the new textile techniques I have learned. Thank you for the best tour and wishing you all the best for your next adventure. Helen Frankel, Western Australia

Thank you for the BEST time and like Helen, I have all these ideas running around in my head, waiting to put them into practice. Thank you for showing me the people and the countryside of Peru; it was all so great. Clare Johnston, Western Australia

My most heartfelt thank you Sasha for the most fantastic, incredible part of my life journey. Knowing you and Anabel, Giancarlo, my teachers and my comadres on the tour has been a blessing. I loved the workshops and teachers, their incredible patience and passion, the beautiful work they do. I will never forget them. I loved the sites and all the places we stayed and I’m inspired by you and how you engage with the Indigenous people. I think you are incredible and a total inspiration. I wish you every happiness for your future. Muchas gracias. Lorraine Rowe, Australia

You have created a textile tour for so many fortunate artisans to carry with them for the rest of their lives and possibly, for some, their lives have been changed forever because of the incredible classes they took - me included. I so hope that we can stay in touch through email. My heart goes with you. Much love and happiness on your next adventure. Cass Schorsch, USA

I would like to thank you ever so much for the wonderful experience in Peru. I have had the opportunity to learn so much from some of the most talented people. I wish you all of the best in your future activities - it’s always a treasure to be involved in a new adventure. Best of everything. Janet Bonnell, USA

Many thanks for a wonderful experience, a totally unique tour, that has introduced us all to the wonders of Peru. The teachers on the workshops were inspirational and oh so patient! To work with people of that calibre as teachers and friends is truly a gift. Peru is amazing and I’m very glad to have had the chance to experience with you through your auspices. Thank you!! Pat Davis, Canada

My father (a Scot), would have had a fit if I had said I wanted a Gap year. Now, 44 years later you have enabled me to have the trip of a lifetime. I have always wanted to visit Peru and PUCHKA has enabled me to do and see all that I could want. I has been a FABULOUS trip. As I return to the UK to see my gorgeous grand-daughter born whilst I was in Peru, I have nothing but praise for the fantastic time given to me by you, Sasha, John Alfredo, Anabel, our wonderful teachers, Patricia and Fidel. This has been a holiday of a lifetime for me. Muchas gracias! Pam Muir, UK

This has been a once in a lifetime trip for me and all thanks to you Sasha. The experience has been more than I ever expected and the Peruvian people we met and worked with and were guided by were so friendly and helpful - a real delight. I will love telling all my “fiber friends” at home what a wonderful experience this has been for me. Thank you so much! Maureen Carlson, USA

I am a woman of few words but ..... how wonderful my time in Peru has been. Thanks to you, may we meet again Sasha! From condors (yes! we danced to call them) knitting needles made from recycled bicycle spokes, Huayna Picchu, fabulous, what an experience. I am so glad I subscribed to Wild Fibers magazine or I would never have found you. Thanks so much! Until we meet again. Page Tredennick, USA

Thank you so much for everything that you’ve put into this tour for us - we have so many highlights and memories that will stay with me forever. It has truly exceeded my expectations and inspired me to go on with my stitching. Best wishes, Virginia Lavender, UK

Thank you for your generosity in introducing us to your friends and providing us with unique experiences we would not have found without you. I have learned so much about Peru and about the textile arts and craft skills. I’m sure it will take some time after returning home to sink in. I loved seeing places I had only read about before, but also learning about parts of the country and culture I did not know about. It made me want to return and explore even more. Saludos! Ingrid Finanne, Australia

Thank you for organizing such a tour for such a diverse group of people. It has been a great three weeks. All the best, Jane Markin, Canada

Thank you for the lovely tour. The workshops, without a doubt, were very special. From condors to Machu Picchu - a great experience. Again, thank you so much. Pat Markin, Canada

Sasha, your toast to us at our goodbye party suggest that WE made the tour and while an open attitude is important, you created the experience. I have traveled a lot - but always wanted to visit Peru and this was the perfect experience. Spending time with our teachers - learning a new way of learning - was an experience I will treasure forever. Beyond the shopping and the pictures I took, you created a memorable experience of Peru for me; I will love it forever and hope to be back with PUCHKA again and to share it with others. Thank you for including me. Lisa Morrisette, USA

You planned such a great trip for us, You are so lovely and gracious and took wonderful care of this senior. Much love, Crista Grauer

Thank you so much for shepherding us through a wonderful trip. You put together an action-packed set of experiences with wonderful pictures to help us remember the great time we had. The teachers and guides were lovely too. Thanks so much! Jan Nicholls, Canada

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Thank you so much for everything. Robert and I have enjoyed this trip - it’s been so rich and wonderful on so many levels. We will treasure our memories. Best wishes, Jennifer and Robert, Australia

It was wonderful to return to Peru with someone who could introduce me to the many things and places I missed when I was last there. I’m very happy to have been able to participate in all the wonderful activities and experiences. Great tour guides and places to stay too. Penny Auburn, Australia

Muchas gracias! This has been the most wonderful experience. You have a true gift to involve people and bring out the best in everybody. It’s been a privilege to know you and call you “amiga”. Good thoughts forever, Jeri Craig, USA

We’ve had an unforgettable experience in Peru. It will take several weeks to re-adjust to our quiet life on the island. Our many thanks over and over again. Hope to see you on the island one day! Gitte and Erle Nelson, Canada

Thank you for the trip of a lifetime. One exciting day after another - you make it all come together so beautifully. The memories of our days together will be treasured always and I hope we have a chance to meet again! Much love, Debbi Brunner

In 2010 two friends and myself had "the trip of a lifetime"with Puchka Peru on a workshop tour. We fell in love with all of the talented teachers and the fantastic guides, the countryside and everything else we saw and experienced over the 22 days of the tour. Peru found its way into our hearts and so it was that on April 17, 2012, we boarded the plane for our second “trip of a lifetime”. We had a wonderful reunion with the friends we had made on the earlier trip - such fun and very emotional seeing them again! This time I took both tapestry workshops with the famous master weaver, Maximo Laura and his two nephew assistants, Jimmy and Richar, and learned so much from these gorgeous and patient men. After the 3 day break in the beautiful Colca Canyon where we saw several of the majestic condors and had a good rest, I took the second tapestry workshop and was able to take home 2 small completed tapestries - wow! I was so proud of myself! After we said a very fond farewell to our teachers - it was very hard to say “goodbye” - we were off to Cusco but I had proven that it was possible to have a second “trip of a lifetime” and definitely the possibility of a third!

We were with our lovely and very knowledgable guide, Wilbert who is a Shaman, and to have this very special man explain the history of the Inca as we walked through the old city of Cuzco, with all its fascinating sites, included moments of pure magic for me. The city of Macchu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the world, one which everyone should see and which was the "icing on the cake" with Wilbert and Ruben as our guides. We were divided into two groups! The" hikers" went with Wilbert and the" strollers" went with Ruben. The city is AMAZING and the workmanship is more than that, considering the years during which it was built when there weren't any pneumatic drills to shape the massive rocks! On the last day of the tour we said goodbye to the tour members who were going home while we, the lucky ones, prepared for the 10 day Extension which was going to be new to me. Nancy Goodman, Canada

Right from the first night the hotels were wonderful (and all different to each other) I was very happy to be in a group of like-minded people, all interested in the culture and crafts of Peru. The highlight for me was the workshops. I have been on several textile tours but nothing so immersing as what we experienced in Arequipa. The teachers were all amazing and the works they presented for sale were beautiful and not available elsewhere which led to much excess baggage!! As I chose to do the two tapestry weaving workshops with Maximo Laura I can only say that the experience was wonderful. In fact so wonderful that I am considering returning for more of Maximos teachings!! He is a very humble man for someone so famous and very willing to share his knowledge of tapestry weaving and art in general. Jimmy and Richar were very patient with us too, and stepped in to finish tricky bits as time got away from us! My completed tapestries have amazed my friends!! Another highlight was the trip to the Colca Canyon and the Cruz del Condor....quite an emotional experience. Have I mentioned the 4 hour lunches.... all delicious, ceviche, etc etc I could go on!!! And just when you think it can't get any better there's Macchu Picchu. Once again Sasha thank you for such a wonderful holiday and I’m looking forward to more trips to beautiful Peru! Vicki Hoskins, Australia

We liked the tour from the beginning to the end - the guides, the workshops, the hotels, the food, the visits with artists - everything was really special. The guides were all excellent and we enjoyed our guide in Cusco and the way he showed and explained to us more than just the tourist sites. I would have liked to split myself in two in order to have been able to do more than 2 workshops - where else would we have had the opportunity to work with local artists so closely and become friends with them and in such a beautiful environment! It was so good to be in traditional houses that had been converted to hotels - clean, excellent food and friendly staff. For Peter it was very special to have had his birthday celebrated in the way that you did it and we felt very comfortable in the group, which felt like friends rather than strangers. The excursions and museum visits were interesting, and we saw more than the average tourist groups - the contact with local people was wonderful. Thank you, Sasha. Eva and Peter Knauf, Germany

The workshops were probably the most rewarding experience I've had in my many travels. I felt so humbled by Simona and Leon's willingness and patience in sharing their wonderful skills. It is also worthwhile for us westerners to have exposure to those that live a much simpler life and retain many of the traditional community and family values that are rapidly disappearing in so called 'civilised' western society. I have done textile tours previously and really enjoyed them, particularly Bhutan as it is such a special place, but the opportunity to do the hands on workshops adds that extra special element. I actually didn't mind the drive from Arequipa to Cusco. It is a long day but my travelling experiences have taught me that many of the best sights are seen from a bus window when travelling through the rural areas. We really didn't spend that much time in buses compared to other trips I've done. Also doing it in a larger bus so we all had a seat to ourselves was a great touch. I loved Macchu Picchu and felt a strong connection there and Wilbert did a great job showing us everything and explaining the spiritual side of Macchu Picchu. I'm a bit of a foodie so loved the restaurants we went to and the opportunity to try the best of South American cuisine. I like staying in hotels with character that give you the feel of the country you are in rather than being insulated in the big chain hotel so another big tick there from me. The opportunities you and Puchka provide for the tutors and their pupils are fantastic. I loved the trip and take my hat off to you for what you do with Puchka. Jackie Lynch, Australia

It is over two weeks since I came back from Peru and I am still reeling over all that I saw and experienced. It was a trip of a lifetime. Sasha has many contacts in Peru, which enabled us to see and visit places where no tourist would be admitted. Also, she is very quality conscious, which is a bonus when shopping. My daughter and I purchased some very good quality clothing. The trip was well organized and well thought out for any culture/handwork lover. We saw an amazing amount of artifacts, textiles, paintings, ruins, churches, buildings, wildlife and scenery. (Just to also mention the herds of llamas, alpacas, vicunas and the majestic soaring of the condors). The climbing in many of the ruins was steep and needed long legs (which I do not have!), but I was always given a helping hand. The climb and tour to the top of Machu Picchu took us two hours up and about the same time coming down – there are no elevators! The Incas and their predecessors were amazing builders and engineers. The highlight of the trip for me were the workshops in tapestry weaving with Maximo Laura. My daughter took one workshop in knitting and one in tapestry weaving. The knitting was done with bicycle spokes, with a crochet hook on one end. For a beginner weaver, she did very well with her tapestry. Judite Vagners, Canada

One thing that really stands out for me in my experience with the artists was their ability to blend colours. The most extraordinary ability was with Richar in Arequipa and Vilma who was creating the balls of yarn as an example of colour blending when we were at Maximo's private studio in Lima. The technique and color blending skills were very inspirational for me in my tapestry weaving work as well as for future knitting projects. The whole artists group was very professional, informative and a pleasure to be with. Daina Morgan, Canada

Our time in Arequipa stood out as the joy of our trip. The guest house was the perfect spot for an extended stay, and the most charming location for our classes. Who could not find memorable working with beautiful colours, and with such colourful characters, in the outdoors and under that lovely mulberry tree. Thank you Elena and Anabel! Hans is continuing to practice his pipes. Erwin is an inspired teacher. Thank you for the great Peruvian experience!
Willa Campbell and Hans Strumberger, Canada

I’m on holiday at the moment and full of a cold, ugh, so time by the fire reliving the fun with my photos, wrapped up in an alpaca rug, perfect. The tour was amazing, exploring all those wonderful courtyards and hidden shops in Arequipa (especially the antique shops ) Meeting and working with the delightful Simona and all the other tutors. It took me 4 weeks once I arrived home to be able to digest all I'd seen and done. Thanks Sasha for all of your wonderful organization, everything went so smoothly. Peru will always be full of fond memories for me and hopefully I get to explore it again one day. Julie Howard, Australia

I just wanted to let you know (aka warn you) that in about 7 years I’m going to have to make another trip to Peru with you. I think that would be the greatest way to celebrate my ‘big’ birthday. I know my experiences then will be different from those I had this time but I know the new ones will be wonderful as well. I can’t tell you how many times my body has been sitting in my chair here at the office but my mind has been in Cuzco or Machu Picchu or Pisaq or any of the many other wonderful spots we visited. Even the airports, of all places. Diana Hartzman, United States

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From the very start of the tour I have enjoyed it all; the scenery, the people, the workshops, the buses, the trains; and the “gods” were very kind when we visited Machu Picchu in all its glory. Our guides were superb as of course, was the glorious food. The opportunity to visit the private studio, workshops and home of the wonderful Maximo Laura and then to be guided with such patience by him, Richar and Jimi in the workshops was beyond all expectations. I have learned so much and not only about weaving. Thank you for all the organisation that went into making Peru shine! Anne Alldread, UK

I knew that this was going to be a life-changing experience and it has met and superseded all my expectations. I loved every minute, from the museum visits in Lima, the wonderful workshops and my “bolita” moments, the truly magnificent Colca Canyon, Cusco and of course Machu Picchu. Thanks so much for the care and attention that obviously went into the organisation of this brilliant trip. Am looking forward to going back to Peru next year and catching up with you again. Andrea Newall, UK

Thank you for a busy, well organised trip - we have thoroughly enjoyed every minute, the scenery, country, culture and even a hospital! Our deepest gratitude for giving one of us the best medical attention available, we are forever grateful. We have never visited a place like this and it will be a lasting memory. One recommendation: MORE SHOPPING - we loved it, especially the BAGS! “The Sisters Three”: Esther Sanders, Judi Radke, Rebecca Wrangell, Australia

This has been such a wonderful opportunity for me. I have been able to indulge myself in my passion for textiles. I learned so much from the workshops - new techniques, new friends and I had so much fun. Peru is a beautiful country with beautiful people. For the first time traveling on my own, it has been a great experience. I was apprehensive before I arrived but that soon passed. Thank you! Alison Burleigh, UK

This was meant to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and certainly it has been unlike any past holiday in the delights and insights it has brought. The only problem is, just once in a lifetime clearly isn't going to be enough! Thank you so much for bringing together for us such an inspiring and loveable group of teachers and guides, who have shown us something of “their” Peru to fall in love with. The organisation and preparation has been exemplary and your presence alongside us has been not only great fun but also enabled flexibility and change of plans when necessary. You're doing wonderful things in Peru and it was a privilege to play a small part in them. Thank you so much! Ellie Kemp, UK ( Ellie's fabulous Blog about her experience is at www.ellontour.blogspot.com - Start with “Evolution and move up from there.)

Thank you for a wonderful trip! I have enjoyed myself very much, learnt many new things and met some wonderful people - the country's many contrasts delighted me! Christie Barker, Australia

Thank you for such a well organized trip which ran so smoothly. I appreciated your care in taking us up slowing into the altitude. The teachers for both sets of workshops were excellent and I feel I have so many new friends. It has been a trip of a lifetime - learning about the Peruvian culture and the time of the Inca and meeting so many nice people. Machu Picchu was fantastic and it was perfect to get up early to see the mists and the site before the crowds arrived. Thank you! Barb Powell, Canada

It will take some time for all of the impressions to be “processed”. The tour has been a visual delight, especially the Colca Canyon and Urubamba/Machu Picchu. Working with our teachers and interacting with all the guides, teachers and assistants was a real pleasure. The whole trip proved to be challenging and expansive in many ways. Thanks for creating the opportunity to learn so much and to experience this fabulous culture and beautiful country. Carol Myers, United States

I'm not sure if the fact that my head was spinning was entirely due to the altitude - so many wonderful new experiences, sites and people. We were very privileged that your friendship with some of the best textile artists Peru has to offer has meant that we met, had personal and very fun interaction with and, were taught by such talented people. The smooth running of a tour doesn't happen by accident and your subtle and brilliant organisational skills were very much in evidence. Your obvious love and passion for Peru and its people and desire to share this shone through the whole time. I will go home with a gazillion wonderful memories - thank you so much! Penny Clay, Australia

What fun we had and a grand way to experience a country. Your planning and advice before the tour helped us prepare for and deal with potential difficulties (altitude/ medical). We have learned so much about the people, the textiles and geography. The workshops and guides were great and we loved the Cusco region! Thank you from Bev Ryan and Rick Haskell, United States

Sasha, thank you for opening a door to the people and places who mean so much to you in Peru. PUCHKA Peru is much more than a three-week textile tour! You introduced us to friends: museum curators, historians, shsmans, guides and yarn mill directors, talented weavers of fabulous tapestries, teachers of ancient embroidery and knitting techniques, hand spinners and dyers, restaurant and shop owners and lovely people who smiled and wished us well. When I talked with other travelers during my extension following the PUCHKA tour, I realized again how much you had given all of us who were in your group this year. I am enriched. The colors of Peru now fill my dreams. Phyllis Valentine, United States

You have arranged the MOST wonderful tour and I fully intend to write to Piecework Magazine to compliment the tour. One day was better than the previous; tour companions were wonderful and our teachers were the MOST special people ever. I loved it all and Machu Picchu was the icing on the cake. Words escape me - I am speechless about its magnificence and realize what a very fortunate person I am on all levels. The guides you work with were great, everything was great. Thank you very, very much. You are a really lovely person. Much love, Liz Cochrane, Canada

The tour far surpassed any expectations I had before arriving. All of your efforts and organization have truly allowed for a smooth trip. I have met incredible people from around the world who share a passion for people and textiles. Thank you so much for sharing your love for Peru and its beautiful and very talented people with us. It is certainly a trip to remember that will influence all of my future studies and travels. Thanks so much Sasha! Emily Robertson, United States

We have had a brilliant time, enjoying every day, bringing something new and exciting. We have learned so much and experienced things we would never have seen on an ordinary tour. I can't wait to return to Peru soon and see even more. Love, Eleanor Lister, United Kingdom

What a wonderful time we have had. What tales to tell our friends for the rest of our lives. This will never be forgotten by the two of us. Thank you Sasha. Much love, Ann Gibson, United Kingdom

You are an astonishing organizer ALL the way. I've been introduced to and exposed to so much more than I thought possible, even after all the thorough Notes you sent us. You, yourself, are inspiring and humble with all your knowledge and influences which have helped out the whole group. The group was so much fun and we all got along famously. I have taken back so much knowledge and inspirations for my own students and weaving guilds. Keep up the good work and continue to enjoy. Lots of love, Unni Lorenz, Canada

This has been amazing! I am so grateful to be able to have had this opportunity and I have learned so much about Peru and its wonderful people. Everything went off perfectly but I know how much went into making all the arrangements. You are an amazing organizer. I want to do another tour with you and I look forward to knitting with you in Victoria. Love, Tanya Mintzberg, Canada

I don't know how you can plan such a fantastic experience where each is better than the last. All of it has been so special and enjoyable, to be remembered and savoured in my quiet times (when I have them). Thank you from the bottom of my heart and thank you for the ear rings which replaced the one I lost.
Jillian Brammer, Singapore

Mum (Helen), Dad (Neil) and I have all had an unforgettable experience on your tour. Peru is such a magical place and we all wish to go back and bring others to share in it. Your guides have all been great and Lidia is a treasure. Thank you for sharing your perspectives and love of this land. We will cherish it. Hugs and Kisses, Neil and Helen Brock and Sharyn McNab, Australia

What a trip! We realize your experience and spirit were behind every single day's activities. Thank you! We both appreciate your caring concern regarding general comfort and health issues too. You're more than a "business woman", you're special! Peru is such a special country too. You provided so many opportunities for which the average tourist cannot experience. Thank you again! Now we will go home and try to explain this country and its people. Such is the way cultures can learn about one another. Ann and Erik Wood, Canada

Thank you for the wonderful experiences I had in Peru. Your behind the scenes organization made for a seamless and amazing experience. Also, thank so much for your warmth and conversation. It was all so appreciated. Michelle Kalina, United States

Thank you so much for creating the wonderful tours of Peru. I cannot believe how much I have seen and experienced of that magical and amazing country. I feel so privileged to have met and worked with the people associated with the tour from the teachers to the guides and drivers. I will spread the word and will not be surprised to see friends and family travel with you in the future. Sincerely, Debbie Harris, Canada

This was my dream come true. Your PUCHKA Tour was wonderful and very well planned. I want to thank you so much for this opportunity to see Peru. The tour guides, the accommodations, the restaurants, the workshops, the sites and everything else were all so overwhelmingly wonderful. You were a delight to be with and I am also thankful for all the wonderful people I have met. Thank you, Sasha, for it all. Alberta Antosh, Canada

There really aren't enough words to describe this wonderful holiday!!! Cudos to you, Sasha, for the tremendous organization of it all. Your colleagues, the teachers and the guides were so knowledgeable and helpful to each one of us. I have had so much fun and the "files" are full in my brain. I am now going to get internet so that I can stay in touch with everyone. Thank you again, Sasha, for this trip of a lifetime. I would really love to do it again but if I can't, I will never forget Peru and its wonderful people! Love and best wishes, Nancy Goodman, Canada

Querida, All I imagined and much more. Many thanks for sharing the magic. Judy Filice, United States

Thanks so much for a super experience: textiles, people, food, accommodation, just everything! Also thanks for introducing us to such a beautiful country - altogether a mind and soul expanding experience for me. Cheers and hugs! Betty Swindlehurst, Canada

The organization of the entire trip resembled the magic of the conjurer: hidden yet marvellous. The learning was equally fine but for us the best of all was the “Society of Friends” you arranged as guides. You are impressive beyond compare. Thank you for the trip of our lives. With the greatest of affection. Cathy Thomson and Rick Ficek.

Many thanks to Sasha for making such a diverse group come together and share interests, ideas, theories, experiences.......leaving as one unit of people with common ideas, appreciation of the Peruvian people and culture and a great group of friends. Barbara McIlvain, Australia

Thanks for opening the doors to this country that you love so much and sharing it with us. Special thanks for taking us on this magical textile journey. It certainly has taken me to deeper places that I look forward to exploring more in the future. Many blessings of health and happiness. Jillian Benson, Australia

Thank you Sasha - I loved the workshops and enjoyed the introduction to Peru. Paul Mabarrack, Australia

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With thanks to PUCHKA and Peru for mending broken spirits. Special thanks too for everyone on this tour for just being yourselves. New friends made will last forever, memories will never fade. Marilyn Chown, United Kingdom

Muchas gracias dear Sasha for providing the opportunity for me to experience parts of Peru. So many highlights! This path has enriched my life's journey at this amazing time in which we are living. Blessings! Love, Peace and Joy. Akira Hanson, Canada

To Sasha and the crew from PUCHKA. This has been a most enlightening period and I have thoroughly enjoyed every part of the process. I learnt many new skills, which included how to be quiet and listen intently. I would love to do it all over again (when the other hip has been fixed!). Best wishes and lots of love. Elizabeth McCallum, Australia

Thank you PUCHKA - everyone who made it happen!! An adventure of wonderful experiences and people along the way. Raewyn Bucklow, New Zealand

Thanks to PUCHKA, you, our teachers and guides. I have met new friends from around the world and had a fabulous time!! Susan Olson, United States

Thanks for everything! This trip will always be in my heard and memory. I am taking a part of Peru with me. Thanks so much. Carol Potter, United States

The trip has more than met my expectations (even though I tried not to have any). I so appreciate the close encounter with our teachers and guides. Colca Canyon was very special and Machu Picchu was a life long dream fulfilled. The big plus was making new friends, including you. See you in Revelstoke. Love, Toni Johnston, Canada

What a wonderful trip and experience. Thank for the lovely time. Mary Kowal, United States

Thanks so much for the lovely trip. I enjoyed it a lot, especially with you. I spent a great time with all the group, meeting special people and now I have many more friends. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to see more of my country and its people. Thank you! Love, Lidia Suclly, Peru

Sasha, gracias por darme momentos tan lindas en mi vida y por ello cada vez cresco y me llena de mucha energia para poder seguir adelante y brindarte cada vez mas mi amistad y sobre todo mi amor a tu persona, te quiero mucho por siempre, Wilbert Rodriguez, Peru

What a great time, everything the trip promised beforehand and much more. A fabulous, diverse country, a very polite people and great food – Peru has won my heart, I will definitely go back. Three weeks in Peru brings you down to earth and resets your values as to what is really important in life. The tour and activities were extremely well organised. If you want a holiday where you really experience Peru, and do and see much more than see a few main sites this is for you. Dave Boucher and Margie Newman, Australia

Thank you for the most spectacular adventure I have ever had in my life. This truly was a vacation of a lifetime. I will keep the Peruvian people and all associated with Puchka in my thoughts and prayers for the rest of my life. I absolutely loved Peru, if you ever need another "assistant"...................please keep me in mind. Cathy Jones, United States

What an amazingly fantastic trip! There is only one thing to say - THANK YOU - for the inspiration of PUCHKA - the wonderful variety of activities during the tour and for the memories which will last forever. Thank you so much for all the preparatory information, wonderful organisation of such a variety of things, giving me the opportunity to do such an unusual and fantastic trip and for your company! Ros Phillips, United Kingdom

There have been so many memorable moments to bring home with me to share with my children and workmakes: scrambling over rocks and dodging people to get a good vantage point to photo the condors and have one fly directly over the top of me just close enough to see the feathers and feel the power of the wings. The heights and depths and beauty of the mountains and wonderful Machu Pichu with my legs dangling over the edge of a mountain ledge, looking out at ancient mountains and a llama munching nearby for company. A rainbow making a ring around the sun and looking up at the stars at the astrological place in Cusco. Dancing with the Da Capo people who made us feel very welcome. A rainbow making a ring around the sun and looking up at the stars at the Planetarium in Cusco. Also the the opportunity to spend time with your wonderful friends has made this extra special and a wonderful learning experience. Thank you for puttting together a wonderful and brilliant holiday for me to enjoy. Di Lehaney, Australia

Thank you so much for creating the PUCHKA tour. We believe it is completely unique - everything we hoped it would be. You offered me and others the most fantastic opportunity to experience the textiles, colour and people of Peru and it was the best holiday ever. We fell in love with Maximo, Richard and Jimmy, they were so patient with us and lovely to be with - shame we couldn't bring them home with us. The planning and managing of the tour logistics were excellent and a lot of effort went into making it so. I hope that future tour participants enjoy the trip half as much as we did. We had the greatest time and really enjoyed it. Della Storr and Alex McCardle, United Kingdom.

I am still on a high after the wonderful tour you organized for us - as I tell everyone it was simply amazing. Thank you so much for a FABULOUS time. Maureen Tracey, New Zealand

I do want to thank you for such a wonderful holiday. It was a truly magical time and the credit goes to you for your effort and attention to detail.. I loved Peru, the Peruvians and all the experiences you provided for us. Elisbeth Jackson, Australia

I've been on 2 textile tours since traveling with PUCHKA and what has stayed very deep in my heart is knitting with Rufina and braiding with Leon in Arequipa during my PUCHKA tour. I still use the same needles that were gifted to me in the workshop and think often about the lovely and very funny Rufina and all of the other PUCHKA folks who were so kind, organized and oh so professional. I can't get all those magnificently talented Peruvian textile artists out of my mind and heart and all of the beautiful textiles we were able to see are still vivid in my mind's eye.......not to mention the extraordinary sites, the delicious food and the great guides. I'd get up again very early to see Machu Picchu as the sun rises and hope to do so with you again soon. You are all in my heart and I thank you so much for this wonderful experience and for providing me and others with a way to contribute something positive to the lives of my new Peruvian friends. I learned so much about the world outside of my own and for that I am also thankful! Mary Vaughan, Ireland

You continue to put together the most fantastic trips. Thank You from the depths of my heart. Margy Newman, Australia

Kia Ora Sasha, It was wonderful - a dream trip! Arohanui Haere Ra. Heather McGregor, New Zealand

Gourd-carving was a pure delight. Florencio is a wonderful artist and teacher who takes joy not only in teaching, but in watching the students develop their designs. What Florencio teaches is the technique of gourd-carving, but not traditional design, unless that is what a student wants to carve. He is watchful, but does not direct. He has a great sense of humor and immense patience and charm. Two of us were concerned that the carving might be difficult for our arthritic hands, but after some initial minor discomfort, we both found the carving entirely possible to do without pain-- wonderful. His own work reflects the pleasure and affection he radiates to the world. Thank you for sharing Peru with us all - it was a fascinating trip. Alice Cannon, United States

I cannot thank you enough for sponsoring such a beautiful and rich trip. Every day was special but weaving with Maximo and Richard was the ultimate experience for me. I wish that I had "found" Peru at a younger age as it is a special place culturally and the beauty of the land and the people is incredible. What you do for so many people in Peru is a beautiful thing. Jane Hanson, United States

My second trip to Peru and no less beautiful, informative, adventuresome and so much enlightened by PUCHKA's special mission. Muchas gracias y buena suerte. Norm Hanson, United States

Thank you so much for showing your Peru to me - I certainly didn't realize the depth of the magical spell it casts on visitors. Thanks to the outstanding efforts of all our amazingly talented instructors, and in particular my knitting teachers Rufina and Gloria and machine embroiderer Simona, who despite our language differences, awakened my creative soul - there will be no stopping it now! I sincerely hope to come back soon to the land of the most beautiful Andes and the world of the Condor where I know my soul can fly free. All the people we met and interacted with were so wonderful and helpful and giving of themselves and their culture. None of this could have happened though without all your behind the scenes hard work so that I could enjoy this trip of a lifetime. Thank you so much. See you in Oz!!
Krista Thompson, Australia

Thanks for a brilliant trip. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Robyn Wilson, New Zealand

I loved my knitting and embroidery classes, Machu Picchu, the food, the scenery, the alpacas and my many new friends! Wendy Anderson, United States

A beautiful country seen with a bunch of entertaining, interesting fellow travelers. Our teachers in Arequipa were fab, especially Elena. I go home laden with yarn, hats, bags and very happy! Rachel Lemon, United Kingdom

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you did to not only make the trip happen for me, but to also make it so special. I've never had a surprise birthday party celebration before! I cherish my silver mariposa and it will be a wonderful reminder of that moment of shock I felt when the musicians came into the garden where we were knitting. I met such wonderful people, saw such awesome sites, learned so much and I will carry these parts of Peru with me always. Your fabulous organizational skills, your knowledge, your contacts and most of all your love for the Peruvian people and cultures makes PUCHKA what it is. Thank you for making it possible for me in so many ways. It has been an extraordinary experience. Sara Eart, United States

I really enjoyed Peru - the sights and the people! The happy-seeming children who hung onto their parent's hands. The artists in Arequipa who taught my embroidery and gourd carving classes were wonderful. Barbara McLorg, Canada

What a wonderful experience! I thoroughly enjoyed the workshops and the wonderful side-trips you organized for us. Both the hand embroidery and machine embroidery workshops were wonderful experiences. Although I had enjoyed doing hand embroidery in the past, watching and learning from Elena was wonderful. She was so creative in drawing designs for us, and then suggesting color combinations to enhance the designs. Working with Simona was just as enjoyable, and I learned at least the rudiments of how to embroider with a machine. Her creativity and helpfulness to me in doing something I had not tried before made the workshop a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed both weeks! The knowledge exhibited by the guides also provided an excellent overview of Peru - a land of many wonders!
Linda and Larry Shepard, United States

Wonderful....I really enjoyed the tour and the company. Richard Marshall, Canada

I enjoyed it all - the food, the yarn, the people, the yarn, the amazing vistas, the yarn and shopping for the yarn. Sharon Broadley, Canada

My expectations of the workshops were a series of tutorials with experienced Peruvians in somewhat primitive conditions. What I found was the most wonderful, experienced Peruvians in conditions that couldn't been more conducive to learning and producing finished projects to be proud of. The tapestry class was initially terrifying after visiting Maximo Laura's workshop and private studio. His art is beyond superb and the color combinations are exquisite. How could I possibly hope to create a tapestry using Maximo's techniques? I needn't have worried, however, because Maximo, Richard and Jimmy gave intensive attention to all of us in every aspect of the weaving process, color, design, techniques, as well as creative ideas to incorporate in the design. I have never been so proud of a creation, although Maximo, Richard and Jimmy deserve much of the credit in creating an atmosphere that enabled me to do so. What a life-affirming experience - I saw and learned so much! Thank you for Peru. Pat Mayo, United States

Your guides were wonderful and brought the Peruvian experience to rich and colourful life. Ralph Shepard, United States

The PUCHKA itinerary included plenty of museum visits and guided tours as well as hands on learning. It was ideal for a textile enthusiast like me. The trip was thoughtfully organized as well, with visits to the hot springs at Colca Lodge and to Cruz del Condor coming at the perfect time to take a break and relax between workshops and experience the beauty of the landscape. My favorite parts of the tour centered on tapestry: the visit to Maximo Laura's workshop and studio were a revelation of color and texture, and the intense four-day tapestry class was probably the highlight of the trip for me. Over the weekend I hung my new Maximo tapestry - it is so incredibly beautiful and I am SO happy that I brought one home with me. What a fabulous trip we had!! MJ Lord, United States

It was interesting to learn the Peruvian way of embroidery, both machine and hand. The teachers were enchanting and the lack of a common language didn't hold back the laughter and enjoyment of each session, especially when the cry went up 'bollito's'. For me it was different embroidering with such bright colours that I wouldn't use at home! The setting too was just perfect, the gardens of our guest house lent themselves to our group activities. A great trip full of amazing sights and people; fun making new friends and learning new techniques in embroidery. Angela Webb, United Kingdom

All was wonderful and I am going home with a real appreciation of this country's culture, landscape, food and people. I will be back. Thank you! Ann Senuta, United States

When I signed up for the Puchka tour, the workshops were simply an interesting opportunity to spend some time in Peru with Peruvians. Little did I know that the tapestry workshop with Maximo Laura would become one of the top three highlights of the trip. Maximo, with Jimmy and Richard, two of the best weavers from his studio, spent four days with five students (you've got to love that ratio) helping us explore and understand an astonishing array of texture techniques. Supplementary warp, supplementary weft, wrapping techniques, lines (oh, those many types of lines that add so much vitality to the tapestries), five different ways of joining two adjacent colours, dividing a 2-shaft warp into 2 or 3 layers -- well, the list goes on. We also explored colour with one of the best colorists in the world. We were spoiled for choice with the range of alpaca weft yarns available for our use. The looms were set up ready to weave - what a bonus! We were taught some quick and easy techniques - for transferring the pattern, starting and ending wefts etc. With help from our teachers, each of the 5 of us went home with a completed tapestry approximately 16" square. We learned from watching and doing. And to my mind that's the way to reinforce something in the brain. Maximo, Richard and Jimmy rank among the best. They have left me determined to work on another tapestry very soon. We go home with some wonderful memories - thank you.
Rosemary Wallbank, Canada

Thanks for a memorable journey, Mary Paddon, Canada

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This has indeed been a very special trip for me, not only to spend time with my wonderful friends Ricky and Mandy, but to meet you, the teachers and guides and all the new friends on the tour. But the most wonderful for me has been to leave all the stresses of life in England behind me and to discover again the passion, creativity and enthusiasm for design, knitting and textiles that I have found again!!!! A new venture, an exciting time, all inspired by this trip. I cannot thank you enough for this, I have had a truly amazing time and a huge thanks for all the contacts - much appreciated!! I feel that I will return to Peru soon. Please thank all the teachers for their love, help and sharing with us their wonderful talents. Heartfelt thanks. Claire Pitcher, United Kingdom

What colourful Peruvian memories to have embroidered by 50th birthday celebrations with. Ricky Ramagge, United Kingdom

This has been a very exciting, creative, learning experience that won't every be forgotten. I have learned so much about textiles, the people of Peru, their way of life and as to the workshops, I truly hope that I will be coming back. Elena and Simona are the most gifted, talented, enthusiastic ladies I have been fortunate enough to spend time with. Thank you for the opportunity to experience everything. Pat Gledhill, Australia

What a rare and precious experience this has been for me. I have had a visual, creative, mental, physical and emotional feast and have learned so much. The meticulous planning and briefings, the detailed organisation and care; PUCHKA's interaction with us and our teachers was exceptional, bringing us all closer to another world. It has been a privilege to know all of you and I thank you sincerely. Susan Waddell, New Zealand

What an adventure! Lovely people, wonderful hospitality and beautiful textiles. I feel that I will take a little part of Peru with me and some new friends. Thank you so much! Paula Bull, United Kingdom

The trip was amazing and magical. Beyond expectations - everything I could imagine wanting to happen on the trip was fulfilled. I learned about the love of the land and the people that weave and carve its dreams and memories. I felt only delight and all my desires have been answered. My love goes with PUCHKA on its ever expanding journey. Hilda Brown, United States

With a very well organized and varied tour itinerary we were exposed to amazing sights, cultures and the friendly people of Peru. Susi Reinink, Canada

I feel privileged to have been able to meet and work alongside such talented and beautiful teachers. It was amazing that such a diverse group of participants could have got on so well. I will take home so many memories (and even more photos, let alone shopping!) - the countryside in the Colca and Urubamba valleys was something I will never forget - the ingenuity of the people who have populated this land, the colours, their clothing and art - truly amazing. Thank you for a great Itinerary and for sharing your knowledge. Shelley Foster, Australia

(Our guide) Hilda's pride and passion for the Incas made them truly come alive. Machu Picchu was amazing and breathtaking and I'm still buzzing from the experience. Such fun and interesting people on the trip, who it has been a delight to share the experiences with. I hope to be as energetic and enthusiastic as Susi in 20 years time. Mandy Willis, United Kingdom

I felt honoured to be invited to come to Peru again as your assistant. It gave me so much energy during the cold and long winter in Holland. When the day arrived it was wonderful to meet everyone again, John Alfredo and his family and friends; Maximo, Richard, Jimmy and family; Florencio, Elena, Rufina, Leon and Simona and it was wonderful to do the workshops and be to be inspired by some of the top textile and folk artists of Peru. In every guest house I felt warmly welcomed as a returning friend and especially in Arequipa with Lidia, Karina and the whole staff. Our guides were highly knowledgable and the drivers were very experienced and skilled. Along the journey I met many lovely new (to me) Peruvians and I am going home with lots of wonderful memories. Beatrice de wit Messerli, Holland

As a non-textile-workshop participant/partner I wondered if I would be a "hanger on" but I must say that this was a wonderful experience for me. Thank you very much for organizing some great activities for us. I enjoyed Lake Titicaca immensely, the Uros were beautiful and interesting and our guide was exceptionally knowledgeable. Everything else was exceptional too. Your dedication to us was impeccable and I especially valued the fact that I had nothing to do but enjoy myself. Hope to see all of you again one day. Robert Graves, Sweden

This tour was way, way beyond my expectations. I was excited to travel on a textile tour that wasn't just another textile tour but had a deeper meaning in the context of interaction with the people, providing opportunities for us to participate with one another in such a positive, tangible, mutually respectful and helpful way. What a delight and an added bonus it was to find myself on a tour that was sincerely dedicated to improving the lives of Peruvian textile and craft workers. It was thrilling to me to learn and to see first hand how real the impact is and how delightful and generous our teachers were and how sincere PUCHKA is. PUCHKA doesn't just talk the talk, I learned so much about myself too and I feel honoured to have been a part of this amazing venture. The Itinerary was beyond excellent and all the many extras were so appreciated. So many surprises, so many doors opened and it all evolved flawlessly with great organization. All of you guys are tremendous, I can't thank you enough for your hard work and I'll never forget you! Sheila Graves, Sweden

Thank you PUCHKA Peru for the best holiday ever. When I let go and just stayed "in the moment" as you encouraged me to do, it all became a very special learning experience for me and one that has changed the way I see the world. Who knew that I would learn so much, see so much and experience so much? I'll never forget learning how to knit with recycled bicycle spokes and I'm on a mission to find gourds here in the United States! Rufina and Florencio taught me so much.......beautiful people, beautiful country, gorgeous food and the textiles are to die for.......thank you so very much! Elaine Browne, United States

No words to describe how beautiful and wonderful an experience with the "real people" of Peru. Florencio, Leon, Maximo and all - great textile and cultural tour - great people to tour with too! You are to be commended for putting together this wonderful experience into a world of Peru that more people should see. Gracias por todo!
Norm Teter and Denise Richards, United States

Thank you for the most fantastic tour. The company was great, the sites outstanding and the workshops enlightening and fun. Good wishes, Mary Shiels, Ireland

What a spectacular experience this has been. It is hard to believe that every single day of the 22 days has been packed from morning to night with wonderful experiences, people, food and sights. Sasha, you are a miracle worker! Just when I thought we had reached the pinnacle of the trip - even something more amazing would be scheduled for us. Seeing a little bit of how you work behind the scenes just makes me more in awe of what you are able to accomplish with these tours. I am delighted to have been a part of an endeavor that is so supportive and respectful of the miraculous artisans of Peru. What treasures! Thank you with all my heart.
Lisa Hill, United States

Just like a tapestry, PUCHKA has been a woven picture of experiences never to be forgotten…..every little thread I take with me! With much love, Veronique Garbutt, South Africa

Thank you for the most wonderful trip of a lifetime. It will remain a treasured experience, glowing in my heart with all its facets. I have been touched by so much richness, learned so many new skills, deepened my understanding and sensitivity, and challenged too, in meeting the demands of the unfamiliar. I am so appreciative, Sasha, for this wonderful opportunity to explore Peru and the trip has met my deepest expectations and more. Thank you for your caring attention and for watching over our well-being. My best wishes to you always. Warmly, Ellie Cohen, United States

What a wonderful trip/experience. So carefully put together, a wonderful juxtaposition of workshops balanced against the touring experience. For me it is the people I will not forget….the gentleness of our teachers in Arequipa, the burning passion of our guides and the thoughtfulness of our hospitality folks. I just loved every moment of the trip. Thank you. Maggie Wingett, Australia

Wow! Every night I climbed into bed, my body was tired but my mind raced with all the images, ideas, inspiration and stories I collected each day. This morning I went to put on a t-shirt and noticed a small piece of paper attached to the top with two staples. I love periodically finding these reminders of laundry from Arequipa as they take me back to Peru and PUCHKA and all my wonderful memories. It really is an amazing experience to work with indigenous artesans. I will appreciate this gift you gave me always. Muchas gracias dear Sasha. Risa Friedman, Ecuador (For more from Risa about her experience, please go to her website here)

During the 3 weeks of the tour I was able to see, hear, learn and taste and expierience so much. The workshops with Maximo were fantastique and I had so much fun with the group. The tour is a wonderful combination of culture and textiles. I have seen and heard so many beautiful things. I need an extra pair of brains to store all the things I've seen, done and learned. Lovely! I realize now, how priviledged we are in Holland. Greetings and kisses, Leonie Roebroek, Holland

Fabulous experiences - Peru is amazing. I will never forget having a picnic in a pre-Incan ruin with wonderful friends and two little boys as our guides. Tapestry with Maximo and his talented crew was thrilling! Wendy McHale, Canada

Peru has stimulated all my senses. Its people have stimulated my heart - especially our teachers in Arequipa. Sue Dorn, United States

Photos and Globetrekker videos cannot give the sense of size and expanse of Peru. There are some things like seeing the kilometers of Inca terracing and having workshops of weaving with Panchita and embroidery with Simona that require the "hands on" experience. They are the ultimate in generosity and patience as they taught us what comes so naturally. Thank you for the opportunity! Janet Taylor, Canada

I just wanted to write to thank you for such an incredible trip. It was an absolutely amazing, life changing journey. I appreciate everything that you did to open so many doors for me, help me with Maximo and getting me back to Peru. It is an opportunity that most of my friends would die for and I am eternally grateful to you for making it happen - I will carry it with me forever. Mandy Sproul, United States

What a wonderful trip! Katie and I have had the most inspiring time. The workshops in Arequipa, however, stand out as the best time - being taught by Maximo and the lovely Rufina, Leon and Nancy will stay in our memory forever!! Finding ourselves in the cloud forest for the last part of the trip was icing on the cake. Frankie and Katie Owens, United Kingdom

So glad for the opportunity to see such an amazing country and especially to meet the artists and people helping others. And, yet another delight from Puchka Peru - on my return home and after a long sleep and hot bath, I donned my new t-shirt - looked in the mirror - and there I was wearing a most stunning piece of art! Sonio is incredible! How amazing I thought our trip was and how very much I appreciated the extra, beyond the call of duty attention and help I received because of my illness. It enabled me to enjoy as much as I possibly could. Thanks so very, very much. Jacqui Sanders, United States

A huge thank you for all the organisation of the trip. It was totally wonderful, all the way. Everything was such a feast for the eyes. I have taken many photos, which I will treasure for ever. I have all the Peruvian hangings etc displayed around the house - they look great. Thank you again, so much, for the Puchka holiday. Lorna Cady, United Kingdom

Not a day goes by when I don't think of and savour some of the many memories of our trip. I thank you again very much for providing such a fabulous opportunity to explore and learn about the people, the history and the textiles of the wonderful country that is Peru. Denise Smith, Canada

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We are back in London, suffering only jetlag, and want to thank you for organising such a superb tour for us. We could never have seen/learned/met/eaten so much and so many without your help. Still haven't unpacked our purchases [which arrived intact] but look forward to reliving the experience of finding them. Again, more thanks and very best wishes to you. Sandra Wallman and Wally Baker, United Kingdom

Thank you for the trip of a lifetime. We cannot believe all the wonderful things we have seen & done. The train journey to Puno was very special. So was the lake! We cannot think which part of the trip was a highlight as there were so many. We thought that all the guides on our tour were exceptional. Yesterday I had to prepare a meal!! Today I have to vacuum....shock, horror. Lesley Gould and Wilma Attrill, Australia

Thank you for providing such a wonderful tour. I am sure that we saw the best Peruhas to offer, especially textile wise. I thoroughly enjoyed every day of the tour and especially the classes and the teachers. Thank you for everything. Cathy Statton, Australia

Thank you for providing the opportunity to work with master artisans within such a rich cultural setting. I am taking home new skills and inspiration and with fabulous memories. Karen Lindsley, United States

The PUCHKA tour was such a special opportunity to see and learn and appreciate a new country and people. Thank you! Suzanne Mitchell, Canada

What a totally marvelous and enriching experience! And thank you, Sasha, for planning and giving me the wonderful trip down the coast and the day tours. All of it was overwhelming and exciting. David Wyckoff, United States

Thanks so much for the great planning. All of it has filled my memory bank to overflowing. Nadine Dunker, United States

I/we could not have asked for a more conscientious person as you are, Sasha, for our leader, dedicated to introducing us to so many places and experiences not available to most. I recognise that this was only possible because of your long association with Peru and your personal connections. I enjoyed being taken to the places that we would never have been able to visit had we not been with PUCHKA. The calibre of the workshops and teachers was nothing short of excellent. I really appreciated the opportunity and thank you so much. Wendy Townsend, Australia

The whole trip was a huge and exciting adventure. Now that I have some time to digest and reflect upon it, I am even more amazed at what we did. The calibre, friendliness and patience of the teachers, the guides, the accommodation and staff, and the transport operators was outstanding. All of these threads were woven together by Sasha, who has exceptional organisational skills; the Peruvian background that enables her knowledge of people and places; the textile interest and education that enables her desire to allow others to see and participate in the unique fibre history of Peru; the compassion to create a way for others to help in some way in the recovery of Peru from past political and natural disasters; and the courage and perserverance of a Lioness to undertake group tours. I begin to see how you weave your tapestry.....Peru the warp.....us travellers the wefts. I love it! Jenny Jackett, Australia

The tour was FABULOUS! The textile arts instructors were very knowledgeable and in addition, were delightful people. The opportunity to interact at this level with persons of another country comes seldom in a lifetime. The multicultural backgrounds of the participants was an additional bonus. I feel very lucky to have been a participant and would (and may) do it again. Sandra Cook, United States

My trip with PUCHKA was a perfect blend of exploring the cultural aspects of Peru and learning about the history of the people and their textiles, and the wonderful tuition provided for our workshops Our teachers went out of their way to give me as much information as possible about their craft. I loved the people, the guides, Arequipa, the Colca, Cusco and Machu Picchu was a joy. Thank you again for a wonderful trip, and for making my first overseas trip such a wonderful experience. Joy Cook, Australia

The Trip Notes/Travel Tips and Itinerary Notes included an amazing amount of information and were very thorough and very thoughtful. The workshops were fantastic - good instructors and very well paced. I thoroughly enjoyed weaving and not only hope to do more, but see applications for adding what I learned to my knitting. I would like to come again and do different ones. Thanks for the experience of a lifetime. Pat Wood, United States

PUCHKA is marvellous, incredible and very special and I am very glad that I was on the tour with you. Without your organisational skills this trip would not have been anything like the fantastic experience it was. I didn't have to worry about a single thing - everything happened as it should. The guides, teachers and food were incredible and everything else was too. Margy Newman, Australia

I'm depressed ... the tour is over and I don't want it to be! Thank you so so much for putting together such a great itinerary with its wonderful teachers, terrific guides ... everyone of them, including yourself and Beatrice, and of course for making the place Peru. I keep getting asked what the highlight was and I still can't decide. Thanks again for the adventure, I loved it...Lynncita Stewart, Canada

As I look back, the tour was really super. I feel like I learned and experienced so many new things and found Peru, particularly the Andes incredibly beautiful . Look forward to when I will have the time and energy to interpret some of my photos into a quilt. The workshop with Maximo was really a high point for me and I will be able to use his color mixing techniques in many of my fiber projects. You really did a terrific job of organizing and planning our tour and being able to do side tours between workshops was perfect. Your concern for our comfort and wellness is most appreciated. Lynn Gilles, United States

I think the PUCHKA trip was probably the best holiday I have ever had and I am very grateful to you for making it possible. I enjoyed being with a group of like minded people, seeing some of the country and especially the workshops. Clare Binnie, Wales

I can't believe what I got to see and do! Thank you for making it all happen. I'm starting to work on my photo album/scrapbook and getting excited all over again. Jean Carey, Canada

The quality of the tour was very high, from the hotels and transportation to the well informed and friendly guides. The Trip Notes/Travel Tips and Itinerary Notes were brilliant, informative and thorough and given that this was my first trip traveling on my own, I felt reassured and supported - everything was well organised and there was no reason at all for concern. The workshops were fantastic, all the teachers and their assistants were great. PUCHKA has created something really beautiful to bring joy and indeed practical benefits to many people. Overall, I found the trip amazing - life changing even! Tracey Jarvis, United Kingdom

I really enjoyed the crew in Peru and I am wondering when I will next get a chance to enjoy South America. I just loved the place. Thanks for the fantastic experience of visiting Peru. Jane Gardiner, Australia

To have such lovely and dedicated people teaching us and hosting us - how can I explain that that is as incomparable as the gorgeous scenery? Now I'm spoiled. I think if I ever take another trip I'll need a high level of involvement like this one. Thank you for the trip of trips! Vicki B, United States

My trip with PUCHKA has been beyond all my expectations. My eyes have been opened, my senses have been stimulated and my heart has been touched. Thank you for the experience of a lifetime. Lisa Hill, United States

This trip has been the best experience of my life and I hope to go again. Hardy Hill, United States

The PUCHKA tour will remain with me for the rest of my life as a cherished memory of a great experience. Everything was very well organized, the teachers were unique and wonderful individuals, the sightseeing tours were always a delight with unforseen activities thrown in. Ruth Spencer, United States

What a fantastic tour! I loved every minute of it - the tour, the food, the teachers and mostly the wonderful people and their history. I had the most memorable time. Elona McCubbin, Canada

It's been a fabulous tour - PUCHKA has allowed me to meet some really wonderful and talented people and has been a beautiful way to gain some insight into the lives and culture of this beautiful country. Thank you for a wonderful experience and all the hard work you put into making it magical. Gina Dunford, United Kingdom

I like everything about PUCHKA. Thank you for caring and sharing. With this trip I gave myself the gift of my life. Pavla Barbaric, Canada

It's great that you provide excursion opportunities for the non-textile companions. Thank you for a wonderful opportunity. Jeremy Woodley, Canada

Thank you for all you did to expose us to Peru and some wonderful artists and teachers and for getting us around comfortably and safely. Your efforts were very much appreciated. Catherine Woodley, Canada

The tour gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to fulfill a 50 year dream to experience Peruvian culture, the Andes, Machu Picchu - PLUS - the excellent workshops. Wonderful! I return home fulfilled, taking with me the patience and calm of the wonderful teachers. Mary Weston, Australia

I came for the lessons and have got so much more! There was so much to see and do we won't appreciate it all until after we get home and go through our notes and pictures a time or two. Libby Porth, Canada

My first view of the Andes will remain as the most breath-taking sight of my life. The Peruvians I have met have been among the most delightful people I have ever met. Thank you! Sally Russell, Australia

Muchas gracias and more for organizing a tour that is not only Fair Trade but totally amazing. I have nothing but superlatives to use to describe my experience: FABULOUS and BRILLIANT in every way. I feel renewed and grateful. Hannah Muirhead, United Kingdom

Thanks for all the hard work you put into organising everything - it was all a tremendous experience. Barbara Scott, United Kingdom

The most impressive workshop for me was with Maximo Laura. I learned a new approach in the mixing of color and found it exhilarating. Graham Humphrey, United States

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I have had a wonderful trip, visiting places and people that most tourists don't visit. I will never be able to describe such amazing experiences to do them justice! Patricia Warman, United Kingdom

I had a ball. From the beginning to the end; the textiles and the people who made them, the workshops and all the effort you had put in to make them run so smoothly; your enthusiasm and sensible advice; beautiful Arequipa and the breathtaking experience of Machu Picchu and the sacred Inca stones in Cusco; and the warmth and dignity of our teachers. PUCHKA made the experience it was for me! Vivien Gosden, United Kingdom

I loved it all, every day was as amazing as the previous. I can't believe all the fantastic experiences that we have had. I can't imagine that any other trip could have had the wide range of activities that we had offered to us. This has been a trip of a lifetime. Jane Brunning, United Kingdom

The trip was as adventure on many levels and I will relive the memories for the rest of my life. Thank you for the experience. Patti Ellis, United States

If you want to learn new techniques and visit Peru, travel with PUCHKA. You are in for a wonderful ride! RosaElena Carini, Italy

I loved experiencing the way each instructor expressed information and ideas, the methods of communication without a shared language and general attitude towards materials and techniques. I was amazed at the comfort level of all the places we stayed in, given what we were paying and I didn't expect to master new techniques in such a short time. Robin Muller, Canada

Excellent trip! I can't say enough about all the guides and teachers. Thank you so much for making one of my dreams come true. What made it even more special was experiencing Peru through the eyes of someone who loves the country and the people with such great passion. I have wonderful memories that I will treasure. Christine Shipley, Canada

Thank you for a totally amazing time. PUCHKA and our teachers will always have a very special place in my heart and the influence on the way I approach my own work will be significant – extraordinary textiles, folk art and country. Judy Norton, United States

The Trip Notes were wonderful as was the pre-trip help. Thank you for a VERY special and truly awesome experience. I loved every minute of it and the food was glorious! Sandra Brighton, United Kingdom

Sasha, you stayed in the background, always there if we needed you but allowing us the space and privilege of making our own way with new artist friends, teachers and other very special people – what an incredibly beautiful country. I'll travel with PUCHKA again and with great anticipation. Suzanne Braun-Carrington, Canada

Great food! Great accommodations! Great teachers and guides and what a civilized meal schedule – I hope to keep it! Janet Koppe, Germany

I never felt like a "hanger on" – thank you for organizing such interesting activities for me. It was an experience of a lifetime. Greg Carrington, Canada

Uppermost still is the congenial, tolerant group that you helped create. All of us had to modify and accept – without your humour and respect "in the moment" this wouldn't have happened – the group experience was enhanced by your tact and understanding of each individual….. I was so absorbed in all the activities that all my post cards are unwritten! A superb trip in every way. Jane Hahn, Germany/United States

The workshops were brilliant and everything I had hoped for. The teachers (and their families) were great and so generous with their knowledge – and their smiles! My memories are all of a wonderful time, a beautiful country, good company, fantastic textiles and a great wish to return. Kirsten Glasbrook, United Kingdom

This was a deeply enriching experience for me and enthralling and exciting. The activities you organized while my companion was in workshops were tremendous fun – we'll be back with PUCHKA again someday. In the meantime, my teaching will be better for the experience. Donald Marshall, Australia

This was a trip of a lifetime for me! Your tour is unique – it met my expectations and much, much more. Diane Field, United States

Thank you for an amazing trip! Marilyn Fincher, Australia

I will definitely recommend PUCHKA to my friends. The instructors were, without exception, truly dedicated to their task of teaching me – they were patient and encouraging and their generosity in sharing their skill was awesome. Sheila Hodge, Canada

I appreciated your assertiveness in resolving difficult problems while maintaining the personal dignity of each tour member. Thank you for all the lessons and marvelous workshops! Jane Fitzgerald, Ireland

I really do not want to leave this magical country with its beautiful energy, people, textiles and folk art. Muchas gracias! Suzy Shapiro, New Zealand

Wonderful!!! Everything I was promised and so much more. Catherine Boyd, Canada

I immediately felt welcomed. Everywhere we visited and worked I felt a part of a community of wonderful, talented, intelligent people. Thank you, Sasha, from my heart to yours. Helene La Font, France

A fabulous experience. I wanted to stay forever. Jennifer Moffatt, United Kingdom

Like a professional musician, you made everything appear so easy, yet I know from having traveled before in South America, all the hard work you did and were doing "behind the scenes" to make our time in Peru so special. Liliane Muir, Denmark

My journey with you and this group was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. David Cunningham, United Kingdom

PUCHKA is a class act in every way and Peru was for me a great challenge, a learning experience and a gift. Muchas gracias! Vanessa MacDonald, Scotland

PUCHKA has a very unique itinerary and great style of doing things. The tour was a personally empowering experience for me and one for which I will be forever grateful. Jennifer Smythe, United Kingdom

The weavers blew me away with their skill and it was an honour to work with them. Thank you so much for everything – sharing your knowledge of Peru and its textiles, organizing a wonderful adventure for Doug and me – being there for us – so many times – way beyond anything we could have imagined. Sandra Crompton, Canada

An as non-weaver, the visit to the Chanchamayo Valley, Satipo and Oxapampa was the highlight of the tour for me. I really enjoyed visiting the high jungle and seeing pineapples, bananas, avocados, oranges, papayas and coffee actually growing and Memo was an excellent guide. Doug Crompton, Canada

How can I ever thank you enough for this once in a lifetime trip to Peru? I have difficulty expressing in words how wonderful it was to not be "just another tourist" but to have more of an inside look, meet people, especially your friends, more on their terms. I came home laden down with many stories as well as a suitcase full of textiles. Thank you a thousand times over for going out of your way to make it so special. Doreen MacLauchlan, Canada

I had a wonderful time traveling with PUCHKA and I'm glad that such a textile tour exists that lets one glimpse into the real people and diverseness of Peru rather than just the main tourist attractions. The teachers were great, the food was fabulous as were the accommodations leaving me with a great impression of Peru and many amazing memories. Sylvia Minarcin, Canada

This is a perfect way to travel and to learn all about Peruvian traditions, folk art and textiles. It is a grand adventure and you learn from the best. I felt a very intense connection with all the people I met and was deeply honoured to learn from them. Thank you very much for sharing your vision with me. I had the most fantastic time. Beatrice Messerli, Holland

I'm out of superlatives to describe this tour. Each new turn revealed astonishment upon astonishment.
Marilyn Romatka, United States

The caliber of the artists was top notch and the planning and logistics were superb. Barbara Trengove and Nancy Ballentine, United States

Go with PUCHKA and see the REAL Peru. Marjo Hofland, United Kingdom

Design of the tour was just excellent. Good balance between study and sightseeing. It was a pleasure and a privilege to work with Andean craftspeople and a unique opportunity to share their company long enough to develop mutual appreciation and affection, as well as learn from them. Celia Fairclough, Canada

We arrived well at home, but our thoughts are always in Peru. We feel at home like guests - that shows how far from home we have been with our soul and feeling. We have traveled for 40 years but this was one of the three most impressive tours we participated in! This travel was so intense, that it took 4 - 5 weeks to be back here at home! And with every photo we feel like returned to Peru! Rosemarie and Wolfgang Kaufmann, Germany

Wow! I'm still reeling from all the wonderful activities, people, workshops, archaeological sites, great fun knitting and so much to take in I will spend years remembering it all with such great pleasure. Sharon Youngson, United States

My "off the tourist trail" adventure with PUCHKA was the best tour in which I've participated. I can't believe how much I learned in such a short time. I'm going back with you and soon! Brenda Brookes, New Zealand

My feet are not yet back on the ground. What a splendid time I had and I will never be able to thank you enough or put into words how much it all has meant to me. Elaine Sumka, Australia

Peru is more beautiful and Peruvians more hospitable than anything I imagined before arriving. Thank you for helping me meet my goals for learning to braid and for being so flexible and helpful before I arrived with respect to my needs. I had a fabulous time and was particularly taken with Tarma and our workshops there. Donna Gordon, United States

I came to realize, with great humility, that my country is definitely not the center of the universe and that the lessons I learned from my new Peruvian friends are more profound than anything I've learned in my long life. Muchas gracias for everything! Susan Moore, United States

I thought I knew how to knit before traveling to Peru! I loved every minute of it and was surprised by how delicious the meals were, how delightful the people and how truly safe and comfortable I felt everywhere. What an utterly fascinating country and a fabulous adventure I had all around. Elizabeth Macrae, United Kingdom

As a non-textile participant, as I had hoped for and was rewarded, the introduction to Peru and the land of the Incas by PUCHKA and your travel partners was an unforgettable experience and exceeded my expectations. I have snapshot vignettes of parts of the tour that are indelible portraits in my head. In many ways, certain areas of Peru are reminiscent of Honolulu years ago as I recollect as a child growing up and perhaps I was trying to identify with this feeling. Whatever it was, Peru has cast a spell on me forever thanks to you and PUCHKA tours and I wish you the very best for the future. Charlette Lee, Switzerland

A huge thank you for all the organisation of the trip. It was totally wonderful, all the way. Everything was such a feast for the eyes. I have taken many photos, which I will treasure for ever. I have all the Peruvian hangings etc displayed around the house - they look great. Thank you again, so much, for the Puchka holiday. Lorna Cady, United Kingdom

It really was a wonderful experience - a trip of a lifetime - certainly for me. People are still e-mailing each other and exchanging photos and memories and some of us are going to give talks and slide shows to our local Guilds. But how does one reduce 500+ photographs to a manageable and enjoyable number when I really want to show them all? I wish I was back in Arequipa - what a lovely place!! Elizabeth Hampton-Yates, United Kingdom