Our first adventure into the Sacred Valley...

Trip Start Jun 16, 2009
Trip End Jul 07, 2009

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Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Friday, June 19, 2009

This morning, after a full day of recovery, Jared and I set out on a tour booked for us through our amazing "host mom" Alicia (front desk woman that we absolutely love).  We really had no idea what to expect, but we trusted her!

We set off around 8:30 and our bilingual tour guide informed us that we would be heading to the Sacred Valley of the Incas today.  We drove about an hour and a half outside of Cuzco in and out of beautiful mountains - nothing like the Rockies.  The mountains here are huge and very round at the top and have a reddish-brown color to them.  They are extremely steep and every now and then you actually see native Peruvians working on their fields on the sides of these steep mountains.  Peruīs major crops are corn and potatoes.  If I remember correctly, Peru grows up to 400 different varieties of potatoes and 200 of corn.  The corn grows to be about 10 feet high and grows right on the side of the mountain.  Itīs really incredible to see.  Weīre so used to corn being a flat, Midwestern crop.  The corn here is shorter but with huge kernels.  On the streets, they serve "choclo con queso" (corn with cheese).  They boil the corn in a huge pot, take a piece out for you, place it back in the corn leaves and top it with cheese.  We havenīt felt adventurous enough yet to try it, but weīre toughening up our stomachs to try it next week.

When we arrived at Pisac (or Pisaq), we were amazed at the remaining Inca terraces that were still built into the side of the mountains.  Our tour guide got us out of the bus and told us that we had about a 2 hour hike round trip ahead of us and that we should bring our water and stop when we needed a rest...most of it was going to be uphill!  The hike was hard, but he stopped us for pictures and to explain a lot of things about Incan culture.  When we finally reached the top of the mountain, we saw the coolest ruins that we had seen all trip.  Almost an entire village was still intact just hanging out on the side of a mountain!  We were approx. 3,400 meters above sea level and didnīt even feel a hint of a headache, which was great.  I think the coolest part of this stop was to see the water system created in the 1400s was still working and the water running through the ruins is pure, glacier water that has been running since that time. 
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