Ruins and Villages

Trip Start May 08, 2011
Trip End May 16, 2011

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Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Friday, May 13, 2011

  Friday was my low energy day after the excitement of Machu Picchu, and I took it easy, skipping parts of the walks and taking the easier options.  At one point I even dozed off in the bus for an hour and a half.  Up here it's best to listen to what your body is trying to tell you.  As usual on a Walking Adventures tour, there are lots of opportunities to see how ordinary people live, and not just visit the standard tourist sites.  On this day we walked through a lot of charming little villages and farms.  One of the amazing things I've noticed out here in the countryside is that people seem to dress very warmly, despite the temps in the 60s, and the hard work they are doing.  Everyone seemed to have on at least one woolen sweater, several skirts, and a jacket.

The great thing about Peru is that even if you don't climb to the highest peak, there are still plenty of wonderful things to see.  The little town of Pisac was charming, and I made it up as far as the viewpoint to see part of the Pisac Inca ruins.   After the walk we had lunch in the "modern" town of Pisac, where there is a huge market in the town square.

After lunch the walk continued on a trail along the Urubamba River, ending in the town of Coya.  I opted to skip most of the walk and strolled around Coya, enjoying some people-watching (and animal-watching).  I took a short walk along the river, enjoying the unusual greenery, like the orange flowers whose name I've forgotten--something of the mint family!  Whatever they're called, they seem to be a special attraction for the giant iridescent-blue Peruvian hummingbirds. 

In case you thought I was kidding about eating guinea pig, here is a poster for the annual Cuy Festival--they not only have prizes for the best recipe, but they run cuy races and dress the winners up in brightly-colored woven woolen costumes.

After returning to our hotel, we drove to a special dinner in the town of Ollantaytambo.  The restaurant was in a private home and featured a selection of local specialties--here's Karen showing us the wild tomato that was served for dessert.  It tasted more like a persimmon than a tomato and was served in a tangy sauce.

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