The Sacred Valley

Trip Start Jan 08, 2007
Trip End Mar 13, 2007

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Today we went on our Sacred Valley Tour.  The Valle Sagrado (The Sacred Valley) of the Rio Urubamba, is 15 km north of Cuzco.  The valley´s attractions included the Inca citadels of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.  The main agricultural crop in The Sacred Valley is maize (corn).  You can buy huge cobs of maize with a slice of cheese for like .30 cents.  It is served cooked but it is cold and you can pick the kernels off a few at a time or eat it right of the cob.  Our first stop on the tour was Pisac.  Pisac is a village alongside the river and there is an Inca site located on a mountain spur 600 m above.  We had to hike a bit to get to the ruins along a path that climbed through terraces.  The path was on the edge of a cliff so you had to watch your footing and some of the path became quite steep with alot of stairs to climb.  At the top of the terraces was the site´s ceremonial center, with an Intihuatana (or hitching post of the sun), several working water  channels and  some mansonry in the preserved temples.  Then we saw a series of ceremonial baths and a cliff behind the site with hundreds of Inca tombs that were robbed by grave robbers. We also saw the Sun Temple and a sun dial.  Next we drove to Calca, a small village for lunch.  Everyone was served a buffet style lunch.
Our next stop was Ollantaytambo.  Ollantaytambo is dominated by the massive Inca  fortress above.  This Inca fortress is the best surving example of Inca city planning, with narrow cobble-stoned streets.  There are steep terraces guarding the Inca complex.  Ollantaytambo was both a temple and a fort to the Incas.  The stone in the ceremonial area was quarried from the mountainside 6 km away.  Moving the huge stones involved the sweat and blood of thousands of Inca workers. 
Our last stop for the day was at Chinchero.  Chinchero is known as the ´´birthplace of the rainbow´´.  Chichero combines Inca ruins with a typical Andean village and an elaborate colonial church on Inca foundations.  There was also a market set up around this area.  Mike and i ended up buying a beautiful hand woven blanket.  
After our return we were exhausted again.  We turned in early as we needed to get as much rest as possible for the beginning of the 4 day Inca Trail tomorrow.
 The Inca trail tomorrow baby.....should be amazing as we hike our way along ancient Inca trails built also by them with our destination after 4 long days of hiking.......Machu Picchu!!!!!!
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