Back in Cusco
Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
162Trip End Dec 18, 2011
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The next day we headed to Pisac, one of the Incan sites of the Sacred Valley. We were pretty slow moving once again and didn’t make it to Pisac until about 1pm. We grabbed a menu del dia in the village and headed up the hill towards the remains. We didn’t really know what we were coming to see and were very impressed as we kept finding more and more buildings and terraces as we climbed higher and further into the hills
We finished our Inca education with a trip to Ollantaytambo, the second most visited Inca site after Machu Picchu. Obviously we were late again! The hostel we had stayed in for our 9 nights in Cusco was full when we tried to extend one more day so we had to move for our last night. We booked something but when we arrived they didn’t have our booking. After some faffing they were able to accommodate us but it was quite late when we eventually got in the bus to Ollantaytambo. Totally someone else’s fault this time! It’s an hour and a half drive to the town, and after we had some food it was 3pm again before we started exploring. It wasn’t anywhere near as impressive as Pisac though and given the number of tourists there was actually a queue to climb up onto the ruins which ruins it somewhat. I think we were all a little Inca’d out by then because we stopped every 2 steps to have a chat about something completely unrelated and then moved on another couple of steps
We were up and out surprisingly quickly the next morning, not just because we had to check out but because Lucy had found out about the Choco museum and the 2 chocoholics (Lucy and Liz) had booked us in for a chocolate making course. No way would they be late for that! The course was good fun. It started with a bit of info about the coco tree and types of beans and stuff but before that we all donned our aprons so we really looked the part. The first step we actually did was roasting the beans. Everyone had a go stirring which took a while with 13 people in the group. Next we had to peel the husks from each of the beans. A pretty labour intensive process to be honest. We then used the husks to make cocoa tea which tastes like very weak hot chocolate but is pretty tasty. Next we were each given a mortar and pestle and had to grind a handful of beans into a cocoa paste. We were then shown how the Mayans first used chocolate as a drink. They mixed it with water and sugar and then in order to mix it and create froth they poured it back and forth between jugs from as much of a height as they could
That night we finally left Cusco which was starting to feel a bit like home for us. It’s the longest we’ve spent in one place so far on the trip but it definitely kept us entertained. If you can get there for Inti Raymi it’s definitely a lot of fun, even though the place is pretty packed. And all the ‘local’ tourists in town make it feel a lot more authentic than when it’s just full of white faces.