Sacred valley of the Inca

Trip Start Dec 31, 2011
Trip End Jan 17, 2012

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Where I stayed
Eco Andina
What I did
Sacred Valley of the Inca

Flag of Peru  , Cusco,
Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Wedaa  January 4th we departed Lima for the Sacred Valley of the Incas outside of Cusco. The flight into Cusco was pretty flying in over the mountains and then landing in the Cusco valley. We boarded a bus for a trip through the mountains to the town and archeological site of Pisac. The drive was abosolutely gorgeous! Passed lots of little villages and people wearing traditional clothing.  We got to see our first baby llama!  Above the town of Pisac are anchient ruins from about the same time as Machu Picchu with a large agricultural section and lots of terracing right on the mountain sides. Very impressive, it was quite a site. Of couse to get to the ruins you had to "run the gauntlet" of women and children selling all types of things. It can be a bit overwhelming and there is only so many of the same things one can buy. The women (many with babies on their backs) walk up to 2 hrs from the highlands or down below in the town just to sell their hand crafts. We also spent some time in the craftmarket of the town of Pisac before heading down the valley to Urubamba where we are staying at a nice lodge. At dinner we were serendaded by a family of musicians playing traditional music on the pan pipes.

This morning we were up at 6:30 to head out to Ollantaytambo. The Inca retreated to this place when the Spanish took Cusco and is one of the only places where the I,nca managed to defeat the Spanish in battle. The site served mainly for religious purposes. It's a very cool place and we climbed up many many stairs but the view was well worth it! Really enjoyed that stop.

The next stop was right up the gnomes alley: we went to a chicheria to learn how the locals make corn beer and try some of course! While we were there we also played a 'frog game' where you try and toss coins into a frogs mouth and other holes to score points. We tried a traditional corn beer and one that they mixed with wild strawberries as well. Not bad! From there we stopped at a local school to meet the children and the teacher as well as bring along some pens and pencils and other supplies. A bit of the money we paid for this trip goes to support local schools including the one we visited. While we were there we also taught the kids the hokey pokey which they enjoyed. They also wanted to keep the gnomes! (The gnomes have been a great hit with the tour group and the locals. Some of the kids selling crafts even wanted to trade for them.) From the school we stopped at a local church and then we went to a local market to buy fruit for our lunch. It was a pretty large market selling all sorts of things: corn (hundreds of types), potatoes, fruits, veggies, various meats (including pig snout). It was very fascinating and had a true local flavor-not touristy. From the market we boarded little 3 wheeled motorcycle taxis to go for lunch with a local family. The family taught us how to make Peruvian chile rellenos and boy was it good! Its made with a peas, carrots, raisins, a little queso (and other things we can no longer remember). We also had quinua soup, a squash dish, corn, potatoes, and cuy (guinea pig - they dont taste bad but there is definately not a lot on them). It was all excellent and again we are very full.

Right now we are relaxing and repacking our bags for the trip to Machu Picchu where we only take an overnight bag and leave the main luggage since we are taking a train and there isnt enough room for all our crap. Tonight we are having a talk about mysticism and then going out to dinner for Peruvian rotisserie chicken.

Internet service has been a bit sketchy but we are hoping to have more pics soon (dont worry we only have taken about 500 pics each thus far:))
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