The never-ending staircase

Trip Start Sep 17, 2007
Trip End Oct 08, 2008

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

We had a bad start for our Sacred Valley adventure.  Erin went the bathroom and I came in right after her to find gallons of water flowing from the toilet tank.  It started flowing over the bathroom floor so I took off the porcelain top and set it down to see if I could stop the water.  It slid down the wall and broke into a bunch of pieces.  Even with the bulb up and the pipe plugged water was still flowing from somewhere.  The guy had to come up and shut-off the water.  We just havenīt had much luck with toilets.  So I went downstairs to use the bathroom and the same thing happened again.  We just donīt have much luck with toilets.  She charged us 20 soles (half a nightīs stay) for the porcelain.  I wasnīt very happy.

We walked down to the bus stop from which we had immediately caught a Pisac-bound bus just the day before.  No bus today.  Finally a bus came and they told us to go somewhere else.  The taxi drivers kept trying to get us to take a taxi for 50 times the price and we said we wanted the stupid bus.  Finally one pointed us to a station down the way where we found a different bus going to Pisac and hopped on.  I donīt understand why simple things are so difficult sometimes.

The bus found its way to Pisac.  The guy on the bus was talking to me in Spanish and told me to take a taxi to the top since it would be easier (Erin didnīt hear this).  However, since one of our purposes was to get some practice before the upcoming Inca Trail, I persuaded her to walk to the top.  The guidebook described the path as a steep uphill 4 km climb.  Piece of cake.

It was market day in Pisac and we planned on buying some cold-weather gear for the Inca Trail and Bolivia (Erin cannot regulate her body temperature).  There are a bunch of stalls all selling textiles and clothing.  Iīm pretty sure they believe that if they say, "Itīs made of alpaca," tourists will take it at any price.  I seriously doubt most of it is actually alpaca.  Anyways, after refusing a 70 sol sweater we got two for 30 each.  Prices may vary. 

So we headed uphill.  It was very steep.  Erin did not appreciate this.  She complained a lot.  The view was quite spectacular however, and we slowly made our way uphill towards the small lookout tower that never seemed to get any closer.  "Why do they put the ruins all the way up there!" she yelled at the sky.  Then we got to the stairs.  She might have killed me if she could catch me.  After quite a long time we made it to the ruins and sat down for a break.  Erin said she had a stomach ache and was not in the least interested in exploring the ruins.  Especially when I crested the hill and saw that the ruins were quite extensive and the parking lot was a long way away.  So she grumpily started towards the parking lot while giving me permission to scamper up higher to the rest of the ruins. 

Scamper might be overstating things slightly.  I was wheezing by the time I made it to the top of the mountain.  The views were amazing and I got to wander around peeking out various windows at the valleys on all sides.  Somewhere in here I lost my sole remaining lens cap.  But really, anything thatīs small and thin and needs to be pried off with two fingers wasnīt going to last long anyways.  So Iīm in the market for other ones.  From the main ruins there were two paths: one up and one down.  I figured I had come this far so I huffed and puffed up.  The silly Incas put towers and lookout posts in such inaccessible places that the paths didnīt even go there anymore.  Iīm pretty sure they could fly.  A little farther on I crawled through an Inca tunnel chipped out of the rock.  Then a cool defensive door across the path.  I reached another area with an Inca castle (the military sector as opposed to the temple sector).  I couldnīt even figure out how to climb up there. 

On the cliff behind the buildings there are thousands of holes carved into the rock.  These were Inca tombs that have been gone over by grave robbers.  There are a bunch of baths up here too, some with running water.  I followed the terraces down to the parking lot was Erin was waiting for me.  Í thoroughly enjoyed Pisac and wandering through the ruins.  Itīs much better to do it independently than with a day tour because you donīt get to stay long enough.  

Itīs very hard to bargain for a taxi ride when itīs very obvious you arenīt going to walk back down the bloody hill.  We passed a check point and both the guys in the front seat throw their seatbelts over their bodies.  The policeman tells the driver to go slowly.  They donīt listen.

Back in Pisac we buy a scarf, hat, and mittens.  The lady proposes 18 soles for the scarf.  Erin proposed 10.  The lady does not argue.  Makes you wonder how much itīs really worth.  We very easily catch a bus back to Cusco.

Here we get fed dinner by some nice guests before heading over to a hostel I reserved a couple months ago for the Inca Trail.  The hotel owner is very nervous about everything and it makes me edgy.  It is very fancy by our standards.  Our "double" room has four beds in it.  But it has cable and Erin drinks in some English television.  The guy informs us that the company will pick us up early the next morning.  This was our "briefing and recommendations."  They were supposed to meet us and give us some information.  Oh well.

Tomorrow we begin the Inca Trail!

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