Published: September 13th 2007July 12th 2007
PISAC MARKET DAY
The many different dyes that are used.....all made from natural sources....and the lady selling them
So by now I bet half of you are saying....What more Inca ruins?.....well I get where you are coming from because the whole ruins thing was starting to loose momentum for me as well. Before that was to happen though I wanted to see as much as I could and that included towns and sites that are located in the area called the Sacred Valley - otherwise known as the Valle Sagrado of the Rio Urubamba. The area includeds many Inca sites along with frenzied markets and high-altitude Andean Villages.
Firstly I returned to the town of Ollanytaytambo to visit the ruins that I missed on my last visit. The ruins/fortress are situated right at the end of town on a hill and involved me again hiking up countless stairs to take it all in. By this stage as I said the ruins were wearing thin on me but what I loved was being up in the mountains, taking in the views and breathing the fresh air. My experience of this town this time is extremely different to the peaceful time I had before. On my last visit I had spent the morning hanging out and left around lunch time...this
The town of Ollantaytambo from the ruins
time again I had hit tourist peak hour and the town was just not the same. Anway back to the ruins.....the town is situated at 2800m, so breathing is hard, the ruins actually mark one of the few places where the spanish lost a major battle, when Manco Inca threw missiles and flooded the plain below. The ruins were a fort but also just as much a temple and has a finely worked ceremonial area sites on top of the terracing that leads up to the main part of the ruins. The stone was quarried from the mountainside high above the Rio Urubamba and you can still see where the rocks were rolled down the hill.....again a hell of a lot of work to build.
I spent my time here just wandering around the site and again trying to take photos with the least amount of people in them as possible. The view from the top of the ruins actually gives you a great view of both sides of the valley and it is no wonder that the Incas choose to build their fort there. I ended my day by indulging in a couple of glasses of red wine
View from the main part of the ruins....and the valley that Ollantaytambo is in...notice the ruins on the other hill
while watching the world go by along the beautiful cobbled streets.
A few days later I ventured off to a small town called Pisac, it was Sunday which meant market day.....pity that I couldn´t justify spending any more money. After an hours bus ride through the Andes we descended down onto the small town and found the markets in full swing. Not only do they have a tourist market but it is the main market day for the locals who come to town to buy and sell their produce. That was my favourite part of town and just wandering around that area made me smile. So much colour and activity going on and a real hub of energy.....I intended on returning another Sunday to just hang in the market. So I did have an option to take a taxi, at tourist price mind you, up the to the entrance of the ruins or take the other option of walking the steep 4km path to the ruins. You can probably guess what I took, along with being a tight arse backpacker I am also missing doing regular exercise so the hill sounded like a good option. To help me along
Ceremonial area....these stones where around 12 feet high and chiselled to perfection
I could hear someone playing a flute or similar instrument as I started my walk up the steep hill....as I got closer to the source I saw that it was a local guy playing with the aim that I might hire him to be a guide at the ruins. People are ingenius sometimes with how trying to make money! The views again were amazing and as I made my way up through the terraces I started to be able to see the ruins. This site is again on the top of a hill and is an Inca Citadel on a plateau with a huge gorge on either side. At the top of the terraces is the ceremonial centre, with an Intihuatana (hitching post of the sun), several working channels and again some great masonary inside the temples. On the other side of the ruins to where I entered there is a spectacular path that leads around the mountain and along cliff hugging footpaths defended by massive stone doorways, staircases that make you dizzy and a short tunnel made out of rock. It was amazing to walk along this path and at times I had to take my time and get
Throughout the all the Inca ruins they would build these windows....think it was used for offerings to the gods
my balance before continuing as there was no room for error or tripping on a rock. Again tourist peak hour coincided with my arrival but I was so overwhelmed by it that I just sat on top of a small hill and watched all the people herded in and out within 20 minutes and sent back to their bus for the next site...after they left it was much more pleasant to wander around the site. By this stage I was all Inca out and I enjoyed mostly the view that you could get from the top of the hill.
After a walk back down the hill to the town and a small time to take in the market day acitivities I had to jump back on the bus bound for Cusco because I had to work that night. Another wonderful experience in the mountains with beautiful people, a lively culture, awesome views, sunshine and more Inca ruins.
There are more photos below