Published: November 16th 2010November 13th 2010
WE aren't actually in the jungle now, but we will talk about the last few days, and then do a short blog to finish off our time in South America....scary hey??
So, going back a few days, all the way to Tuesday, 9th November, we woke up in Cusco, and went to bed in Cusco. Between those hours though was a lot of fun, and then a fair bit of pain!! Lets start with the fun!!
Brekky was again a nice experience, Mischa is loving the fried eggs on toast with cheese, ham and butter!! We then jumped into a mini-van with our Machu Picchu guide Raymar to head through the Sacred Valley...First stop though was an animal refuge place. There it rescued animals mainly from the black market or from hunting, and brought them back to full health to eventually send back out into the wild. Some of the more amazing animals we got to see (other than the llamas, parrots, macaws, deer and turtles….) included the puma, the Peruvian-hairless dog, a bob-cat that had killed it’s own mother (fight for fun), a falcon and the giant Condors. These birds have a wingspan of 3m, and as you can see,
they came fairly close!! Luckily they only eat dead animals!!
After a great experience, we then headed about 5mins down the road to a llama and alpaca farm. There we got more information about how they get the wool from the alpacas, and how they dye it from natural ingredients. One of the most amazing ways was from this cactus, once rubbed on a hand turned purple, but once lime juice was added, it turned orange. The photos show how many colours they can make the wool into!! Obviously there were also loads of Llamas and Alpacas, but also there were Vicuna, which is actually the best and most expensive wool you can get!! Jess also made a very close friend with a baby llama, who decided to eat her food through the fence, and then continued to finish it off when we got into it’s paddock!! Very cute though!!
After that, we headed to the town of Pisac, home to some very old Incan ruins. These ones were right up the top of the hill, overlooking the Sacred Valley and had a great view all around. It was also a huge agricultural ruin, with the countryside covered in
terraces where they could farm. There were also over 5,000 ‘tombs’ in the hillside, hopefully you can see in the pictures. They don’t look like it, but all the ‘holes’ in the side of the hill were actually ‘tombs.’ There isn’t much left in them after the Spanish stole all the artefacts in them, and we weren’t going to go check as it was blowing a gale and freezing. Still at 3800m remember!! From there we went back down the Pisac to have some lunch and then have a walk around the markets. Jess found herself a different styled beanie (so she didn’t have to look like Mischa..) and then it was onto Ollantaytambo.
This place is another Incan ruins place, but gets the name an interesting way. It means ‘resting place of Ollantay’ as he was a poor person in Incan times, but fell in love with a rich girl. She also fell in love with him, but as they couldn’t get together because of wealth reasons, he decided to impress the girl’s dad by helping conquer the Spanish. But even after helping in the war against the Spanish, the King still did not consider him good enough for
his daughter, so Ollantay came to this place to be away from the king. People oppressed by the same king also made their way to Ollantaytambo, until there were enough to scare the king into battle. They went into battle, but it was too hard for the kings men in, so one of them pretended to be on his side and be injured, so was allowed in the gates to be looked after. At night, he escaped to open the gates and allow the kings’ men to capture Ollantay. He was held in prison until a new Incan king let him loose and allowed him to marry his old love, and they lived happily ever after in Ollantaytambo….the Peruvian Romeo & Juliet story!! The ruins were very interesting, but we were probably ‘ruined’ completely, so after a long day, we headed back into town…for an interesting time ahead!!
Once we were all cleaned up, we needed some money, but weren’t able to withdraw any from our travelex card as we hadn’t moved money onto it earlier enough….to our own demise!! Mischa worked out he had forgotten his pin number, so after a big ordeal, finally got a mate (thanks
Sean) to get it for him, but then because he had used 3 wrong ones, the account had been disabled anyways…painful. Also, while this was happening, Mischa was on the phone in a shop talking to the bank, and as he leaned on a glass shelf, it went shattering to the ground!! In the end, we still had no money, broken glass and so had to borrow some for dinner and our trip to the jungle…which is in the next blog!!
There are more photos below