Published: September 20th 2012September 20th 2012
Cusco is quite something. Lots of traffic and little streets all with cobble stones. Lots of street sellers and shops everywhere. Still feeling awful but will go on the tour today as it is mostly by bus. Visited the Convento De Santo Domingo and toured a number of sites but didn’t take many photos as stayed in the bus all the time and rested. We are coming back to Cusco after hike so will take lots of photos when we return.
Left Cusco today and drove down to Chincero. Very nice place and great shopping. Very high at Chincero – higher than Cusco but feeling okay so happy to walk around and take photos. After this we drove down to the Mara Salt Pans. The road is like a fire trail but nothing on one side except the valley floor. Incredible place – the salt pans are owned by families who harvest the salt to sell. The salt comes from a salt water stream in the mountains and it is channelled to the various salt pans. From the salt pans you get a great view of the Sacred Valley where we drove to next
and had lunch at Urubamba. After lunch we drove on to Ollantayambo where we checked into the hotel. The roads are so narrow that vehicles have to take it in turns to drive down the road. The police are out in force to control the traffic. We all had a walk around as it is a fascinating place. Did some shopping at the local stores. Lots of nice things here.
Our view from our hotel room is unreal. Looking straight out onto the mountains. We all had dinner at this great restaurant where the portions are huge but the food is excellent. Tomorrow we are going on a tour up the mountainside and then having a bbq lunch.
Ollantayambo is one of the few cities that still maintain the urban-Incan planning. It is divided in two parts by the Patacancha River; the first one (to the east) has an octagonal shape with blocks of different sizes, and the second one (to the west) has a ceremonial character, and is the place in where the square Mañay Racay, also known as Aracma Ayllu, is located.
The first part of the town has a grid-shape
design, with narrow streets that open up towards the Urubamba River. Each block or square is composed of a group of houses that share the same door to the middle yard. They are made of edged stones jointed with rubblework clay mortar and adobe covers.
Originally, they used a suspension bridge made of braided ichu or maguey fibers that had to be renewed every year. Nowadays, the bridges that cross the river are built on two huge pebbles and are made of large stones. We visited the Royal Temple of the Sun, nice steep climb up to the top. (See photos). Great view from the top. For lunch we had a typical Andean bbq. They make a fire in the ground and cover it with stones where it left to burn for a few hours until the stones are ready to pop. Then they remove the stones and put the meat and vegetables into the pit and cover it with stones again and layers of paper and hession and then dirt and let it cook for 1hr. Spent the rest of the day walking around looking at the houses and streets and shops and then packed for the
trek tomorrow. Will blog again after the trek.
There are more photos below