Thanks so much for your comments. This is such a fun way to stay in touch and allows you to travel with us if you like. After a week in Cusco, we made our way to the Sacred Valley. This is an area about an hour or so north of Cuzco which follows the Urubamba river and is rich in Inca sites, for example Pisac, Moray, Ollantaytambo and finally Machu Picchu. Now out of Cusco, we have dropped in altitude although we had adjusted well while there. We stayed a few nights in the town of Urumbamba as we thought it was a good jumping off point. The town is a bit dusty as it´s very dry here and many of the buildings are made of adobe bricks. However, once we step into an internet place, we find it´s full of young school boys under 13 all playing the usual shoot em up video games on the computers. We find the fruit and vegetables here very fresh, as they´re local, or not traveling great distances. We visited Moray, a pre-inca agricultural site, said to have been a testing ground for growing produce under various micro-climates on each terrace. For these two nights we stayed at a place just out of town owned by a German woman and her Peruvian husband. They had built their home and guest houses over the years while raising their family and are now faced with the problem of an empty nest as their children are all now off to college. To get there we hop a motor-concho from town which is a motorcycle with a carriage built on it to hold two people. It´s fine until we start climbing, and we have to walk the last few 100 meters to the hostal.
We took a cab the next morning the the town of Ollantaytambo about 30 miles away. This is the site of the Inca fortress which the town is named for. We explored the structure for the rest of the afternoon. This is the site of one of the last stand-offs between the Incas and the Spaniards. The following day was a celebration at the site with a re-inactment of an Inca drama, costumes and all. Also attending was a contingent of indigenous women from a nearby village. In the small villages nearby the native language is Quechua, not Spanish. That afternoon, we hiked to the ruins on the hillside across from the fortress. A young boy volunteered to show us the start of the trail and assist along the route. These buildings were thought to have stored grain which was grown in terraces on the hillsides. On our final day, we booked a 5 hour trek through the valley to a pre-inca site called Pumamarcha. We had a guide who led the way through the streets and off to the valley to climb the heights to the site. Thank goodness the horses here are much smaller as the trail was very narrow in spots. The views are amazing. Very dry now, as it´s the winter, so nothing is growing in the fields below. After 2 hours of seeing hardly anyone, we reach the site. Along with the caretaker, and a few women selling goods, we come across a group of Americans about to have some type of spritual ceremony (to honor the mountain god of Apu) on the site. We kept our distance and munched on our fresh oranges and chatted with the caretaker (yes, in Spanish)
We´ve made our way back to Cusco (another taxi) and plan to take the train on Monday morning to Puno which is the small town on the edge of Lake Titicaca. We´ve splurged on the train, going first class as it´s an 10 hour journey and considered one of the classic train journeys. We´ll be climbing to 3856m, the highest navagable lake in the world, so we expect it to be fairly cold on our arrival. After a few days, we´re heading to Arequipa near the Misti Volcano the Colca Canyon and eventually to north Peru and into Ecuador. We´ll keep you posted along the way. hasta leugo amigos! p,s, I´ve had a little technical difficulties with the photos, so I will update in a few days from Arequipa.
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