Saqsaywaman, Pizac and Cusco

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February 12th 2012
Published: February 13th 2012
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Inca stone-building
Got up for a 6.00 am breakfast as we were leaving with the group at 6.30 am for a trip organised by a local agency, subcontracted by Dragoman.

Most of the group were sorting out their luggage for the trek and had been given dry duffle bags by the local agency, Andina Travel, who were organising the trek. Many of the group had been shopping the day before as so many of them seemed ill-prepared for the trek. One person bought brand new leather walking boots, a few others waterproof overtrousers, thermals and someone even bought a waterproof coat as had come away with no coat at all! It really is cold here at night and Jo is cold even with two fleeces, a long sleeved shirt and her purple Mountain Warehouse coat. We seem to have all the equipment necessary although we are not trekking. Our warm sleeping bags will certainly come in handy on the Bolivian altiplano! Quite a few people have had to rent warm sleeping bags solely for the trek...

Left at 6.30 am and drove 15 minutes out of town into the mountains to Saqsaywaman which overlooks Cusco (now renamed sexywoman by one of

Bread-making in the market
the group). This is an immense ruin of religious and military significance with three tiers of zigzag fortifications. We were taken down a very dark tunnel but had to backtrack as the people at the front said it was pitch black and they couldn't see to put one foot in fron of the other and wanted to turn round and come out. We then walked round the tunnel on the outside. Only in the last few years, has the site been protected and prior to this, many of the stones were used for local building. This was a really dramatic site and the views from the top overlooking Cusco were phenomenal.

Then drove a further 30 minutes round a winding mountain road to the village of Pizac nestling in the middle of a valley.

Drove another 15 minutes up from the village to a ruin of an Inca citadel overlooking terracing that have provided vegetables, i.e. corn and potatoes for centuries. There are Inca tombs built into the walls which have all been plundered. In Incan days, people were buried with all their treasures and things to have these to take into their next life as they believed in reincarnation. We walked up many steep paths/steps to the higher level buildings which were owned by the priests. Again, once we had recovered our breath, the views from the top were stunning.

Following this visit, we visited the local market. There are only three days of the week on which Pizac is teeming with people and that is Market day on Sunday and a craft Market on a Tuesday and Thursday. Although today was a Sunday and supposedly the busiest of the week, there weren't hoards of people around. This was a large market with every conceivable tourist item from material bags, ponchos, purses, alpaca rugs (which are so lovely and soft) to scarves, jewellery, etc. You name it, they had it but we didn't buy it!!

Had lunch on the second floor of a restaurant with views overlooking the market square. This was included in with the trip. However lunch was too early for us, around 11.30 am - quinoa and potato soup (which was extremely good) and a chicken curry (which wasn't and got left on the plate). We tried Inca Cola (a soft drink bought out by Coca Cola) which is only sold in Peru. It is a rather vivid yellow and tastes a cross between cream soda and bubble gum. Needless to say, we won't be reordering it!

The rest of the group left to commence the trek. We were not envious as by then we had donned full rain gear as the rain was almost tropical although it was cold.. Had another quick wander around the market before deciding to catch a local bus back to Cusco. We were waylaid by someone selling spaces in a shared 12 seater minivan for 1GBP each instead of the bus fare which would have cost not much less and would have taken twice as long. We were dropped at the end of the route about half a mile from the Centre which we were aware of and luckily was sign-posted.

A further loo stop and latte at Starbucks and back to the hotel.

Rested a while and walked down the road towards the centre. Neither of us could be bothered to go far, so found a restaurant with people already eating (as most of the restaurants we passed were empty) and shared a pizza.

Back for an early night.


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