What the 'White Christ' sees
Well folks, this blog is about a day trip I did on Thursday May 1st as it was a public holiday in Peru for labour day. They seem to celebrate lots of different 'days' here with fireworks and parties which last all week. Even though this was only 6 days ago, I am finding it very difficult to remember......must be that Alzheimer's setting in lol!
I made my way to the Plaza de Armas by 8.30 to meet Edgar my tours manager. Edgar is a great guy who works really hard at providing trips to those staying at Patricia's. Edgar is not always easy to understand as he talks English really quickly and while you think you are getting a lot of detail, it's not until you are on the tours that you realise that there are some important gaps in the arrangements. Usually this adds to the challenge but having learnt this from Arequipa, I now make a point of being annoyingly specific when making my arrangements with him. So, while I was told Edgar would meet me at the plaza, I fully expected sum random to appear asking me if I was Karen Hicks and then leading me
My view from the bus as we head to the Sacred Valley
somewhere to a bus. Lo and behold! along comes smiling Edgar ready to guide me to the bus that will take me on this magical mystery tour. Very impressive way to start my day!
The bus is fairly empty when I climb on board, and on Edgar's advice, grab a window seat on the right side. The last passengers to arrive are 2 young German couples who then try to rearrange seating so that they can sit together. When this can't be achieved satisfactorily (I mean really, they were the last ones on!) for the rest of the trip they decide to yell comments to each other from one end of the bus to the other. Guess you get some in every crowd lol!
Our first stop is to view the Sacred Valley itself which is just beautiful. Of course where we park there are plenty of locals selling bits and pieces which was very fortunate for me as I had managed to leave my fancy white hat at home. I know Jane, is this some wicked ploy by my subconscious to keep me buying new hats???? Luckily I found one which would do the trick without me
Our first stop
Just reminding you that I'm a tourist
feeling too out of pocket (13 soles = $7, excellent value for a knitted Peruvian hat that doesn't look like a beanie). Really glad I bought it too, as there was plenty of walking around in the sun, which at this altitude really does have a bite to it.
Our next stop was some ruins (of which the name escapes me) and this was the first of many up hill climbs I was to do this day. Views spectacular and our guide was great in providing information (which currently escapes me) on the way the people lived during this Incan time. The terraced farming and drainage system, the social hierarchy and their burial system - which incidentally was all but destroyed upon the Spanish invasion (oh my gosh! I do remember some bits) - provided in Spanish and English. This is actually working out perfect for me, as I try to understand the Spanish and then get to check my understanding in the English version. (oh lord, that sounded like workspeak).
We then drove on to our lunch which was a lovely smorgesboard. After lunch we arrived at Ollantaytambo, which is the base for jumping on the train
The Sacred Valley
I don't think there needs to be any words for this.
to head to Machu Picchu. The ruins here also gave me an indication as to what I might expect on my visit to Machu Picchu and as I looked at the angle of the stairs I was to climb, serious doubts about my ability to overcome my fear of heights crept in. However, off I marched with the rest of the group and found that it wasn't so hard or bad after all and the reward was well worth my anxiety. We clambered over this area for about an hour and then jumped back in the bus. I actually thought we were on our way home as it was around 5pm, but not so.
We travelled onto another little town with a beautiful church (no pictures sorry as they are not allowed) and then went off to see how wool is cleaned, dyed, spun and woven. The cleaning was amazing as it is done with the root of a plant that is grated for its soap properties and literally the dirt/grease just falls off the wool. They also use it as a shampoo.
We then travelled back to Cusco where I wandered back into the Plaza around 8pm
and very casually caught a taxi home. Life is becoming very comfortable here in Cusco. Arriving back at Patricia's, I found everyone waiting for me to go out to dinner at the best Chifa restaurant in town. Chifa is the Peruvian version of Chinese food and is very delicious. The reason for the occasion was that the 4 British girls were leaving on Friday to make their way to Chile before returning home to England. Before reaching Chile, the 5 of us would be leaving Friday night on a bedbus (ugggh!) for Puno around 10pm and therefore would be having a 'family' dinner with the Belgium girls before we left.
Friday we all worked at the 2 year old group - which meant 1 child for each of us! It was quite sad as Emma, Lauren, Kiah & Ros took their photos and said goodbye to each of those chubby little faces. I stayed a bit longer to help with lunch which is a major drama now. We have to climb 'the stairs' (read, "walk up a very steep dirt track with relatively no grip!") carrying an under 2 year old and holding hands with the other little ones.
On getting them up the steps? into the house, we then wash hands sitting on a concrete landing with a bucket, soap & towel. The children then clambered under the tressel table to the bench where they are handed a huge bowl of rice and vegies to feed themselves....eventually. By this stage they are soooo tired we are constantly saying "como" ("eat"). Little Dorcas literally fell asleep standing next me after eating her lunch. There is an awful mess as the children are all encouraged to feed themselves as soon as they can hold a spoon. Heaven help you if you try to provide some sort of guidance! We then make our way down 'the stairs', usually carrying an unconscious child and holding on to others. I used to think I was pretty unco-ordinated and clumsy but after navigating my way under these conditions and not yet lost a child down the track or worse still, landed on one as I have lost my grip, I don't think so any more.
Exhausted by the time I got home, I ate lunch at around 2.30pm and then packed up for the weekend away with my girls.
Stay tuned for
Hey Margo, is this what John is modelling yours on???
the blog on that trip......it was awesome!
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