Day 4 : Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley
Most people visit the Sacred Valley as part of an organized one-day tour - so we thought we would too. You can do it on your own by local bus, but we heard it was a horrifying experience - guaranteeing you at least 1 break down and half a tour. We learned a lot about the culture, saw a lot of sights, Indigenous People, Ruins and bought a lot of "stuff".  And to boot, We got to try a little back country Inca moonshine along the way called Chicha ...mmmm. The tour includes a visit to the market at Pisac, a stop for lunch in Urubamba, a visit to the beautiful Inca village and fortress of Ollantaytambo and a quick stop at the Quechua village of Chinchero on the way back to Cusco. There are plenty of ruins to keep us ruin-tertained. You'll find plenty of tour companies in and around the Plaza de Armas in Cusco offering these tours costing $15 but they do not include tickets and food. For us, $25 for a pooled service which included our meals and entrance fees to the ruins. We bargain!

We leave for Machu Piccu tomorrow morning. 4 days 3 nights. And currently planning an Amazon trek now to what is known locally as "Virgin Jungle". So virgin in fact, we are the first ones to take this tour...LITERALLY! No lie, we can forward you the e-mail. Why they told us this, we don't know. Good times.

Pisac from above. An Andes mountin town.Most people visit Pisac to see the market on Sunday, but there are smaller markets 2 days during the week. However Pisac is a pretty village and has plenty of small handicraft shops and is worth a visit on any day of the week.
Pisac Market. Handmade dolls: Many of the guide books state that things are cheaper here than Cusco but we haven't noticed much difference in price. Our advice is if you like something in Cusco, buy it! And likewise in Pisac.Ther are pretty much the same.
The Pisac Market. In spite of its popularity the market retains much of its local charm, at least in the part where villagers from miles around gather to barter and sell their produce.Modern Pisac is a picturesque Andean Village, typical except for the huge, spreading pisonary tree that dominates the central square
Another super cute little Katchuan mountain tribe girl.
A super cute little Mountain tribe girl. Do they sell those coats in big girl size?

Brian and I had one of the most amazing lunches in the history of food in our bellies! Everything from Prime rib to Llama stew to Tongue (of what I am not sure) and Alpaca. 


We stopped in Urubamba town for lunch - A beautiful ranch where we had Seriously some of the best food we have ever had.
Wait, the Incas invented the internet too? You see stuff like this all the time. Old meets new - there is no such thing as off the grid anymore when traveling.
Tipon. The Incan water temple. Tipon is said to be a royal garden commissioned by Wiracocha. It is one of the most elaborate examples of agricultural terracing created by the Incas.Tall terraces which run up the narrow valley are irrigated by an aqueduct from the mountain above the site as well as baths, the entire temple complex, canals and aqueducts. Tipon is one of the lesser visited sites in the Cusco.
Drink some Chicha, then eat some guines pigs! Yes sir! It's called Cuy! They also have festivals where they dress the guinea pigs up.. lol.. and then eat them.. Peruvians eat them for special occasions and Holidays. Mmm Guniea!
From a bus. The Andes and a some farm land. on the way to Chinchero. Chinchero is a small Andean Indian village located high up on the windswept plains of Anta at 3762m . There are beautiful views overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the snow-capped peak of Salkantay dominating the western horizon.
A mountain tribeswoman selling goods outside the church at Chinchero. This market feels much more local than touristy.
Guinea. It tasts like greasy dark meat chicken. Big surperise right....
Ollantaytambo is an attractive little town located at the western end of the Sacred Valley (about two and a half hours from Cusco). The town has been built on top of original Inca foundations and is the best surviving example of Inca town planning.
The town is located at the foot of some spectacular Inca ruins (entrance with the Tourist Ticket 'Boleto Turistico') which protected the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba Valley. This Boy from the Village was heading up to give us a song and dance. People here are very poor, so even children work however they can.
Chinchero. A locals Bar. The barrel in back is how they make Chicha - moonshine - Chinchero is believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow....maybe this is why
A view out the back gate of the Guniea farm...not bad. You can see the Andes mts in the backgroud. The village mainly comprises mud brick (adobe) houses, and locals still go about their business in traditional dress. The village may have been an important town in Inca times. The most striking remnant of this period is the massive stone wall in the main plaza which has ten trapezoidal niches.
In the main plaza an adobe colonial church, dating from the early seventeenth century, has been built upon the foundations of an Inca temple or palace.
Back in Cusco. Some places have carts that serve Guinea on a stick. Well, we have been known to eat foods that others snub or even run from and if the locas eat Guinea pig.....soo shall we

We leave for Machu Piccu tomorrow morning. 4 days 3 nights. And currently planning an Amazon trek to start the day after we get back...why do we do this to ourselves? 

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