Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

The Sacred Valley
I really wanted to get out of Cusco and a tour of the Sacred Valley was a perfect choice.
First we travelled to Pisac. The town is lovely.
                                                            Narrow streets are typical
                                        A tricyle taxi cab - you don't see these in Cusco

This is the view from the coach driving down the seemingly too narrow street!!
The hilltop Inca citadel lies high above Pisac.
It is on a plateau with a plunging gorge on either side.
The Inca terraces are amazing. Their wealth was established in agriculture. The terraces also stop erosion.
                                                                     Detail shots

It was a huge climb and I made it to the top. It was truly awesome.
                                         See how high up the mountain the terraces are! 
                                             Another view of the Sacred Valley.

On this tour most of the people were Peruvians and I was so encouraged by this. Here you get the impression that Cusco is only a tourist town. Not so.
The valley was formed by the Urubamba River. It is also known as Willkamayu in Quechua, inca for sacred river. 
Indigenous Peruvians speak Quechua as do my host parents. 
We went to Urubamba for lunch. We were dropped off at different restaurants i guess to support them. I was with a small group of Cuscoans. Andean musicians played. The food was a copious buffet. My fellow diners were an amusing group and we all loved the music.
Next we drove to Ollantaytambo with huge, steep terraces that guard spectacular Inca ruins. Up to 3800mm. It is one of the few places where the Spanish conquistadors lost a battle.
 The Incas fortified and also had a Temple to the Sun here. The stone was quarried from a mountain across the valley. They used wooden poles that they saturated with water so that they swelled and this is how they split the rock for the very big boulders. Ingenious. Between the huge boulders were slim slabs to stop friction between the big boulders and to stabilise them.
                                                  A detail of one of the rooms.
              Ollantaytambo has been continuously inhabited since the 13th century.
                                                         I made it to the top 

          You still have to come down. The view is spectacular the stairs very uneven.
We drove through truly beautiful farm land to Chinchero, another terrace landscape. My camera battery had died. Not such a great deal as there was a spectacular storm and we quickly made it back to the coach. They are proposing to put an international airport at Chinchero.
I had a fabulous day. Despite a few hours of clambering up and down I was energised.

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