Sunday, December 04, 2011

Day 14 – Sacred Valley Tour, Peru

Felix is our driver and Boris is our guide for the day. They pick us up at 8AM for our full day tour of the Sacred Valley. Grain and corn were cultivated for the Inka, his family and the upper class in this valley. Original Inca agricultural terraces are still being used today, and are visible as we drive through this valley.

Wendy mentions to Boris she is interested in textiles, so he decides to reverse the order of the tour, taking us to Chinchero for our first stop this morning. The Peruvian women at Expo Andina serve us cocoa tea and then put on a very amusing and informative textile demonstration. After, they have their wares for sale. We end up buying quite a few items.

The local Sunday market is also close by.  It’s a very interesting market, where some people are trading produce rather than paying cash for goods.  There is a lunch area, fresh spices, produce of all kinds, flowers, a shoe repair including sandals for sale made from recycled tires, and cooking pottery.  The varieties of corn and potatoes are amazing.  There is also a large area dedicated to souvenirs made for tourists.  I think we are their only tourists this morning, because we were pestered pretty well.

Next stop is Urubamba, the community where the Peru Rail train joins the Urubamba River on its way to Machu Picchu. We get a super workout at our next stop at Ollantaytambo, an Incan town and temple fortress, which we climb! The granite stone used for this fortress were moved by human muscle from a quarry located across the river on the side of a mountain. Boris offers to take us into an Incan house, but we decline since we are so exhausted.

We drive to our lunch stop in Yucay at the Sonesta Posada Yucay, a resort and a hotel in the Sacred Valley.  They offer a very a nice buffet of traditional Peruvian food.  I really appreciate having some coffee to start with.  Boris asks me if I’m feeling all right, and I assure him I am.  After savoring the coffee, I go back to tackle the buffet, which consists of virtually all Peruvian food.

Pisac market is our last stop before returning to Cusco. We all assure Boris we can do without visiting this market, and would appreciate an early return to the hotel so we can rest.  He talks us into a quick visit, since it is on our way back to Cusco.  The market is huge, but we buy nothing and leave after 15 minutes to return to the hotel in Cusco.

We go to La Pizza Carlo again for dinner this evening and order the loaded pizza. We are not very adventurous, but we are exhausted from the day’s activities and just want to go to bed to rest for tomorrow – the big day when we go to Machu Picchu.

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