...... And Up The Sacred Mountain
14.11.2015 - 14.11.2015 20 °C
This morning we regrettably had our final breakfast of crepes and coffee at La'Bom,( I hope we return one day the place and staff are just great) and repacked our bags, mine now considerably heavier with an extra 1.5kg of salt from yesterday. Nelly and Mariono picked us up again for our second tour with Maras Adventures, today we are headed for the Sacred Valley, prized by both the Incans and prior inhabitants for its fertile lands and superior crops. Our first stop was Pisac, now famous also for its markets, high above the small town lies the vast terraces. Similar in construction to the ones at Moray, they are built in layers that follow the natural form of the mountain, and contain layers of different materials to allow for drainage, and crop production not normally possible at these altitudes. The town sits at nearly 3000m, a few hundred metres less than Cusco, but we were both still finding ourselves a bit short of breath. Walking through the ruins is a magnificent experience, to see and touch the precisely carved stones, unreplicated since their construction. We had a superb sunny day to explore the site and got their early enough to avid the bulk of the tour groups. The use of angles, curves and notches instead square edges begs the questions of why and how. Clearly they were made to impress and like the other sites in the area, built to last.
Looking down the Sacred Valley / Bloody Tourists / Pisac Terraces / Ruins @ Pisac / Panorama from Pisac
We skipped the markets and headed for Ollantaytambo, stopping at Urubamba for lunch and passing numerous small ruin sites along the way. Apparently the area is littered with lesser known small villages and dwellings used for rest between the larger towns. Ollantaytambo is lower again at 2800m and the lungs are certainly appreciating the decrease in altitude. The city is 60km northwest of Cusco and again the hillside it sits upon has been transformed into the terraces, with military barracks and religious temples atop, and dwellings for the commoners on the flat. High up on the face of the opposing mountain they built a spectacular grain store which held up to 5 years worth of food. We noted that both here and Pisac were established at the convergence of 2 valleys. The city was never completed and there are carved lintels at the top that were never placed. Both places were overflowing with large tour groups and endless "selfie stick" poses, ( I cant talk we just got one ourselves, perhaps I'm yet to master the technique, something about it just doesn't feel right). A good couple of hours is needed in each place to both make your way through the crowds, and get a decent appreciation for the work and planning involved in the place.
Impressive Stonework/ Jo gets dwarfed / Ollantaytambo town - grain store on mountain / Ollantaytambo / Our Evening Chariot
We said goodbye to Mariono, our wonderful yet slightly erratic driver, and Nelly the guide at the train station for Aguas Calientes, gateway to Macchu Picchu. We stored the bags at the station and walked uphill into town and found a pizza joint with all day happy hour on pisco sours. Full bellied and slightly tipsy, we hailed a tuktuk for the train station, destination Aguas Calientes, gateway to Macchu Picchu.