|The next stop on the Inca hunt was the Sacred Valley which we visited on a tour today.
We started at the huge market in Pisac where we spent an hour trawling through the myriad of stalls trying to find that something a little different. We made a few purchases but thankfully the tour had to press on and we saved our bank accounts from further dents in the process.
After a drive following the Rio Urumbamba we arrived at one of the most impressive Inca sites Olantaytambo. This was the location of a major Spanish assault where the Inca's held their own, for a limited time anyway. The Inca's were still building the fortress/temple when the invasion took place and as such Olantaytambo was never finished. The site hugs the side of the hill it is built upon and has a commanding position over the valley. It is also very windy up there due to the confluence of three valleys creating a natural wind tunnel. On the hill across from the site the face of an Inca God Wiracocha is supposedly visible. Can you see it?
More great stonework, (which we learnt more about from our guide) rows of terraces, excavated tombs and the principle temple were all features of Olantaytambo and had we had longer to look around we would have seen even more. Still we got an hour long tour and covered the most important areas and added to our increasing knowledge of Inca life.
After lunch we went to the last site of the day, Chincherro another heavily terraced Inca site which would no doubt have been more impressive had the Spanish not destroyed the walls and built their own churches with the stone. On the way back down to the bus for the return leg I plumped for an alpaca kebab from a rather nice lady who used the old technique of billowing to cook my snack. It was good too.
As far as tours go this one was rather quite good, but we could have definetly done with more time at Olantaytambo to explore what was a rather extensive site. We also thought we were going to visit the ruins of Pisac but that was not to be. There is still plenty to see in the Sacred Valley and if we have chance next week we will visit more.
As for this week, Anna is doing a homestay with a family in Cusco and going to Spanish lessons at the school, while I cancelled my lessons and decided to go on my trek after all. I can't leave Cusco without doing a trek and although it's not the perfect conditions at the moment I really want to see Choquequirau before it gets over touristed. So tomorrow I head to a little town called Cachora, rent a man and his mule and trek for four days returning Christmas Eve. Speak to you all then.
Day 304 complete