|Close to Cusco is the Sacred Valley, where the Inca civilisation lived and ruled. After all the lounging around recently, we decided enough was enough and booked ourselves onto a tour. Although we only paid rock bottom prices, we somehow managed to get ourselves on the best tour (good old Peruvian organisation again). When we say "best" we mean it would normally be the most expensive, the clientele consisting mainly of middle-aged toffs! We were in our element!
It was more of the same as we came across Andean women and children at every stop, selling their goods and posing for photos. We can't afford much more of this! And, of course there were more llamas, but we're not bored of seeing these yet. They're like huge friendly sheep! While Amy backed off, screaming for help if one came within 5 metres of her, Greg got close and personal, bribing them with leafy treats! "Go and scare that girl over there!"
Being a toff's tour, the guide took us for a buffet lunch which cost a whopping $13US! Not ones to miss a trick, we snuck out the back door and found a 3 course lunch for $2US - now that's more like it, budget travellers strike again!
The highlight of the day was visiting the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo. It's a huge fortress which from the air forms the shape of a llama (funnily enough!). It's amazing to think that the Inca people were only around for 300 years yet this was one of their many archaeologically brilliant constructions. In Britain it would take 300 years just to build a new road! No wonder the Incas had such an amazing influence and are still revered today.
We climbed the 300 steps to the top with ease compared to our overweight, middle-aged companions, many of whom were on the verge of heart attacks. At times it was actually quite worrying watching them. Once at the top everybody was filled with the same sense of awe, surveying the work and wondering how it was made.
It was a hard day after doing almost nothing for a week so it was a relief when we made it back to Cusco and we were able to settle back into our old way of life with an evening at the cinema!