Stouts in the Sacred Valley

Trip Start Mar 07, 2013
Trip End Mar 18, 2013

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

We stayed right of the square in Cusco.  Our wonderful location was peaceful and quiet until the live music started at 11:30 in the club next door.  Sr tells me they played until 4:30, I slept like a baby.  
Trey was happy to find another pound cake on the breakfast buffet.  They had to bring out another one before he was done.   

Today we  toured the sacred valley and continue onto machu picchu tomorrow.  We had to get down to 20lbs of bags each because that is all that is allowed on the train to machu pichu. So we have a couple days  of clothes and a little cash.  Some items previously thought important are now in storage and  we will have to figure out a way to get by until we are back in cusco 3 days.  

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is about 1 hour drive from Cusco.  It was the main source of agriculture for the people living in Cusco. It is a long  flat plain, with steep mountains on either side with the Urubamba River flowing in center of the Valley.  It is also the entrance to the lower jungle areas and Machu Picchu. 

Our first stop was Pisac. The fortress of Pisac on top of the hill behind the village still looks over the city as it did in Incan times. The ruins are large and have both a religious as protective function.  Inca Terracing goes from the town up to the forteress.  

From there it was down to the town of Pisac and the famous Pisac Market.   Pisac is home to one of the most famous markets where they sell all kinds of handmade crap.   The market takes place every day.  Lucky for us, on Sunday the farmers set up to sell freshproduce.  This made things much more interesting.  I always have fun trying strange and new foods and there were plenty here.  

  We had a lunch buffet in Urubamba, the largest village in the valley.  It was a nice setting, right on the uramba river.   We had followed the river most of the day it was nice to get a close look at the roaring rapids that we will be rafting in a few days.  

Next was Ollantaytambo, where we will spend the night and board the train to Machu Picchu in the morning. Ollantaytambo is most famous as the place where the Inca King, Manco Inca was able to defeat the Spanish  in 1536. The only time they were defeated while conquering the Incan empire.   He managed to lure the Spanish into an ambush using the high steepness of the site itself and the ability of the Inca to flood the valley below the site where the Urubamba River connects with a smaller river.



Ollantaytambo is at the western end of the Sacred Valley. The town was built in Inca times and they say is the best surviving example of Inca town planning. The houses in the old part of Ollantaytambo are divided in blocks with only one or two entrances to small streets and alleys. These blocks (or Canchas in Spanish) are still made out of partial Inca walls and cobblestone streets with their original water drainage systems. Each chancha has a central patio with several houses (i.e. families) per cancha. 


 The town is located around several plazas with the last one at the foot of the impressive site of temple  to the sun god.   It is very steep with multiple  large staircases leading up to a impressive set of Granite walls.   Constructions was never completed but it was certainly impressive and not for the faint of heart to climb in this thin air.  It is lower than Cusco but still over 10,000 feet above sea level.   The centerpieces of this site are for sure the 6 huge monoliths that stand apparently glued together on top of the mountain. 


The only mishap of the day was my new hat was lost.   It served me well in it's short life.  The sun was out today and I was so sweaty that I took it off when we got back the van.     We were the only group staying here, the rest were heading back to cusco and my hat went with them.  
I was thinking if getting a ball cap this time but not sure if I want a hat that says Ollantaytambo.  I will figure something out...
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