Pissup!

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
1
95
300
Trip End Nov 04, 2008


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Hospedaje Estrellita

Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Marcos really thought he was in for a top day when he woke up and said "we are going to a Pissup!"

Again, you have to give it to the Incan names, they are just full of toilet humour and attractiveness. We have said this before, but as we go along we need to add a few more names. History lessons would have been such more fun and easy to concentrate if they had included names such as:
- Lake Poopoo (Bolivia)
- Lake Titikaka (Peru - Bolivia)
- Cuesco (Cusco) = fart in Spanish
- Pissup (Pisaq)

Anyway, less of this stupidy and a bit of information on today. It was our first real approach to the Inca architecture, and mountain trekking. The idea was to do a bit of mountain trekking to get prepared for the Inca Trail next Friday...and what a preparation!

Pisaq is about 30 kms from Cusco. We had 2 options. Either to book a touristy tour and be ripped off moneywise while not enjoying half of it, or to get a bus ourselves and just find the town, ruins, etc.

We obviously went for the adventurous option and went to a small bus station down the road were we bought a couple of tickets (2.20 soles per head = 50 cents euro). After fighting around with half a dozen over anxious peruvians who kept changing seats on a very, very tatty bus we took off.

The trip to Pisaq is extraordinary. Its just 30 minutes of incredible scenery, including 4 of the top ruin attractions close to Cusco.

Once at Pisaq you soon discover that the place is a tourist hotspot, especially when you are approached by half a dozen taxi drivers and guides trying to get you to buy their tour to the ruins. They always seem to be surprised when we reply in Spanish and frustrate their quite good English "friend, tour, massage, good". Not sure why massage was part of the Pisaq ruin tour...

Luckily we didn´t pop into Pisaq on a Sunday (or Thursday or Tuesday...) as those are the market days...or better said "tourist market days" as we are quite sure that local people dont buy endless amounts of stupid hats or alpaca ponchos (we still remember the English guy in Tupiza wearing that red poncho that made him look like the uber twato of the year)...actually 100% of the tourists wearing a peruvian woollen hat look like total mongos. Just thought we should mention...no you dont actually blend in at all! They wear baseball caps nowadays in Peru...

Even so, the Plaza de Armas was full of stalls selling the same touristy things (cloths, ponchos, hats, small llama statues, empty cocount shells...etc, etc). It was colourful, but more expensive than La Paz for the same stuff.

The town of Pisac is colonial Spanish by the way, and what a wonderful place to walk around. So as mentioned yesterday, the Conquistadores did quite a few good things in their time...

Anyway, once we managed to get through the market and the endless requests to look at the same products and always replying with a huge smile "No Gracias", we arrived at the start of the trail that leads to the Pisaq ruins.

One of the doubts we had was whether we should have bought a ticket to get into the ruin area in Cusco or not. It sounded ridicolous, but possible given that most ruins can be visited under a tourist ticket which they sell at the tourist office in Cusco.

We arrived at the ticket office at the base of the mountain, only to find out that it was closed and in theory we would be sold a ticket at the top. Good news everyone! It seems that ticket sellers were on a day long siesta so that just meant we managed to avoid buying tickets which would have set us back 40 Soles per head (10 euros) as tourists are forced to buy multi-site tickets. From the start we didnt want such a ticket as we already have Machu Picchu paid for with the tour (being the most expensive one).

So we continued our walk upwards, in what seemed an endless flight of Inca steps, on and on and on... It was a good test for our acclimatisation to heights as initially we were breathing heavily and wanting to stop, but after 20 minutes we were happy trekkers and managed to do the rest of the climb and return with big smiles on our faces.

All the trek goes along hundreds of farming layers (not sure what the correct name for them is). It seems impossible how the Incas managed to shape the mountain into their farming plot with thousands of heavy stones.

Inti the Sun God of the Incas must of had a bad day as just when we were about to get to the top he decided to send us strong winds and rain which lasted until we decided to return to Pisaq village. Strangely the moment we decided to walk down the rain stopped! I hope he has better humour when we do the Inka Trail....

If Machu Picchu is anything similar to Pisaq we are in for an amazing visit next Monday! There is little else to say unless we go into the historical details of the site and there is plenty on Wikipedia on that, so we leave you with the pictures. Link to more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%ADsac

Our trek was about 3 hours in total, after which our knees needed a good rest and lunch at Pisaq village. We sat down at a German owned restaurant called "Ulrike´s", and believe us, for 14 Soles (3.5 euros) we had a magnificent trekking feast (soup, lasagna, brownie and coffee). It was actually too much!

Around 3pm we returned to Cusco to do some shopping for the Inca trail, and managed to squeeze into a bus with capacity for 29 passengers but which finally arrived in Cusco with 40 (no exageration. We counted them).


As an end of day when we arrived in Cusco we visited the Cathedral again as we wanted to see a painting that appeared commented on our guide book. The painting is the "The Last Dinner of Christ" similar to those of Michael Angelo in Europe and other versions.

The curious thing about this version (painted in the 16th century) is that it has certain "adaptations" in order to get the Indians on board with Christianity. For example there are several local fruits that are found in the region (and which are not in the original painting), and as the main course of the dinner there is a "cuy". "Cuy" is a typical plate in Peru, none the less than a guinea pig.

You have to give credit to the Spanish colonials for their efforts to get the Indians believing the new religion, but the painting with a huge guinea pig just reminded us of Monty Python´s sketch of the last supper. Its a classic so we have added a link to the video...

Link: http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=J4oKXagF3IE&feature=related
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