post

Sacred Valley of the Incas

2011 Incan Empires Cruise

Sunday, December 04, 2011 – Day 14 – Sacred Valley of the Incas Tour, Peru

I am up ahead of our wakeup call at 6AM, and go down to the buffet breakfast included with the hotel rate. It is wonderful to have some Peruvian coffee and a nicely prepared omelette before our day begins. Felix is our driver and Boris is our guide for the day. They pick us up at 8AM for our full day tour of the Sacred Valley. Grain and corn were cultivated for the Inka, his family and the upper class in this valley. Original Inca agricultural terraces are still being used today, and are visible everywhere we drive through this valley.

Wendy mentions to Boris she is interested in textiles, so he decides to reverse the order of the tour, taking us to Chinchero for our first stop this morning. The Peruvian women at Expo Andina serve us cocoa tea and then put on a very amusing and informative textile demonstration (see banner photo above). Afterward, they have their wares for sale. We end up buying quite a few items, since they are original, locally made, and reasonably priced.

Farmer with his plow and mule packing sacks of produce
Farmer with his plow and mule packing sacks of produce

We also visit the local Sunday market in Chinchero since it is close by. It’s a very interesting market, where some people are trading produce rather than paying cash. There is a lunch area, fresh spices, produce of all kinds, flowers, a shoe repair, including sandals for sale made from recycled tires, and cooking pottery is also being sold. The varieties of corn and potatoes available in this market are nothing short of amazing. There is also a large area dedicated to souvenirs made for tourists. I think we are their only tourists this morning, because we are pestered pretty well!

Incan terraces on the front of the fortress at Ollantaytambo
Incan terraces on the front of the fortress at Ollantaytambo

Next stop is Urubamba, the community where the Peru Rail train joins the Urubamba River and the Sacred Valley on its way to Machu Picchu. We get a super workout at our next stop at Ollantaytambo, an Incan town and temple fortress – we climb to the top! The granite stone used for this fortress were moved by human muscle from a quarry on the side of a mountain, located across the river . Boris offers to take us into an Incan house, but we decline since we are so exhausted after scaling the fortress.

We drive to our lunch stop at the Sonesta Posada Yucay, a resort and a hotel. They offer a very a nice buffet of traditional Peruvian food. I really appreciate having some coffee to start with. After savouring the coffee, I go back to tackle the buffet, which consists of virtually all Peruvian food. Yucay is in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, which is a fertile and verdant valley, and still produces maize as it did for the Incas so many centuries ago. We drive by a soccer game being played with sheep on the field, which nobody seems to notice or care about.

Sacks of potatoes at the Pisac Market
Sacks of potatoes at the Pisac Market

Pisac Market is our last stop before returning to Cusco. We all assure Boris we can do without visiting this market, and would appreciate an early return to the hotel so we can rest. However, he talks us into a quick visit, since it is on our way back to Cusco. The market is huge, and there are many interesting things for sale, but we buy nothing and leave after 15 minutes. We see more Inca terraces on the hills above the Rio Pahuaycoc valley, as we return to Cusco.

We go to La Pizza Carlo again for dinner this evening and order the loaded pizza. Perhaps we are not very adventurous, but we are exhausted from the day’s activities and just want to go to bed to get lots of rest for tomorrow – the big day when we go to Machu Picchu.

Sacred Valley
54 photos
Wood stacked for cooking fires
Wood stacked for cooking fires
Planted fields
Planted fields
Andes mountains behind a valley used for agriculture
Andes mountains behind a valley used for agriculture
Andes mountains behind a valley used for agriculture
Andes mountains behind a valley used for agriculture
Packing goods home in a wheelbarrow from the Sunday market
Packing goods home in a wheelbarrow from the Sunday market
Outside of Expo Andina textile demo
Outside of Expo Andina textile demo
Blessings on a roof top
Blessings on a roof top
Guinea pigs being raised for food
Guinea pigs being raised for food
Peruvian wall hangings & other textiles
Peruvian wall hangings & other textiles
Demonstrating how soap is made from a plant
Demonstrating how soap is made from a plant
Textile colouring made from various plants
Textile colouring made from various plants
Red dye made from a cactus blossom
Red dye made from a cactus blossom
Demonstrating red and yellow dyeing
Demonstrating red and yellow dyeing
Balls of various coloured wools
Balls of various coloured wools
Handmade leather bags with fabric designs
Handmade leather bags with fabric designs
Trading produce
Trading produce
Fresh spices
Fresh spices
Cherries & peppers
Cherries & peppers
Bread buns
Bread buns
The lunch area
The lunch area
Tourist wares for sale
Tourist wares for sale
Cooking pots for sale
Cooking pots for sale
Farmer with his plow and mule packing sacks of produce
Farmer with his plow and mule packing sacks of produce
Farmer in corn field
Farmer in corn field
Cows and corn fields
Cows and corn fields
Terraced hills along the Sacred Valley
Terraced hills along the Sacred Valley
Inca terraces along the river
Inca terraces along the river
Incan sidewalks, water aqueducts, and stonework
Incan sidewalks, water aqueducts, and stonework
Main entrance terraces
Main entrance terraces
Steps beside the main entrance terraces
Steps beside the main entrance terraces
Inca agricultural storage facilities on the opposite mountain
Inca agricultural storage facilities on the opposite mountain
View of Ollantaytambo from part way up the terraces
View of Ollantaytambo from part way up the terraces
Inca agricultural storage facilities on the opposite mountain
Inca agricultural storage facilities on the opposite mountain
Incan stone wall
Incan stone wall
Terraces near the top of the fortress
Terraces near the top of the fortress
Incan stone wall and terraces
Incan stone wall and terraces
Joe on the top of the fortress with Ollantaytambo and the Sacred Valley below
Joe on the top of the fortress with Ollantaytambo and the Sacred Valley below
Our guide Boris Boret explaining how the stone slabs were made and moved
Our guide Boris Boret explaining how the stone slabs were made and moved
Incan terraces on the front of the fortress
Incan terraces on the front of the fortress
Wendy and Boris decending
Wendy and Boris decending
Wendy and Boris decending with agricultural valley and Ollantaytambo below
Wendy and Boris decending with agricultural valley and Ollantaytambo below
John descending a long series of steps
John descending a long series of steps
Plaza and fortress
Plaza and fortress
Ceremonial fountain
Ceremonial fountain
Peruvian handicraft masks being sold by the entrance
Peruvian handicraft masks being sold by the entrance
Ollantaytambo town plaza
Ollantaytambo town plaza
Restaurant entrance
Restaurant entrance
Tourist souvenirs & little girl dressed for tourist photo ops
Tourist souvenirs & little girl dressed for tourist photo ops
Sacks of potatoes
Sacks of potatoes
Fruit stand
Fruit stand
Piscac street with Incan terraced hills behind
Piscac street with Incan terraced hills behind
Incan terraced hills behind Pisac
Incan terraced hills behind Pisac
Incan terraced hills behind Pisac
Incan terraced hills behind Pisac
Inca terraces on the hills above  the Rio Pahuaycoc valley
Inca terraces on the hills above the Rio Pahuaycoc valley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.