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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Peru - 29 November, 2001

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Hotel Cahuide, Cusco S1331.014' W07158.714' 3,418 m
Sacred Valley Tour . . . .
-  Sacsayhuama ruins . . . .
-  Pisac ruins . . . .
-  Pisac town . . . .
-  Ollantaytambo town   . . . .
-  Ollantaytambo ruins . . . .
Finish Hostal Las Orquideas, Ollantaytambo S1315.560' W07216.025' 2,810 m 100 km (by bus)

Leg 1 Total:

4,597 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

5,368 km

 

Weather: Partly cloudy, sunny and warm in the sun, cool in the shade.   Rain and cool in the evening

 

 

Today we go on a tour of what is known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas.  We go out and grab a quick breakfast and then go back to the hotel to meet the tour organisers.  We bring all the stuff we will need for the Inca Trail, including our purple stuff sacks.  They are loaded up on the tour bus and we head out of Cusco.

 

Peru01_Sacred03_Sacsay3_Complex_4009_Web.jpg (100609 bytes)

Our first stop is soon - it is the Sacsayhuama ruins that form part of the original Inca city of Cusco.  At first I thought the guide was calling it "sexy woman", but it is really pronounced "saxy woman".  The Incas designed Cusco in the shape of a puma, and this formed the head of the puma.  We can only see about 20% of the original temple - the Spanish destroyed the temple when the conquered the city.  They pulled down the walls and rolled the rocks down the hill to use them in the construction of their buildings.  They also destroyed it in order to suppress the Inca culture - much of the ruins was buried under dirt and they are still discovering more today.

 

Peru01_Sacred02_Sacsay2_Wall_Jac_4008_Web.jpg (117240 bytes)

Even the small bit that we can see is very impressive and it is hard to describe the complex.  Some of the stones are huge - one weighs over 380 tons (no one is quite sure how they moved them).  We wander around the complex and admire the Inca stone work.  We even take a slide down a series of rocks that have some slides carved into them.  We exit the complex by walking through a tunnel that has been carved into the rock.  Back on the bus, we head to our next destination.

 

After a drive of about one hour we arrive at the Pisac ruins.  The ruins are perched on a steep mountain side and they are famous for their agricultural terracing.  We spent about one and a half hours wandering through the ruins.  At times the trail that we would walk on was a narrow ledge on the cliff face.  At one point, we have to walk though a tunnel carved into the cliff face.

 

After visiting the main religious center, which features well built rooms, we headed back to the bus.  It was a long walk along the terraces and footpaths built into the cliff face.  The bus takes us down to the town of Pisac, where we have a bite to eat and do some shopping in the village square.  Shortly after 3 PM, we head on towards Ollantaytambo.

 

We arrive in Ollantaytambo shortly after 4 PM, driving up along the original Inca gates to the city. This is one of the few places where the Spanish lost a major battle during the conquest.  There is a massive fortress here (but many people say that it is not really a fortress, it just looks like one with the terracing and huge temple walls).  The town is built on the original Inca foundations, which are visible throughout the city.

 

Peru01_Sacred06_Ollan2_Ruins_4012_Web.jpg (152523 bytes)

We climbed up the steep terraces that the Spanish found so hard to conquer.  Up at the top we admired the workmanship in the temple buildings (much was destroyed by the Spanish, however).  There are even some walls that were under construction at the time of the Spanish conquest and we can get an idea of how the walls were built.  The stones used in these buildings was quarried 6 kms away across the river - amazing how they did all this.  It is hard to describe all that we saw and did.

 

We arrive at our hotel at 6 PM and get settled in.  It starts to rain and we go to a nearby restaurant for a quick bite.  We retire early - we have an early start tomorrow.

 

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