December 22nd, 2007 – by: slimbolima
Camelid family of llamas, alpacas, and camels
In a very interesting and tiring day, we started at Awana
Kancha, a place where you could feed llamas and alpacas. Yes! Of course, I wanted to ride one of the
animals but llamas, which are larger but still not that large, can't really
take the weight of a human. In any case,
I got to get up on one and take a picture which is all that matters! We also saw how they traditionally dye wool,
which was pretty cool, including smashing a white parasite of a cactus, which
becomes a dark crimson red.
We drove to Pisac about 45 minutes from Cusco and went to
see the ruins which was a "test" walk for our guide Willington,
The test walk ended up being a veritable trek up a lot of stairs.
Big and fluffy
then I should have noted Will's moderated descriptions of hikes.
Later, during the Inca Trail, he notoriously
called a lung-bursting, sweaty climb, a "gradual" incline.
Pisac was beautiful with several different
"neighborhoods" of Incan ruins.
The main temple was dedicated to the Sun god with a nearby temple
dedicated to the Moon in classic Incan "duality", a word along with
"puma head" would be repeated several times over the next few
It was amazing to see original
Incan structures with perfectly fitted (without mortar!) heavy blocks moved
from quarries kilometers away.
terraces for crops and erosion protection were incredible.
We then spent 30 minutes or so shopping at Pisac town in
another open market. We had a lunch
buffet 40 minutes away in the middle of nowhere in a beautiful sanctuary with
some more llamas and alpacas and even a vicuña!
Then it was on to Ollantaytambo, a beautiful and cozy town
near the official start of the Inca Trail.
There, we visited other ruins up impressive terraces (and literally
breathtaking stairs) and observed an ancient Incan stone structure that could
identify the summer solstice based on shadows cast.
It reminded me a bit of Indiana Jones.
One of the nearby mountains which enclose the tiny valley town,
also has a face of an Incan deity guard which was impressively carved into the
side of the mountain.
Impressive is the
word for most Incan ruins.
incredible that some of the ruins are original and have existed more than 600
years and you can walk up to it and touch it and the rocks are relatively
If anything was that old in
the US, it would be behind a glass case in a Smithsonian museum.
It was a relatively early night as the next
day was the Inca Trail!