Saturday...........Visit to the Sacred Valley

Cusco Travel Blog

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Cusco

I speak to Daniel this morning about my cell phone.  He says that I need to put 00 or + before the 61.  So how come my phone worked without this in Machu Picchu?  Spooky, huh?

 

This morning I had arranged for a visit to the Sacred Valley.  The taxi was to cost NS150, AUD55 for five hours and it was to meet Nele and I outside the house at 10 sharp.  It didn’t arrive.  Finally about 10:30 I got a message to say that it would be there in 5 minutes, so we eventually left around 20 to 11.  It wasn’t actually a taxi but a friend of someone at FairPlay.

 

Cusco was the sacred city of the Incas and the nearby Sacred Valley has many interesting ruins.

Chinchero
  Nobody seems to know exactly how the Incas started; there are only legends to explain their beginnings around 1200 AD.  Their demise was, of course, the arrival of the Spaniards in 1536.

 

We went first to Chinchero where I bought the necessary tourist ticket for NS70, AUD25.70.  Apart from the ruins there is a colonial church.  We then drove to quaint town of Ollantaytambo, with its cobbled streets and the backdrop of majestic ruins.  I had been told that I only needed five hours to visit the Sacred Valley, but you need much more than this.  We could easily have spent two hours just at Ollayantaytambo.  I would have loved to climb to the top; it would have been slow, but I could have got there.

Chinchero
  But we didn’t have time.  The ruins are a fortress constructed of 17 terraces made of large carved stones of pink granite over 4 metres high.  There were, of course, the requisite markets at the base of the ruins.

 

We went to Urubamba for lunch where I totally confused everyone by asking for a menu, with the correct accent, in Spanish.  The lady said, three menus?  I said yes.  Then she came back with a pencil and pad.  But I wanted three menus, where are the menus?  I found out that in Peru I should have asked for three cartas.   The menu is the menu of the day, the three course meal that most Peruanos eat at lunchtime.  For two menus, one hamburger, one glass of red wine and two orange drinks it came to NS33.

Colonial church, Chinchero
5, AUD12.  The menu comprised a hard boiled egg cut in two, with the yolk creamed and the egg put on a bed of coleslaw or similar, soup, and rice with chicken.

 

After lunch we went to Pisaq, but didn’t stay long as it was getting late.  Once again, interesting ruins.  We went on to Saqsayhuaman, which is only two kms from Cusco.  When Cusco was designed in the shape of a puma (a sacred animal for the Incas) lying down, Saqsayhuaman was the head of the puma.  It is documented that S took more than 70 years and over 20,000 men to build.  The flat area in the centre is where the Inti Raymi celebrations are held each year on 24 June.  It was getting too dark to take photos and we returned to Cusco and Christian dropped us off at the post office.  I posted my letter.

Ollayantaytambo
  It was about NS100, AUD37 for one letter, express within 4 days to Oz.  I opted for registered mail, about NS14, AUD4, and delivery in around 10 days. 

 

After the post office, Nele went home and I wandered back to the Plaza de Armas and back to the Real McCoy.  Had Pisco Sours and a roast lamb sandwich, tidied the blog, checked out the qualifying for F1 and then headed back home.  There were many people in the city and fireworks had just started, but the taxis were mainly dropping people off, so I had no difficulty getting a taxi.  The driver wanted 5 soles, the cost is usually 3 soles.  I told him it was too much.  So I got out and took a second taxi.  I noticed that his clock was fast and it was going to be about 10 when we arrived home.  I checked my watch, yes, the clock was about 15 minutes fast; the price goes up by one sole at 10.  When we got home it was 10 exactly on his clock.  I gave him 3 soles, he wanted 4 and pointed to the clock.  I told him that the clock was wrong.  He laughed and took the 3 soles, saying that it was ok for 3 soles.  I guess he always has the clock fast and many people don’t notice.  A lot of bargaining goes on in Peru, like in Bolivia, so it’s a bit of a game.  They don’t have taxi meters like in Oz.

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Cusco
Cusco
Chinchero
Chinchero
Chinchero
Chinchero
Colonial church, Chinchero
Colonial church, Chinchero
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Ollayantaytambo
Pisaq
Pisaq
Saqsayhuaman in the morning
Saqsayhuaman in the morning
Saqsayhuaman
Saqsayhuaman
Saqsayhuaman
Saqsayhuaman
Saqsayhuaman, closeup of amazing s…
Saqsayhuaman, closeup of amazing …
Saqsayhuaman.  Flat central space …
Saqsayhuaman. Flat central space…
Cusco festivities, fairyfloss
Cusco festivities, fairyfloss
Cusco festivities
Cusco festivities
Cusco
photo by: Vlindeke