Pisac ruins, lots of steps and stressful shopping

Pisac Travel Blog

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View from my room

We woke up to the church bells at 6 am but I stayed snuggled under the heavy blankets until 6:30.  As Amanda put it, the blankets were so heavy it felt like you were getting x-rays taken.  We sat out front watching the market come to life.  Booths were set up and tarps lashed on top for shade.  Colorful blankets and crafts and jewelry were set out.  Children in their cute little uniforms were heading off to school.  All the local dogs stopped by to check out the action.  Breakfast was included with our rooms so we sat at the table outside to eat and greet the day. 

 

Our morning activity was to tackle the ruins of Pisac (included in our Cusco ticket).

setting up the market
  We assumed they were high on top of a hill and wisely took a cab to the top.  We wandered around before sitting down and reading from the guidebook.  A local guide came over trying to get us to hire him.  I wish we had but our group decided we could learn all we needed from a book.  So really, we walked around the ruins with no idea whatsoever what we were looking at.  I hate that. 


The ruins were impressive, way up on top of the hill like that.  Very cool.  And very spread out.  I wish I knew what we were looking at though.  We stopped to rest and I tried a birdseed bar.  They were called granola bars but they looked like stuff I used to feed my bird.  They were good but not very filling.  Near the Sun Temple we came across more people - where did they all come from?  There must be another entrance.

colorful stalls
  I tried eavesdropping on the German and English tours so I could learn a little bit.  It was getting near lunchtime and half of our group seems to live for meals so it was time to head down.  We decided to hike down which was very cool.  Lots and lots of stone steps zig zagging back and forth.  Near the bottom was a bridge over a dried stream.  Steph called out about the impressive waterfall.  I looked all over but for the life of me I couldn’t find a waterfall.  Or even water for that matter.  Oh, it was a pretend waterfall.  I get it now…  Sure enough, if the stream had water in it, there would be a big waterfall.  I guess we’ll have to come back when its raining to see it. 

 

The trail came down and ended pretty much in the market.

lots of bundles
  We were funneled through colorful stalls with people asking us to buy stuff in Spanish.  We were more concerned with finding food and a cuy restaurant was the plan for lunch.  They were supposed to have good empanadas. So I ordered a chicken empanada only to find out they were out of chicken so we ended up getting whatever it was they had.  They were small, not filling and not particularly good.  The first thing you notice is the big oven.  And next to the oven is the guinea pig pen.  Amanda ordered cuy - guinea pig - and it was creepy when it arrived with its little claws and teeth.  There wasn’t much meat on it so she had to pick around.  We all tried it and it was surprisingly good (tastes like chicken).  We were all disappointed in our meager empanadas but we had to wait around while Amanda picked at her guinea pig. 

 

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering the market.

woven rug
  Pisac is known for its large, colorful market and many tourists come up for the day just for the market.  The secret is to just keep moving and don’t touch anything.  They try to get you to buy something, anything.  Touch this, see how soft it is - its alpaca so soft, so pretty, only so many Soles.  Many of the woven things, such as blankets, sweaters, hats, etc looked like they all came from the manufacturer.  I tried to buy a sweater for my mom but didn’t know how to convey this in Spanish.  The woman took down the sweater and put it on me and told me how nice it looks and how soft it is.  Or at least I assume that’s what she was saying.  She was probably calling me a sucker for spending so much but that’s only because I didn’t know the words to barter in Spanish.   I was trying to explain it was for “me madre” and put my arms out to show she was larger than me.  The woman took down a larger sweater in green.
breakfast on the sidewalk
  No I wanted the purple one.  How do I ask for purple in a bigger size?  Grr… Finally she understood and went running off to another stall in search of a bigger sweater.  Whew, that was way too hard.  

 

Shopping at the market was very stressful.  You even pause at a booth and they jump up shoving stuff in your hands.  One woman tried a bunch of hats on her daughter so I could see how they look.  It is hard to walk away and say no but there are so many booths and so many people and so very stressful for me.  I made the mistake of asking people what they wanted from Peru and I had a big shopping list and no room to carry stuff back.

Entrance to Pisac ruins
  So I shopped quickly and small.  I had to be sure I could fit everything in my bag AND carry it on my back.  I was stuck on my dad.  What do you buy a dad?  He’s too big for any of the t-shirts they have and I know he would never wear a woven poncho.  Hmm… ball cap it is.  Now how do I get out of here?  Still people were trying to sell me stuff.  Have some fruit.  How about some wooden spoons.  Here are some bird whistles.  Feel this cloth, so soft (and so gigantic).  Silver jewelry.  Blankets.  T-shirts.  Stone carvings.  So much stuff, just get me out! 

I got back to the hotel and sat on the balcony.

looking through Pisac ruins window
  Alone.  It was so stressful being down there.  I could see the tour buses that had come up for the day - that explains all the gringos in town today.  There was a woman dressed in traditional clothing walking around with a lamb - “Bonita, photo uno Sole.”  Just the first of many people trying to get us to take their photos for money.  After awhile I joined our group at the little German café for a pre-dinner brownie and ice cream.  The market was finally closing down and people were going home. 

 

We went to the trout restaurant for dinner.  As we discussed the menu we decided that maybe the trout came complete with head and tail.  I decided to go for the chicken - I was pretty sure that would be without head and tail.

PIsac terraces
  It was delicious.  A group of school kids came in as we were leaving and they all turned and shouted “hola!” as we left.  I was glad we opted for a second night in Pisac.  I decided I could live here.  Maybe.

Kana says:
What a great blog! :)
Posted on: Dec 06, 2008
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View from my room
View from my room
setting up the market
setting up the market
colorful stalls
colorful stalls
lots of bundles
lots of bundles
woven rug
woven rug
breakfast on the sidewalk
breakfast on the sidewalk
Entrance to Pisac ruins
Entrance to Pisac ruins
looking through Pisac ruins window
looking through Pisac ruins window
PIsac terraces
PIsac terraces
the guidebook
the guidebook
something on the hill
something on the hill
a residence maybe?
a residence maybe?
one of the few railings
one of the few railings
looking up the valley
looking up the valley
Inca tunnel
Inca tunnel
a hike with a view!
a hike with a view!
following the trail
following the trail
Im eating a birdseed bar
I'm eating a birdseed bar
the main ruins area
the main ruins area
Pisac ruins
Pisac ruins
those stones fit together so well!
those stones fit together so well!
trapezoidal doorway
trapezoidal doorway
water channel
water channel
school tour
school tour
this rock means something...maybe …
this rock means something...maybe…
cactus flower
cactus flower
Pisac valley
Pisac valley
Pisac market (white tarps)
Pisac market (white tarps)
valley through a doorway
valley through a doorway
dont do it!
don't do it!
coming down the steps
coming down the steps
lots of steps
lots of steps
going down more steps
going down more steps
Pisac river valley
Pisac river valley
Coming down over the waterfall
Coming down over the "waterfall"
big oven
big oven
guinea pig pen
guinea pig pen
guinea pig for lunch
guinea pig for lunch
produce area
produce area
more stalls
more stalls
tourist buses
tourist buses
bonita woman with lamb
bonita woman with lamb
Pisac Inn
Pisac Inn
Beer while we wait for dinner :)
Beer while we wait for dinner :)
Pisac Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
cozy little cafe
This little café provided a much needed respite from the crazyness of the market. We stopped in for a light snack and beverages to tide us over unti… read entire review
Pisac Sights & Attractions review
the best market in Peru
Pisac is known for its colorful market and is said to be the best market in Peru. The market runs every day now (I think) but is larger on Tuesdays, … read entire review
Pisac Hotels & Accommodations review
cozy hotel next to Pisac Market
This little hotel was very cozy and cheap. It is located right on the main square across from the Pisac market. The hotel has only 12 rooms, each sl… read entire review
Pisac Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Best trout in the Sacred Valley
Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley) is known for the best trout, trucha, in the area. It is located on the main drag and sometimes closes early if business… read entire review
Pisac Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Wood fired food and guinea pigs
This place sounded exciting because it was supposed to have delicious, fresh empanadas from a wood fired oven. Maybe we were too late in the day beca… read entire review
Pisac
photo by: rsvpme