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The Sacred Valley

Nasca runway
Nasca runway
We enjoyed a very good continental breakfast complete with scrambled eggs and “real” coffee. The way they serve it is in thick espresso syrup, to which you have to add hot water in order to dilute it down to your taste. After breakfast we climbed into our van and were off on our tour of the fertile Sacred Valley, a U-shaped glacial valley. We stopped at a view point along the way to see the Willcamayu, one of the Sacred Valley rivers that flow into the Urubamba, the main river running through the Sacred Valley. The town of Urubamba-50,000 population- is fast becoming a popular tourist site in the Sacred Valley. Along the road we saw Aguave cactus growing 20 feet tall. It was spring in October; corn was knee high and trees and flowers were in bloom. There were more cattle than llamas in the Sacred Valley, and we saw a few tractors and evidence of farm machinery in the fields. As we viewed the mountains, we saw that snow-covered glaciers exist only in highest mountains, 23,000 feet above the Sacred Valley. Marco said that this is because the Sacred Valley is so close to the equator.

We traveled up the twisting roads to Pisaq, stopping at the Pisaq market. Harold bought a Peruvian flute and a llama bell at the Pisaq market, and Karen bought silver jewelry. We enjoyed a very good lunch provided by Adventure Life before moving on to the Pisaq Ruins where we walked 3.5 miles of steep demanding trails with precipitous drops that would take your breath away. This was a truly challenging task for us. The ruins were emotionally uplifting and inspiring. We had our first opportunity to be truly amazed at the intricate stonework produced by the Incas. Marco told us that the terraces to Pisaq Ruins are called Andes. This made a lot of sense to us. After we had negotiated the steep trail and were inside the ruins, Marco explained the meaning of the Intiwasi-Temple of the Sun, explaining that the Temple had two windows to mark the seasonal equinoxes. Marco told us that the Incas were astronomers and scientists who understood magnetic forces and knew how to apply them.

After touring the Pisaq Ruins, we hiked back to our van enjoying the local flute player who was performing ancient melodies on the nearby trail. We traveled farther up the valley to the city of Ollantaytambo, a fantastic Inca colonial town with tremendous history. A hard rain fell on the way, but it was short-lived and quickly dried. At Ollantaytambo, we checked in to the El Sauce Hotel and discovered that we had a fantastic window view of the Ollantaytambo Ruins. After a short rest, we then made another difficult climb up many steps to the ruins, and enjoyed another wonderful lecture from our guide Marco about the significance of these ruins and the stonework in them. Peruvian kids followed us up the steps of the ruins wanting to sing for us for a few Soles. Karen and I were really beginning to feel the spirit of these ruins even though we were dead tired. After returning from the hard climb up and down the ruins, we sat by a nice fire in El Sauce, and relaxed over cups of coca tea and enjoyed a late supper. It was a very early bedtime for us.

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