Day 171 – Cusco, PE and The Sacred Valley

Day 171 – Cusco, PE and The Sacred Valley      02/08/11      Mileage: 0

I met the 8 others in my group at 8:30 and we were soon on our way to the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s.

Entering the Sacred Valley

It was an hour drive to our first stop, the town of Pisac and the central market know for great local crafts and in particular silver. We were given a short tour of where they make the silver and other kinds of jewelry which was very interesting.

After walking the market we went to the Inca archeological site of Pisac above the current town. It’s an amazing site with many terraces that were still in use until a few years ago.

 After walking the site for an hour or so and a quick lunch in Urubamba, we were off to the next archeological site of Ollantaytambo. This site was to be the Temple of the Sun, but the Inca’s never got to finish it because of that pesky Spanish invasion. It was nonetheless and impressive site and in some ways more interesting as you can see how the site was built.

I am still in awe of the Inca stone work and the precision with which some sections are constructed. The seams between the large stones is so perfect you can’t fit a pin in anywhere.

The largest stones known to be quarried by the Inca’s are found here and are pictured above. They weigh over 50 tons each and were brought to the site from a mountain 7 kilometers away! It’s amazing what these ancient people did without machinery and power tools.

Errrr, yah….

Next up was the market and archeological site in Chinchero.

This market is known for its woven alpaca and sheep’s wool textiles. We were given an interesting demonstration on how they still use the ancient methods today to clean, spin, dye and weave the wool.

 After that we toured the archeological site. Like many colonial buildings in Cusco, the Spanish put their buildings on top of Inca foundations as the stone work was so good. Here the Spanish put a church on top of the stone walls of an Inca temple.

After lingering there for a bit and trying to resist the pressure sales from adorable local kids, it was back to Cusco for dinner at Paddy’s Pub and to catch up on my email.