Peru! Cusco and the Sacred Valley

Wow! My trip to Peru has come and gone and now I’m left with a living room full of dirty clothes and souvenirs!

My first challenge was getting to Cusco: from Melbourne that involves four flights. In Lima we had to clear customs, drop our bags and board the final flight to Cusco. The airline lost my bag. The result was that I missed the connecting flight and LAN put me up in a 5 star hotel in Lima until I could get another flight!

Having made it to Cusco, I had no idea how the altitude would effect me. Not well evidently. I live at sea level, Cusco is more than 1000 metres higher than the highest point in Australia. No amount of preparation at home could have prepared me of that. I felt dizzy and slightly sick but pushed through it. It’s all part of travelling to new places. Stairs, however, were not my friend.

La Catedral on Plaza de Armas, View down Choquechaka, Cristo Blanco overlooking Cusco

My first visit to an Incan site was at Sacsaywamán. It’s an Inca ruin of both religious and military significance. Although it seems huge, only about 20% of what once was stands today. The Spanish conquistadors tore down many walls to build their own buildings. (You can read more about the site here.)

Sacsaywamán

After a few days acclimatising in Cusco, It was time to join up with the tour to hike the Inca trail. I couldn’t do that without being my usual clumsy self and slipping in street (after having some Pisco Sours) and pinching a nerve in my hip. Ouch. Being stubborn, I refused to let that hold me back. I was going to be at Machu Picchu for my birthday and I was not getting there the easy way!

Before beginning the trek, we got to visit a small village where the local ladies were making yarns from Alpaca fleece in the traditional way and weaving. It was a lovely insight into the work of making many of the souvenirs I’ve bought for friends and family (gloves, jumpers, scarves and a blanket)

Weaver, alpaca, and hand dyed wool
Weaver, alpaca, and hand dyed wool

We also visited two Incan sites at Pisac and Ollantaytambo- a teaser of what was still to come.

 

Pisac
Pisac
Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo

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