Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en el Valle Sagrado

Friday was our tour of Saqsawaman and the sacred valley. Cuzco is also in a valley (nestled in a high mountain valley, says my book for class) but the sacred valley is a lower river valley where many Incas built their personal royal estates.

First, Saqsawaman. The ruins are just outside and above Cuzco, they’re actually said to be the head of the puma design of the city. The complex was originally a temple complex but became a fortress against the Spanish. It is known for its zigzag walls. All of that I learned in class so it was neat to see it in person and be able to nod along as the guide was explaining things to the group.

The largest rock on the site - weighs more than 120 tons and is about 12 meters tall, 5 of which are buried underground.

The zigzag walls

Looking back over Cuzco

The best part was seeing the school trip of 3-year-olds in their red uniforms, walking around in their little line. It made me even more excited to go back to working with kids at home more than volunteering once a week. Then we saw them sliding down a little rock slide and were inspired to find our own.

After Saqsaywaman we stopped at a camelid farm and saw alpacas, llamas, vicunas and guanacos. We even got to feed them. The farm makes various things from the wool to sell including some beautiful but very expensive textiles. (Like over 6000 soles expensive...that's over $2000)

Our next stop was the ruins of Pisac, a former Inca royal estate. We saw some terraces then took a little hike to see some building ruins. (And to test out our lungs at the altitude!)

The bus ride between each site also gave us some nice views of the valley

It also gave me a mystery. What are the fuzzy things on the wires that look like little dust bunnies?

Our last stop was Ollantaytambo before taking the train to Aguas Calientes to stay the night close to Machu Picchu. I liked the fountain there, they made it with a natural water filter, a little pool on top where the stuff can settle to the bottom and let just the clean water flow over. Cool!

Next: Machu Picchu!

Hasta la proxima

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