Peru-Part 2-CUZ-Ollantaytambo

Here we are over 2 years after the fact, I am going to try to finish up the blog about my trip to Peru.  I had all the intentions of finishing this blog post two years ago, but I kept putting it off because I was still queasy about parts of the story you will come to find out.  Then Life got a hold of me and I never finished it.  Now I am two years and several blog posts should have been written about other adventures.  I’ll try to make them up …

Facts may be distorted due to mental distress and the effects of time on my memories …

First thing in the morning of day 2, we gathered up our sleeping bags, gear, and personal belongings that we would be taking on our trek, and had the Hotel Marques store the rest of the stuff we didn’t need for the the week.  After everyone in our group got their bags packed, we boarded a small van and headed for the Sacred Valley.

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We descended 1500 feet to the valley floor of the sacred Urbamba river stopped off at a roadside market where Brian picked up a small stuffed cuy as a souvenir and I got a beanie made from alpaca, as well as a blanket made from alpaca.  We also got to go check out some alpaca one of the locals had there ready to be posed with for a small price.  After that we headed up to the ruins of Pisac and wandered around for a short tour, then down to the villiage of Pisac to the larger market there. 

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At this market, several of our group members ended up getting lost, and we enjoyed checking out the local goods, as well as a cute little house filled with squeaking cuy waiting to be killed and cooked.

Once our guide was able to round up the lost members of our group, we continued onto Urubamba where we stopped for lunch at a buffet style resturant.  This is where I first tried ceviche and loved it.  Luckily they didn’t try to serve us cuy here.  After having lunch we kept heading down the sacred valley to Ollantaytambo.  Here we toured more Incan ruins, including a hike up temple hill to the temple of the Sun.  It is quite amazing when you see the stones these people hauled from neighboring mountains.  From the top you could see some of the stones that were quarried and meant to be drug up to this temple, but never did make it all the way.  Across the valley from the ruins you could see even more ruins high on the mountain.  It was directly below these that we would be staying the night.

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Situated at the foothills of Pinkuylluna, a sacred Inca mountain, was a quint little B&B, the Apu Lodge.  For some reason this night was one of my most memorable of the visit.  This B&B was not only directly below some very cool looking ruins, but it was also off the regular streets on the outskirts of this village.  To get to it you had to walk up a stone path that cut through where all the locals lived, up to the small lodge.  We ended up walking past homes with the red garbage bags hanging out front to signal they sold chicha (the local beer) where groups of men would be huddled in the small dirt floored homes drinking away and chatting away in Quechua.  We would pass homes that in their small yards they would have cows, chickens, or other smaller animals roaming. 

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That night we found a restaurant in the town square that for the first time we really had to use some Spanish.  The waitress didn’t know any English.  Thankfully I had taken some Spanish courses before we went to Peru and they paid off.  We were able to somewhat understand what we ordered, and we had an amazing meal.  I don’t remember what I ordered now, but I do remember it was pretty good.  I do remember Brian ended up ordering lomo saltado, which is a popular, traditional Peruvian dish that combines marinated strips of sirloin with onions, tomatoes, and other ingredients and is served with potato slices.

After this wonderful dinner, and a little roaming around the town center, we made our way back up to the lodge and crashed for the night to get a little needed rest before all the hiking started in the morning.

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