We woke up around 6:30 am to shower and get dressed for a whole day filled with activities in the Cuszo area! After a quick breakfast in our hostel we got picked up at 7:30 am by our guide for the sacred valley tour.
The tour guide explained a lot about the usage of cacao leaves dating back to Inca times, the growth of Cuszo which now inhabits over 500,000 people. The city center is ancient and an UNESCO world heritage, there for expanding is happening towards the southern parts of the city.
After an hour we arrived in Pisac, 2,500 meters above sea level. We passed some ancient Inca terraces on our way to the Pisac Ruïns. We had paid beforehand for the entrance fee to Pisaq, Ollantaytambo, Mopay and Chinchero which is 70 soles per person if you need to buy it at the entrance. We are visiting the first two spots today. Pisaq was populated before, but the Incas conquered the area and reconstructed everything. They made trails, lots of terraces going from bottom to top. With on top housings, temples, tombs and guard towers. Inca really respected the nature, which you can see in their construction within the mountains. They did not destroy much and kept it as much as natural as possible.
Incas used a lot of agriculture, mainly corn and potatoes. Their power was in production of food, so the terraces were an important part of their culture. The Incas made the soil accordingly, to make sure from an engineering point everything was stable and safe. The terraces were also used as laboratories, they adapted potatoes to the different altitude for example to make more food. Nowadays Peru has 3,000 types of potatoes, but the Inca had over 5,000 types.
It used to be one big city like Machu Picchu. But after the Spanish came, the Incas moved to the mountains or jungle to escape from them. The real native Incas are still living on top of the mountains.
We went up a bit to see the cemetery. There are around 800 tombes, in the mountains carved holes with still some mummified bodies there. The mummies are in foetus position, because of the believe in reincarnation.
After that we passed through some housing, two floors with living and storage usage.
We saw some remains of the temple, with three steps symbalizing nature. There are always two symbols as well, symbolizing duality. Complementary of each other, for example son and moon, boy and girl.
For irrigation, the Incas also used aquaducts who are still working today.
Outside the entrance there are a lot of souvenir stands and also fresh orange juice and corn. The corn is really recommened to try, it is the size of big beans and comes with a piece of cheese. Delicious!
Next stop is the market of Pisac, the guide Fabricio explained that here we can get a demonstration on how to distinguish real minerals and silver from fake, since the locals are specialized in silver work. Here, the souvenirs are cheaper than Cusco and Lima. We started with a tour in a factory that males silver work. We strolled a bit and bought some table decoration for 35 soles on the market(4 placements and 1 tablecloth). Do not bother to buy in the factory itself. They asked for 350 soles for silver earrings and a bracelet, too expensive.
We passed through a village famous for selling guinea pigs on a stick. Looked really weird.
We went for a buffet with the tour, here we could try alpaca! That was the only positive thing, it was 50 soles per person and the food was aweful again. Buffet in Peru is not a good idea.
Our next destination is a bit higher, 2,800 meters above sea level, the ruins Ollantaytambo. Because of the history and an ancient lovd story, they call it the love temple. The city was established in 1400 a.d. but it is unfinished because of the war with the Spanish. There are a lot of stairs, similar to the Machu Picchu trail. You see some rock carving as well, Incas used for astromic reasons to foresee when it will become winter. There is also a big rock and four little holes to represent Machu Picchu, to honor the city. We hiked up and down the sight, which takes around 30/40 minutes.
We ended up paying 100 soles for buffet and 124 euros for the trip via Viator. Not worth the money, it can be way cheaper and we overpaid. So do not book via Viator, book while you are in Cuszo and negotiate.
We got dropped at the rail station to wait for our 19:27 pm train. Yes we arrived at 16:00 pm but at least Inca Rail has a relax area with free WiFi and unlimited water and tea. The tickets in the Voyager class (we took the lowest class because we are travelling at night towards Machu Picchu) costed us 38,00 USD.
Boarding on the train was a bit unorganized, but we made it in time. Could not enjoy the view because it was already night, and the movies they played about how the train experience looks like is not fully the real life experience, but it gets us to our destination! We got complementary drinks and snacks.
We stayed in Kaipy Inn hostel, can be recommended! Just three minutes walk to the bus stop and two minutes to the rail station. Ask for the mountain view, you will not be disappointed!
Tomorrow we gonna check 4/7 new world wonders!