Monday, June 25, 2012

Peru: Sacred Valley Tour

This post is an insert to our main Peru trip blog post located here.

Cusco, Peru
We woke early and met our tour guide Christian and our driver Ivan Raul for our private tour. A Peruvian friend of mine recommended taking a private tour if possible for just Sacred Valley and we really glad that we did! We got to see so much more than a bus tour would have and it was wonderful to have the one-on-one with Christian to visit, ask questions, and hear about his country. We also did more hiking and spent more time at each stop than we would have with a larger group.

We made a short stop in a little tourist shop before heading to the first of three stops on our tour - Pisac. We hiked around the ruins and listened to the history of how the Incas built terraces to cultivate different crops. When the terraces were studies in modern times, it was discovered that they can vary more than five degrees in temperature, allowing for planting of more tropical crops such as coca trees and fruit trees all the way up to peanuts, corn, and potatoes as you get higher in elevation.

We stopped and had lunch before heading to the next stop on our tour - Ollantaytambo. This site was supposed to be the greatest temple of the Incas with rocks larger than anything at Machu Picchu and no idea how they were transported there. Unfortunately, when the Spanish invaded Peru, they destroyed the temples and it was never completed. 

The last stop was the small town of Chinchero - another city destroyed, but this time by the Incas themselves. Two brothers were feuding over the rights to be ruler and the town, an important textile and weaving community, was caught in the crossfires.

Here we walked around the church and observed the mixed Catholic and Inca blend that much of Peru holds today for their religion. We also got to meet ladies that work not he textiles and see how they use plants/herbs to make different colors for the thread that goes into dying their beautiful weavings. We purchased a beautiful table decoration from their store. 

We ran into a small hiccup as we tried to head back. Ivan Raul had accidentally left the lights on and they killed the car battery. The boys push started us going downhill and we made it back to Cusco without incident!

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