After spending a day in Lima, I was hoping for more of a Peruvian cultural experience but landing in Cuzco and driving through the suburbs, it seemed like Peru may be a country full of modern concrete. We were to stay in Urumbamba for a night before heading to Machu Pichu and convinced our driver to take the Chinchero route. First stop, a visit with the weavers of Chinchero. The place had tourist trap written all over it but this is one time I did not mind. The mountain people are so beautiful, one could just keep watching them. A beautiful young woman speaking fluent English walked us through the entire process of extracting natural dyes, cleaning Alpaca wool in natural soap, dyeing and weaving. The air was thin and we gladly accepted our first cup of coca tea.
I was enamored by the beautiful handmade textiles and starting plunking away some hard earned dollars when half way through I realized that a good portion of the textiles being sold there were machine made in some factory (probably in China), at which point we made a hasty retreat but not before i captured the colors.
Our driver now took us to an overlook from where we could get the first glimpse of Incan ruins and the town of Chincero but alas it was to visit one more of the weaving farms. We politely declined to enter and witnessed some unpleasant exchange between the farm lady and the driver. She was disappointed that we had spent all our budget at the first farm.
|Ruins at Chinchero|
|clockwise: View from the top, close up of the terrace, further details on the terrace access steps, three tourists at the bottom|
|Water channels running down the terraces at Ollantaytambo ruins, Temple of 10 windows, angry man on the cliff, temple gate|
|Vegetation at Ollantaytambo|
Wrapping up Ollantaytambo we headed back to Urumbamba to walk around town, get some fruits at a local fruiteria and enjoy the most amazing spa experience at Tambo Del Inka, two and a half hours of hydrotherapy and massage..ll for around $110 US….wish i could go back just for that spa experience.
The next morning was reserved for a return to Cusco and this time instead of going through Chinchero we took the Northern path through Calca.
|Urumbamba in Valle Sagrada, Pisac|
|Two Indian women eating lunch made by two Andean Women!|
|Market Vendors and Shoppers|
|A family that modeled for me for a small price|
After exploring the market for a couple of hours (where my friend got tricked out of 50 liras but she got them back!), we took a taxi up to the Pisac Ruins (it is a strenuous hike up and from what we understand a great walk down but as if on cue the rain gods decided to pay us a visit once again).
While the ruins are like any other the spring blossoms here were unique. From the ruins you can also see burial caves across the water fall and stream. Wet and tired we returned back to Cuzco…
|Burial caves in the distance, a closeup fothe burial caves, Incan philosophy of building in sync with nature|