After a very good breakfast buffet, we today head off for a tour to the Sacred Valley of The Incas.
The Sacred Valley.
After a drive through the mountains, we come down into a town to have a rest break & to visit a market where we are shown the different meat, fish & vegetables that the local people will be purchasing for their own use.
It certainly doesn't look like the vegetables in Asda at home & the meat counter most definitely isn't Asda, the birds all still have their heads on & are hung from strings. The fish section has many fish laid out on flat tables, all it seemed came with free flies. I don't know if they are the same flies that they used to catch the fish with but they don't make me want to try the fish.
As we leave the town & travel along a dusty road we are offered roast guinea pigs by street stallholders on the side of the road. They hold up whole guinea pigs with skewers through them, they look like large kebab skewers. In Peru guinea pig is the national dish & is also a good luck symbol. The lottery in Peru uses posters of cute guinea pigs holding lottery tickets for its advertising.
As we drive through a rural landscape & through many small shanty towns we notice a large police presence & are told by our guide that the president of Peru is due through here today. There must be an election & he needs the people in the shanty towns to vote for him.
For lunch, we stop off at a restaurant on the grounds of a very impressive hotel, where they had an equally impressive buffet. I noticed a few pilots leaving this complex on their way back to Cusco for their flights, they must be very good pilots if they can afford to stay here in such luxury.
Our coach soon has us at Ollantaytambo (bet you have to read that more than once to try and say it). This is a very impressive looking walled Inca site. I am looking up at the steep terracing going up & wonder how people managed to get up it. I am to find out a short time later as we go in & take a walking tour to the top. For little people, the Incas seem to have very steep steps & it is very tiring walking up them. I blame my shortness of breath on the altitude & not my state of fitness.
From the top, we can see the homes of the elite & privileged of the Inca times. Across the valley, on another mountain, we can see storehouses built onto the rock face & I wonder how the workers, walked up & down to these storehouses carrying food. Even more unbelievable is how they carried the stone to build the stores up the mountainside & built them in such precarious positions.
There is a long walk down that can be taken that is not so steep but is not so well looked after & has long unguarded drops down the mountain. Walking down it would put the drop on my blind side & being wary of my inability to see where the path finished & the long drop started I decided to go back down the steep steps again. It was a walk that I did not enjoy. Because I can't gauge depth I found it difficult. But once again I hadn't come all this way not to do something so, I came, I saw, I conquered.
Our long drive back to Cuzco was longer than expected as we stuttered to a halt on four occasions. The coach it seemed was suffering from altitude sickness itself & we were all glad when we finally got back to the hotel. I feel that the driver today deserved a special mention for coping with the difficult conditions & keeping us all safe, Sir I salute you.
Once again this evening I have a sandwich & a beer in the hotel. The hotel bar has a piano & a pianist providing guests with some entertainment. If you ever saw the great Les Dawson play the piano you will understand what the entertainment was like. Unfortunately, the pianist probably hadn't heard of Les Dawson & was not playing this way for the laughter that it provided, it was all-natural.