10 April 2012 – Cusco, Peru
Today we were to pack all our bags again but will have to pack a separate 3-day provision. The rest of our luggages will be transfered to another hotel and will stay in their storage for 3 days. We will be taking a trip to Sacred Valley and a couple of Inca sites and will be spending the night at Hacienda del Valle.
Two in our group are still not feeling well. We’ve heard that some were throwing up last night and the lack of sufficient ventilations in the rooms did not help. Nevertheless, everyone’s ready by 8:30am.
Our first stop is the Sacred Valley Lookout. The valley certainly have a great view but even richer history. We were told of the thousands of varieties of potato and hundreds variety of corn that can be found in Peru. The guide motioned for one of the street vendor and he showed us a prepared sample of these produce in small plastic container. Corn of varying size and colours as well as beans and dehydrated potato.
Then we visited the archeological site of Pisaq, before we went to the market where I bought a Quenya. We also bought a watercolour painting done by a mute, but what he lack in speech – his work made up for his expression.
After the tour we had lunch at the Casa Grande Restaurante in Urabamba. This is a US$40 per head lunch being shouldered by Chimu Travels to make up for the fiasco in the Brazil side of the Iguazu Tour. This and another dinner-show in Cusco later in the tour is their apology.
Finally we visited the Inca site in Ollantaytambo. Some of us climbed to the top – the Temple of the Sun. Others attempted, but having not fully aclimitised yet, the heart will beat really fast. As I reached a certain level, I told Jeanne I cannot climb any further. My head is beginning to spin and I could feel my heart into overdrive. She stayed with me and said she will stop there too. A few minutes later, the guide came back for us and told us that we’ve already completed the hardest part of the climb – the rest is fairly flat and gradual ascent to no more than 20 meters more.
After catching our breath – we proceeded and reached the Temple of the Sun. There we found the best rock work of the area where large boulders were moved from the other mountain and moved with great engineering feat down the valley across the river by rechanneling the river flow and up to this height through a purpose built ramp and stacked in place with such precision.
This altar, however, was never completed by the Incas. Some boulders were still in their moving ramps, the handles have not yet been finnish off. The construction of the site was interrupted by the coming of the Spaniards.
We spent the night at La Hacienda del Valle. It is perhaps the best hotel we’ve stayed in. Our rooms are cottages spread over a property with beautiful gardens amids a river flow. Unfortunately our stay will be the shortest as well. We arrived just before sunset and will leave at 5:00am the next day before the sunrise.
At dinner, Jeanne was not feeling well. She had a bit of the soup but had to excuse herself and retired. After dinner, we were invited for a night cap of Pisco Sour – a grape liqour drink topped with egg white and a hint of cinnamon.