Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | August 11, 2018

Peru-ving Myself A Traveler Again: Entry # 3

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Why yes I did walk all the way up those stairs to the sun temple. 

I’m back in Cusco at the lovey Hotel Midori, which has internet access enough to do a post. I’m not sure how coherent it will be – I had a Pisco Sour at dinner and it hit me like a freight train. There’s also been so much activity crammed into a such a short amount of time, and I’m bagged!

Yesterday was my trip to the Sacred Valley, where I joined a lovely group and visited Pisaq and Ollantaytambo, a couple of ancient sites, as well as a few shopping sites along the way, including a place where there was a short silversmithing demonstration.  The altitude and my lack of physical fitness meant I didn’t go too far up at the first site, but I still pushed myself. In the Incan archeological site  Ollantaytambo, I went all the way up to the sun temple with the group, some 230 odd stairs up. I’m very proud of myself. I also got a wicked sunburn and am much less proud of myself for that.

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On a foggy day, one can’t see much-u picchu.

After that, my group caught a train to Aguas Calientes, the access point to Machu Picchu. The train was running a little late so we didn’t arrive until about seven pm, but the chia seed cookies offered by Inca Rail were divine. I grabbed some water and snacks for the next day, and a light dinner of quinoa tabouleh at a restaurant whose name I don’t remember and was fine but not excellent. Then it was back to the Hatun Samay where I decided I should hit the sack since my pick up was for 5:30 a.m. The hotel is a little more run down than the Hotel Midori where I’m staying in Cuzco, but it was clean and fairly quiet, minus a few voices in the stairwell incidents.

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The fog partly lifts, giving Machu Picchu a mystical, magical air.

Today, it was 5:30 to walk to the queue for the bus for Machu Picchu. It was raining and the poncho I’d bought came in handy (though honestly I thought the woman had said coca leaves and bought it by mistake) as the wait for the bus was about an hour. Then it was a windy road to Machu Picchu by bus for a half hour. The roads are so narrow that sometimes two busses can’t pass one another and one has to back up to a wider spot!

Machu Picchu was wet and foggy when we got there, but our guide, Erik, was very knowledgable and the fog lifted a little thought the morning, casting the site in a mystical sort of spell. Like the Sacred Valley, it too has many stairs, but I made it and I even walked up to a second temple even though I could have stayed behind with a couple other members of the group. I am quite proud of myself for that! The site was beautiful, and I would definitely recommend going, and I say that even though I slipped on some steps and went down on a metal grate. No blood shed, thankfully, though I did joke that there had almost been another human sacrifice.

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Llama! BABY LLAMA!

After meandering out (and saying hello to the llamas), I took a bus back to Aguas Clients, where I found myself kind of hustled into another not really memorable restaurant with the exact  same menu as the night before. I had the quinoa soup, and it was not nearly as good as the one I’d had at Incanto (nor really what the menu advertised).  I did get to write and send off my postcards, though!

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Different plants, minerals and insects create these awesome colours of wools. The baby alpaca wool is so soft, guys!

After that, it was a train back to the Ollantaytambo station, where I was picked up with two members of the group and driven by car back to Cuzco. We even stopped at a little market and got a very cool demonstration of how textiles are made by hand, from shaving the wool, washing it with a root from the jungle, spinning it, dying it, weaving it… My favourite was the red made by crushing a beetle or bug of some sort that lives in the cacti around the area. I even bought a cute tam in the colour.

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A Peruvian woman in traditional dress, with an alpaca. You can tell it is an alpaca because it is SO FLUFFY.

I had dinner at Incanto again because it was so great and I was too tired to check out something new (to the point the KFC looked tempting). It was wonderful, from the quick service despite my lack of reservation, the food (I had chicken stuffed with prosciutto and Andean cheese, like a Peruvian version of chicken cordon bleu with a side of creamy pasta) and the aforementioned Pisco Sour. I’m not sure what Pisco is, other than delicious, but it is kicking my behind!

Then it was back to the hotel to blog and change out my suitcase so I can take just the carryon to Puno tomorrow and have my big bag stowed. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure – and to sleep. So many stairs over the past two days! SO MANY STAIRS.

 


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