01.04.2010 - 01.04.2010 20 °C
Our first stop in the Sacred Valley was in village called Chinchero where we visited an old Inca church.
Chinchero is mainly known for their textiles, so we then got given a little presentation on the local fabrics and the way they were still using to dye the wools using various different materials like parasite from cactus (cochineal from which the carmine colour is obtained), herbs, moss and so on.
Since the recent floods in the region – calling for the closure of treks and trains to Machu Picchu in the last 6 weeks or so – some of the highways have also been damaged so badly that a route that should take us 30 min now requires a 2h30 detour to get to our next destination in the Sacred Valley: Pisac.
In Pisac, we discovered some old archaeological ruins sitting at the top of agricultural stone terraces set in a semi circle and going down the valley. The terraces were used for agriculture and it is said that the semi-circle represents a partridge´s wings.
Finally after lunch (and a flat tyre on our tour bus) we reached the town of Ollantaytambo. This is the final stop in the Sacred Valley for us.
Here we discover more ruins and terraces from the Inca but also the Pre-Inca times, this is visible in the smoother style of rock cutting used for building along the terraces and ruins. The Inca never destroyed buildings and would always build on existing foundations.
The town´s houses themselves are apparently pretty much unchanged from the Inca foundations too; we were told that only the roofs were now modernised and made stronger.
Near the ruins was a lovely little market where we were able to browse and buy some souvenirs.
We are also to spend the night here in order to be closer (than Cuzco) to Machu Picchu and the train the next morning for the start of the trek. This is again due to the recent flooding and the fact that all railways to Agua Calientes (the closest town to M.Picchu) aren’t fully operative yet.