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14 June 2011

Sacred valley day

12th June 2011

Well today didn’t start too promisingly. Another group tour, although this one is part of our Peru itinerary and the main purpose is to get us from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. Nevertheless, I had been looking forward to being given some context into the Inca sites along the way. So imagine my joy when the first stop on the group tour was a tourist shopping complex in a cluster of unfinished concrete boxes in the middle of nowhere. Not the last stop, the first bloody stop! The freakish thing is, I could have sworn I’d been to exactly the same place in Madagascar.

Anyway, there were some llamas to photograph in the field behind the shops so that was okay.

Next stop was Pisac, a town famous for two things: its hilltop Inca ruins and its huge Sunday tourist market. Guess which we were visiting? I’ll give you a clue: today is Sunday. Now, to be fair, there was also a produce market which of course distracted me much longer than the silver and alpaca crap. And there was also an old bakery which dished out delicious empanadas in a little courtyard. We found this on our own, the only thing our guide showed us was a silver workshop (emphasis on the second syllable). No ruins.

Lunch was nice.

Ollantaytambo was the next tour stop but also our place of rest for the next two nights. So we dutifully followed our guide Ruben around the ancient field terraces and sun temple overlooking the old town before finally getting shot of him and the other lucky tourists. On review, today we learned exactly two things we didn’t know already or could have worked out for ourselves.

We didn’t quite shake off all the other tourists. A Dutch couple were doing the same thing; day tour then two nights in Ollantaytambo at the same hotel. Small world, we had also seen them leaving our hotel in La Paz on the day after we arrived. Two days before us and the lucky beggars managed to take a bus through to Copacabana and Puno with no trouble.

I should point out that Ollantaytambo is beautiful and we spent the evening watching a local festival in the town square, including grown-up versions of all the dances we saw in Cusco and a badly timed firework display*. My favourite dance involves drunken men shaking up beer bottles and then accidentally spraying them all over the crowd.

Happy ending.

* – I don’t mean that the display was at the wrong time, I mean that it was a display of badly timed fireworks which exploded early and shot white-hot sparks all over the delighted (terrified?) crowds.

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One Response to “Sacred valley day”

  1. Jane says:

    LOL @ ‘exactly the same place in Madagascar’!

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