A day poking around the Sacred Valley, visiting the old Incan site above Pisaq, lunch, and then a drive to walk around the circles of Moray (instead of just looking down into them.
Bags out in front of rooms by 0645. Van leaves at 0730. Oh, and someone (not us!) made sure we had an 0600 wake up call, ugh. Thank you Mr Tour Guide. :-). After breakfast, we all clambered in the van and drove northeast from Cusco, over the mountains and down into Pisaq (or Pisac in the old-way from just a couple of years ago).
Our destination and a little warm-up hike is the Inca settlement and terraces far above the city. The van dropped us off up top, and we walked down—past terraces, then along the steep slopes to some sort of Incan astronomical observation settlement. There was no one around, and the buildings were wonderfully preserved. I might say restored, but it would take a lot of effort to redo all the blocks correctly. Maybe a better term is “weeded”, though the hillsides were arid and covered in cruxifiction thorn and puya and a bit of cactus. Chris and I both loved the curved corners, and the trapezoidal Incan design. Even better—there were almost no other tourists.
Our descent down into town was steep, super steep, with great views down into the town of Pisac and east, down the valley, where we could see real shallow terraces and acres of corn cobs laid out in drying in the sun. Patrick got waylaid by a cute 5 year old girl, lured in by a belt that the girl said “solo 2 soles!” He didn’t like that one, but chose another one, whereupon she said “8 soles” and wouldn’t budge. Patrick couldn’t disappoint her, so she made a sale.
Down at the village, there was a silver jewelry making demo—I lasted two minutes, Chris lasted even less—and I walked around the vendor stalls. Mercifully there weren’t many touts, just folks saying “painting?”, and I sat down with C, the assistant guide and had an 6 sole cappuchino. Lunch was a functional bruschetta and lasagna.
After lunch was an hour long drive out of the valley to—surprise!—Moray, and the circular terraces, or perhaps reservoirs? We spied the restaurant where we had lunch up above, and walked down in the late afternoon sun. I missed a picture of one of those big-hummingbirds on a flowering red cholla-like cactus, stupid me, I was focued on the wrong flower.
Then it was back to the hotel, a sprawling ex-hacienda with wonderful gardens, including an orange-flowering shrub I just don’t recognize but looks like it’s a petunia-family?
Dinner and bed. Tomorrow, more touring.