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Irene's Adventures

Peru - Sacred Valley

PERU | Monday, 20 May 2013 | Views [314]



On the way to the Sacred Valley we stopped for a photo opportunity on a ridge overlooking a beautiful valley. There just happened to be a small outdoor market right there. How coincidentally convenient!

Then we went to a small village where the local women showed us how they spin, dye and weave alpaca and llama wool. They grate a root of some sort into a pan of water and it actually foams up to make a soap.  They wash the wool with this, as well as other clothes and themselves, too.  They showed us how different corns, roots, leaves, and berries are used to create different colors of dye. Then they opened their little market for all those who wanted to buy something.


making soap  colors  colors


From there we went to Chinchero and I got my first taste of altitude.  At 3800 meters, I was surprised at how out of breath I became by climbing stairs and hills.  Some of us went to an archaeological site that really showed off the amazing Inka steps.  These steps were used for agriculture, growing corn and other grains.


 3800 meters  inka steps  


We were fortunate that there was a religious festival going on throughout the region and the locals came out in their finest traditional dress.  Later, I discovered that a lot of locals dress this way all the time.  Many of the younger people opting for more American clothes.  We got to go into a very old Roman Catholic church with beautiful frescoes with an inscription of 1607 on the inside arch.  It was built on the ruins of a very important Inka palace.  This is now known because of some archaeological evidence notably a facade with openings of triple jamb that by themselves indicate its category.




We often saw two bulls on the roof of houses.  This is a good luck symbol given to newly weds.


 bulls on roof

As we entered the Sacred Valley, the festival was in full swing with a parade of musicians and brightly dressed dancers.  Although we wanted to stop and partake of the festivities, or at least take pictures, we were on a schedule and time did not allow it.  This is one big draw back of being on a tour. :-(



After lunch we went to a place where they showed us how they make chicha, a corn beer.  It is fermented and ready to drink in a couple of days, however it also has to be drank in a couple of days, as it has no shelf life.  It is not a very high alcohol content and they add strawberries and cloves to it to make it more tasty for the ladies - almost like a cooler. It used to be the drink of royalty, but now is a common man drink.

After trying a few chicha they had us play the frog game.  You take a large coin and try to toss it into the frogs mouth.  There are other holes around the frog, giving you points as well, albeit fewer.  There is a drawer under the frog with compartments to catch these coins and show you how many points.  A real challenge when sober, let alone after a few chicha.


frog game


There was a room full of guinea pigs (cuy).  In former times, these little rodents simply ran around the kitchen.  As the cook prepared the meal, the scraps were simply thrown onto the floor for the guinea pigs to eat - built in living garbarator.  Then when the cook needed a little protein for the meal, it was close at hand - or should I say foot.



Just a few more hours to Ollantaytambo.....


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