Tuesday March 28, 2017

On Friday morning, at the ridiculous hour of 4:00am as the hen squawks, we woke and headed sleepily to Buenos Aires airport – flying first to Lima (three hours to the northeast) then to Cuzco (once the life’n’soul centre of the Incan Empire), smack in the middle of the mighty Andes. We then transferred bodies and bags onto a local coach and head down into the famous Sacred Valley of the Incas … arriving in the dark at the Sonesta Posadas del Inca Yucay Hotel (long name, eh?), where we had beds booked for the next two nights.

The Sacred Valley combines the natural beauty of the Andes with the incredible ingenuity of the Incan Empire – at its peak during the 14th century. It is home to many hotly-visited ruins, fortresses, temples, and archaeological sites. Over the next day or three, we saw more Inca stuff than you can shake a stick at … and everywhere we went along this surprisingly populated Andes valley were colourful Quechua Indians.

We followed a muddy dirt road to the Chincheri Village where we enjoyed a lesson in the Peruvian art of weaving. We eyeballed the ruins at Moray – a testament to the genius of Incan agriculture, where enormous circular terraces were once constructed as a botanical laboratory for experimenting on plant crops. We spent a couple of hours in the town of Ollantaytambo, clambering around its imposing Incan fortress. And we stopped off in another town, Pisac, for some souvenir shopping in its quaint market.

On our weary way back to the hotel, we passed numerous sellers hawking the local delicacy: barbequed guinea-pig. And Helen couldn’t help herself. She asked our driver to stop, and bought one from a Quechua chef who came aboard our bus. Helen reported later that, of all the disgusting things she’d even eaten, guinea-pig scored a minus-1!

COMING UP: The mysterious Lost City of Machu Picchu is perched on a misty mountaintop down the end of this valley … the last big ticket item on our itinerary. The show ain’t over yet, folks!

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

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