Today was trip day! Historically the FWCC conference has a day in the middle of the conference for people to get out and explore (or stay in and rest) and not do any conferency things. It can be an overwhelming experience and it's nice to get away an do something different.
The day started out a little disorganized as the tour company tried to figure out how to manage the large group going on the Sacred Valley tour. Here we all are milling about waiting for our buses.
We finally got on our bus and I was happy to be with Nancyrose, and Karen back there who jumped in the picture. =) There were 11 of us in the van and they assigned one guide for each two vans. Our first stop was some Inca ruins on the other side of Pisac (which I can't remember the name of now).
It was a fair bit of a drive away and view down into the valleys was spectacular.
This is a view of the crazy switch-back road leading up to the ruins.
After getting out of the vans we had a bit of a hike up to the main area of the ruins.
We spent a very little time in this area and I missed part of what the guide talked about (because I had to run and find a bathroom!) but I believe this area was mostly for housing and agriculture - thus the loads of terracing. I do remember the guide talking about how the Incas built up on the hillsides and mountains because it was better defensively than being in the valleys.
|Lupine!! It grows everywhere here.|
|Karen and I at the Pisac ruins|
As we were leaving people started trying to sell us stuff. Loads of hats and knitted and woven things, textiles, keychains, and bottled water. I loved the flowers this little girl had attached to her hat.
After another long drive we came to Ollantaytambo. Our guide had told us to save our energy for this one because there were a lot of steps. Were there ever! This is a site of a sun temple, so a bit more religious in nature, though there was a site for food storage on the mountain across the valley from the temple.
|steps going up and up and up|
|We stopped every terrace level or more to catch our breath|
|The town stretching out away from the ruins|
|getting higher and higher up|
|This is pretty much the top. There is a small complex of rooms up here, for the temple I believe|
|The town is down behind me. You can sort of see a square shaped thing on the mountain behind me. That was used for food storage.|
|Thinking about heading back down (and down, and down!)|
It was very windy at the top. Three valleys meet here and the wind sweeping through is incredible. The stone used to build this site came from a mountain some miles away. The stone was cut and carried somehow down than mountain, across the valley, and up this mountain. The amazing thing is that the Incas had no tools - they didn't have steel or diamonds for cutting or anything like that. They used stone somehow I guess. They also didn't have any animals other than llama or alpaca, which won't carry more than 100 pounds. Many of the big stones weigh in the 100s or 1000s of pounds. They somehow cut and moved all the stones for the temple by hand!
|Cute little llamas at the base of the ruins.|
|Some of the ruins at the bottom of Ollantaytambo|
After climbing around Ollan (as some shorten it too) we were back in the bus and off for a long drive to the last stop: Moray.
|Snow capped mountain in the distance, on our drive.|
When we got to Moray I ran off to the bathrooms (drinking a lot of water supposedly helps with the altitude...but it means you have to pee all the time! :)
There was a stand with 3 or 4 stalls of folks selling crafts. I noticed a couple chicks wandering around and was trying to get a picture of them. This very young boy and his sister came to catch the chicks so I could get a picture. I had a fun little conversation with them about how many chickens we have here at home.
Moray is an interesting site. The Incas terraced down into these deep areas and apparently there is a drain of sorts at the bottom of this. I'm not sure if it is known for sure what the purpose of sites like this are (there are several like this). Our guide was suggesting it was for agriculture and that they got different temperatures between the higher and lower areas of this which could help with different crops. It's also less windy down there. But I heard another opinion from another guide, so who knows.
It's hard to get an idea from pictures just how huge this place is. To give you an idea, I'm pretty sure there are people walking around down there somewhere. I can't tell now in the picture where they are...but they are tiny. Each of those terrace walls is taller than the height of a person. And it just keeps going down and down.
My phone battery died just after reaching Moray so I didn't get too many shots of it. It was a long day of touring and photographing! Many of use had been looking forward to getting the famed salt flats, but we had run out of time so we didn't get to visit there. Maybe next time I'm in Peru. =)