Day 7 On the way to Machu Picchu

On the way to Machu Picchu, northeast of Cuzco, we traveled through a gorgeous terrain with many different shades of earth tones. A beautiful farming area made especially dramatic by the glaciers in the background.
We visited Moray, an Inka archaeological site composed of four different large circular terraced areas, irrigated by springs. Scientists speculate that the Inkas used this spot as an agricultural laboratory, because pollen from different plants have been found on the terraces. The height of each terrace resembles the temperature of a certain microclimate, and the thought is that the Inkas were able to breed varieties of plants to thrive in different microclimates of Peru. A vast site and very magical. Tourists are no longer allowed in the circles, but a trail covers the perimeter of the very large site.

 

Next we visited the home studio of an Austrian, married to a Peruvian for 30 years. She has a workshop where she produces felted hats, slippers and other items. We enjoyed seeing her felting process. She is working with three Peruvian women who help her produce the items.

 

After lunch in Ollantaytambo, we visited the archaeological site. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Ollan: “During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region, built the town and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru it served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance. Nowadays it is an important tourist attraction on account of its Inca buildings.”

We were led by our guides, two brothers, Fidel and Nilo. One of them took part of the group up to the highest areas, the other took us to sites below. No photos I take could do this place justice. Here’s a few:

 

Love the orange lichen.

 

This woman and her husband are tilling their soil. Behind them way up on the mountain is the storage facility the Inkas built to house the agricultural produce from the fields.

 

We then took a train to Aguas Calientes, where we settled into the Hotel Andina. The river runs right outside my door. I can hear it roar. Wish I could stay here longer than one night.

 

We had a snack on the train, so I wasn’t thinking of dinner, but someone mentioned Pisco Sours and I changed my mind. Aguas Calientes is the terminal point for the train and starting point for the buses going up to Machu Picchu, so tourists are its reason for being.
We stopped at little nondescript place near the hotel for our Pisco Sours with dinner. This was my first and I did love it. Several of the group ordered another, but I held back thinking of that tomorrow is Machu Picchu.
One of the group who had been shopping passed by on her way to the hotel and sat with us a while. She showed us a book she had purchased on Peruvian textiles. Our young waitress saw it and got very excited. It turns out the textiles were from her village, and she had had actually woven cloth like that shown in the book.
She was delighted to see images in the book related to her village and its heritage. Here she’s happily signing the book.

 

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