by Marco Guzman, Greenheart Travel Language School Participant in Cuzco, Peru
I spent the past week in the Sacred Valley, or Valle Sagrado. Last Sunday I left for a small village called Urubamba. As I was waiting for the bus in Cusco to take us, I saw a sheep in a potato sack with only the head sticking out…the locals then proceeded to toss the sheep on top of the bus along with all the other luggage…pretty funny.
The drive to the Sacred Valley. Breathtaking does not even begin to describe the scenery. The drive took about 1.5 hrs. They drive nuts here and the roads are not very safe with little protection from hundred foot drops off.
The tiny town I stayed in was so quiet and peaceful. I was able to just lay in a hammock each day and stare at the mountains and more stars than I could count.
Visited Moray where they believed the Incas used the terraces here, which were constructed in descending circles, to experiment with different crops.
The view overlooking the Sacred Valley…
I visited the salinas where a natural stream from the mountains fills hundreds if not thousands of pools with water. After a week or so they are able to extract the salt after evaporation of the water.
We also made a visit to the ruins in Pisac. Very impressive given their high altitude and the numerous terraces all over the different parts of the mountain.
Can you see the face carved in the mountain?
I headed to a town called Ollantaytambo, and while standing atop the ruins in Ollantaytambo one of the most perfect rainbows I have ever seen formed over the town below. I could see both ends of the rainbow!
It was bitter sweet as the week in the scared valley came to an end. This might be one of the most peaceful places on earth from the stunning mountains and valleys, to the Inca history, and the absolute quiet. If you closed your eyes you could almost picture what it looked like hundreds of years ago with Incas roaming the mountains and their terraces fully planted fruits and vegetables.
We returned to Cusco one day earlier than planned to participate in a parade through the main plaza with the Spanish school. Apparently any group in Cusco can get a place in the parade and proceed up a main road into and around the plaza while dancing to traditional music and wearing traditional costumes. Somehow I was chosen to be the Inca, which meant I was to walk at the very front in a slow serious pace. What I did not know is that to the local people here the Inca is a rock star. Along the procession random people kept running up to me wanting to take their photo with me. I have never seen so many blocks shut down and so many people just having a good time and loving life. SO MANY STREET VENDORS selling all foods imaginable.
I don’t know about you , but I think I make one ugly Inca!
The other students and staff getting ready.
SO MANY PEOPLE!
Here are some pictures from the various festivals in Cusco before I left for the Sacred Valley…