From Cusco to the Valle Sagrado

Domestic life
The gas ran out one night last week! Just as the last of my tomato, chorizo and bean stew was warmed. Yes, chorizo. After the wonderful chorizo at the BBQ on Friday I had decided to buy some. They were clearly coloured, an over the top pink, but tasted very nice. However, the gas ran out. Too soon for the kettle to have boiled. Dammit.

Frantic nocturnal emails to the landlady as I like to start the day with coffee. Finally, she said it would be changed between 7.30 and 8.00am the next morning. Almost 9.00am still no one had arrived. Took my washing down two nearby flights of stairs to the laundry. Most laundries offer a two hour service. Very convenient. Quite cheap. About $1.60 per kg.

Still no gas and no landlady. Eventually a guy arrived with a gas bottle, and the landlady close behind, about 10am. Wrong type first time so he had to go back down the stairs to get the right one. I was very happy.


My second week in school was great. As I could have D again, I stayed with Mundo Antiguo. Challenging but good. D knows how to vary classes from silly games to discussions of a range of topics. We went for an outing one afternoon. The museum was shut. Who knew it was another saint’s festival!

More past tenses and a focus on subjunctive in the last week. Four hours a day is enough. It’s enabled me to have conversations around town. Like with the local woman in a grotty part of town. Or with the cyclist up the hill where the white Christ statue is. And with many others.  D was good. Two weeks was enough.


A great place to visit. People are friendly. It’s easy to say ‘no’ 50 times a day to offers of massages, pictures to buy, opportunities for photos with llamas with hats almost as fancy as those of their owners. Few beggars. Pretty clean.

Anyhow, moving on…..

To the reason for the trip: Machu Picchu.

Saturday 2July 

Started the trip into Machu Picchu today. Met at the travel company’s offices at 10am. I knew one, the other Australian, and could guess who most of the rest were: one  Brit, four Americans, two Canadians and 2 Aussies. May have missed someone. Or is it 3 USA and 3 Canadians.  Anyhow, the group appears good so far. No-one obviously odder than me and some very nice and interesting.

And our main guide seems good. More later.

Small bus picked us up. We headed out of Cusco, up hills, around curves, through some grotty looking villages to Pisac.

On the way we did one of those horrible tourist stops: see llamas and vincunas, look at local women dying wool and weaving. Ugh.

Interesting being shown how one colour, cochineal can be adjusted with the addition of ?alum, or lemon juice.


And of course, the obligatory shop at the end of the visit. The llamas were mostly in little grass-free yards and they grabbed at the green stalks of barley we were allowed to give them so greedily I reckon they were deliberately kept underfed. Hmmm.

Oh, and a lookout stop, over a river flowing through the narrow valley flats. All heavily cultivated and the raised edges of the river suggested frequent floods must occur.

Huge, high mountain ranges. Bare from a distance, up close they have close growing scrub. Plus, many seem to have large areas that were once terraced. Most terraces were narrow and largely disrupted now.


Pisac is another archaeological site, once partly lost and then reconstructed. Two main particularly interesting aspects: first, the phenomenal terraces up the sides of the hill and with buildings, possibly for workers and for the storage of grain on top; and, secondly, niches once used for burials in an adjacent hillside.

The terraces are huge. Now covered with just grass and for show only, they apparently have, or had, an irrigation system. Hundreds of metres of them up protected hillsides. I think many were on the southern side of the hill. Odd, if so, as we are in the southern hemisphere.

Stairs, large and small and between and side on. Stairs everywhere. Who knows how people with short legs, like most locals, managed!

And the buildings up the top of Pisac, stone with mud filling the crevices, apparently once thatched. Our trust guide showed interesting holes in the doorways.

The hillside burial niches were long ago raided by the Spanish. Emptied of all their foetally positioned, mummified, bodies and their gold and other valuables. Not much to see from where we were.

Then, to end the day, we were bussed to the Aranwa Hotel and Spa, in Guayllabamba. So far I’ve brought my stuff to my room and not looked outside at all. So far I’m impressed.

4 thoughts on “From Cusco to the Valle Sagrado

  1. Awesome images. I would have very happy to have taken these 🤗. Tourist stops be damned … keep using them to get these images. I’m looking forward to this adventure so keep posting.


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