Sunday, June 22, 2014

Inca Trail Marathon Adventure Day 2: Pisac

Nice early start today (okay, 9am) to head out to Pisac to wander around the big Sunday market and the ruins above the city. We asked if we could switch to Cesar's bus (more free time, less explanation) but were told that we would "want the continuity" of the same guide. That said, feedback had clearly been given: we were told that when we got to the ruins, we could listen to the guide for 45 minutes and have 45 minutes to wander on our own... OR we could just accompany the guide to the later meeting place and have 90 minutes on our own.

But before Pisac, we stopped at a weaving cooperative where women demontrated weaving using natural dyes, spinning wool yarn, and -- wait for it.... LLAMAS!! ALPACAS!! GUANACOS!!! VICUNAS!!!!

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traditional weaving
We went in and someone started to explain the different techniquest. Well, I happen to know a bit about weaving and making natural dyes and OMG ALPACAS!!!!!

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Wil and I scurried off around the corner and a man handed me a double fistful of grass and I became QUEEN OF THE ALPACA (SQUEEEEEEE!). They didn't particularly want to be touched on the head, but were fine if you stroked their backs. Some had been recently sheared and were very fluffy, while others had long "ringlets" of fur. They all had sweet faces.

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Speaking of camelids... in the morning, a parade was going by our hotel. Some of the dancers had what looked like tiny stuffed llamas on their belts. I had just started to say, "Look, they make fake baby llama skins..." when Wil gave me a look that meant, "think about that for a minute"…

And, well, oh, of course, those are just baby freakin' llama skins. Heads, feet, and all. Think "Build-a-Bear" husks before they're filled. But real.

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Those aren't fake baby llamas. Nope.

After I was out of grass we wandered on, past the little shop (though I did buy an Inka Cola Zero there), into the big shop (nice enough stuff but I simply don't need a jumper with llamas on it).
There was also a surprisingly interesting display of potato varieties (I know, I know, but SERIOUSLY), along with those gorgeous giant corn kernels and grains.

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Wil showing off his puma impression
Then back in the buses for the drive to Pisac ruins. A little chaos getting in -- now they want each person to individually get their baleta punched, rather than a group leader to do it. But soon we passed the controls and were headed on up.

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The ruins were spectacular -- steep terraced hillsides, beautiful stonework. We walked past the first set of buildings, which were part of a military post, then made our way to a quiet spot where we were going to meet up 90 minutes later. We listened as Victor explained the highlights of the layout of the site, but then slipped off to explore on our own. Again, I don't really have any words, but I do have pictures:

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I loved the trapezoidal windows, doors, and niches, the joins of the stones, the holes that looked like they had been used as conduits for rope hinges.

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We also retraced our steps to the military part of the complex, where we saw more gorgeous stone work, and took our favorite picture of the trip so far:

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We then rejoined the group for the walk down -- while others took the bus. The walk was GLORIOUS -- a few steep sections up, plus a narrow and low tunnel that freaked me out a little bit, but it was indeed glorious. Beautiful vistas, pleasant walking. At one point we walked across a terrace. Wil was correct: they're way more cool from a distance.

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trail to Pisac -- a tiny taste of the Inca Trail to come!
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We also passed through a religious site, where I noticed that the buildings had rounded corners. ROUNDED CARVED GRANITE CORNERS. Amazing.

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At a couple of points we suddenly heard a flute player -- Jenny said, "it's like Disneyland!" and I said, "we must have tripped a laser."

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Jenny on the trail

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At some point Jenny took a picture of me and Wil "bowl-of-fruiting" -- classic!

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Eventually we arrived in the town of Pisac -- the market was large and a little overwhelming. We didn't have any needs, though Wil almost bought a lurid acid green poncho and I bought some ridiculous leg warmers. Oh, he also bought a ridiculous hat, and I bought a scarf and a llama bottle opener for way too much money ($1.66.). We also ate empanadas and tried the purple chicha for the first time: nice!

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We spotted a nice "chill-out bar" with a balcony overlooking the "locals" market (food rather than ponchos), and headed up there. A couple of guys were playing reggae music (seriously), and we decided it was the perfect time to try our first Cusquena beers, which are surprisingly tasty and come in a beautiful bottle with a relief of stones around the outside. This is the beer that is sourced at the springs at Tambomachay. We sat up on the balcony for quite a while, watching the scene. We even saw a funeral move around the market, complete with brass band accompaniment.

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Eventually it was time to meet up at the Blue Llama, a nice little coffee shop, and we got on the bus to head home.

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Wil's ridiculous hat

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my ridiculous leg warmers
That night we had a group dinner at a "traditional restaurant" with a very diverse buffet. Lots of nice vegetarian choices, including an amazing layered avocado dish. We had a round of Pisco Sours, then a couple of bottles of agua con gas. The music was okay, but we had eaten and we were tired and ready to go. We worried that we weren't "joining in" enough, but, hey, it's only day 2!

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We walked home, stoppping to look at the plaza at night: beautiful.

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I love this photo -- it looks as if the Inca is on stage at a concert, and his fans have their lighters in the air

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yes, this is a larger-than-life statue of a man playing the accordion, another man playing the violin, and a llama wearing a Peru soccer jersey while holding the Jules Rimet trophy

Then bed, and a great night's sleep!

1 comment:

skroman said...

You're going to wish you had gotten that llama jumper! Do your ridiculous leg warmers have stirrups?