October 24, 2007

Valle Sacrado

Before leaving the Cusco region, there are a number of places to see. Cusco is situated close to the Valle Sacrado (Sacred Valley), where the Vilcanota River, later changing name to Urubamba, is surrounded by fertile lands, cultivated since thousands of years with a lot of memories from the Inca times and still basically inhabited by natives of the Quechua ethnic.

I made a tour together with a local guide, 73 years old, retired teacher, fluent in Spanish, French, English, German… and of course in the local Quechua, as talked by the Incas.

On the way to the valley we first visited Chinchero (3800 meters, 12500 ft), believed to be the “birthplace of the rainbow”, an important town during the Inca times. There are some fantastic agricultural terraces still in use, some ruins, a market place, a church… and some splendid views.

Arriving to the valley, we first visited Urubamba, surrounded by Inca installations. We also went to see the local market, not at all dedicated to tourists, just there for the daily needs of the local population.

We made stops as Yucay and at Calca. By chance it was the day of the month when the natives descend from their mountains to receive a monthly very modest governmental allocation. The central place of Calca was full of women, queuing in front of the small bank office. Only women… ; I guess that if the men would have been there, little money, if any, would have been left at their return. They were so friendly and offered some of their potatoes, the only food they had brought.

Next goal was Písac, where we first visited another fantastic Inca settlement with the best remaining Inca “andenería” (irrigated platforms) system (what you can see on the top picture) and a number of ruins, high above the present village with the region’s perhaps best known market place.

We ended the tour by a nice lunch between the guide, the driver and myself, costing me 15 $, beer, wine and coca leaf mixture included, maybe the best meal I had in Peru! On the Peruvian menus you will generally be offered excellent soups, trout as dominating fish, llamas, alpaca, “cuy” (guinea pig) or chicken as meat, “papas” (potatoes; some 600 varieties), corn (also in a lot of varieties and colours), a magnitude of wonderful vegetables – all this can be rather spicy -, nice cakes (cucadas, churros, champus), fruits of all kinds, very good beers and some more than acceptable local wines….

As usual, I propose that you have a look on my photo blog, if you wish to see the above photos in full size.

21 comments:

Cuckoo said...

The warmth of people and the colourful markets very much look like India. But yes, you won't get liquor on the road. :)

The agriculture fields on mountains are very similar to what we have in India. Always fascinating to see.

Ash said...

Gorgeous colors!!

That handsome man in blue looks familiar :)

hpy said...

Gor mig stum!

Peter said...

It seems that I now get more comments on my photo blog than on this one! I hope that's a sign that my photos are of some interest!

Nathalie said...

Dear Peter, I had missed out on the beginning of your trip but am catching up with much interest.

This place is turning to a great travelblog with just the details and photos I'd want to see if I were planning a trip there. Now I'm off to your other blog for a better look at the photos.
Cheers!

Nathalie said...

I have travelled to central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama) and the feeling is very similar. Your photos are beautiful.

delphinium said...

Bonjour peter, chose promise, chose due. Me voilà pour votre plus grand plaisir j'en suis sûre (pas gonflée la nana...)
Donc tout cela pour dire que
1. vos photos sont un enchantement, ce qui me frappe, ce sont les sourires des gens, et les couleurs de leurs habits, je suis sûre que ces couleurs transpirent sur leur visage, leur donnant ces si beaux sourires. Il y a beaucoup de pauvreté dans ces pays là-bas mais quand on voit ces photos, on se dit que les gens sont quand même heureux.
2.Il y a quelques années, j'ai fait des jeux de rôles. Vous savez, ce genre de jeu où il y a un scénario, un maître de jeu et dans lequel chaque joueur s'invente un personnage. Moi j'étais une aventurière, historienne et mon domaine de prédilection, c'était la civilisation des incas. Je parlais régulièrement du Macchu Picchu à mes camarades de jeu. Et pourtant je n'ai jamais été là-bas, mon esprit travallait par abstraction et j'arrivais à divaguer sur des endroits que j'avais jamais vus. :-) Malheureusement ce jeu de rôles s'est arrêté, on ne se réunit plus.

3. concernant la remarque de maxime de hier qui disait qu'il aimerait bien être un condor. Je connais plein de cons-d'or. Ce sont des cons supérieurs, des cons de première catégorie. :-) J'espère bien que Maxime ne deviendra jamais un con-d'or. :-)
Voilà je crois que j'ai tout dit, il me reste à vous souhaiter une bonne journée à Paris. Ici il fait gris et froid... cela donne tout simplement l'envie de ne rien faire du tout. Je vous embrasse

Peter said...

nathalie:
I know that you are a big traveller! Nice to see you around here also!

delphinium:
Merci pour tous ces commentaires qui m'aprennent aussi un peu plus de vous (mais pas encore assez)!

Shionge said...

Such a beautiful landscape and bustling place with such vibant colours...I wish to visit Peru someday soon :D

oldmanlincoln said...

That sacred valley is really nice. I just never think about terraces around there. I guess that is how far removed from reality I am.

Nice photos.

USAincognito said...

Guinea pig!?! They actually eat those things?!? Wow!!
Thanks for pointing out your main blog to me. I had only been visiting your photo blog. Will mark this one to visit, too. :)

Peter said...

shionge:
I dreamt about it for a couple of years, before doing it. You have still time to dream a bit more (also relating to your "dream-post" today)!

oldmanlincoln:
Terraces are of course linked to mountain landscapes, but I believe they are typically Asian and South American. Maybe another "proof" of the relation between these continents?

usaincognito:
On all continents and in all countries, we have a tendency to eat something that surprises elsewhere! I'm happy you found your way to this blog!

Nihal said...

Being someone who likes to try the cuisine wherever I travel in firstly, so I appreciate that you did inform us about their cuisine. Say I have another good reason to travel Peru and Bolivia because of ''very good beers and local wines'' in accordance to your statement:) Beer and wine, hmm... both are the favorite drinks in my life:)Thanks Peter for these details important and useful.

Cergie said...

Mais dis donc Peter, tu dragues honteusement Delphinium !
Tu sais qu'elle ne voyage qu'avec ses deux chaperons, sa vache et Delirium; Tu as intérêt a trouver des comparses pour occuper ces deux dernières. Les plans drague doivent être soigneusement pensés

Merci d'avoir amené ton quatre quart sur Jardin de Marguerite, cela me permet de soulever un pan supplémentaire de ta vie aventureuse
Je comprends bien que tu es lancé et que tu ne peux revenir comme ça pour une question culinaire. Quoique après la boisson, ça parle bcp nourriture ici...
La nourriture du corps pour permettre à l'esprit de s'élever !!!

J'adore les rides de la terre. Cela me rappelle la chine. Il en est toujours ainsi qd la terre est précieuse. Cela évite aussi le ravinemt

Les couleurs de tes photos m'enchantent. Un patchwork de vie et de bonheur...

JoAnn - NL "My digital eyes" :) said...

Hi peter ,
As I said before fantastic to see those photo's and knowing you "you are so detailled in your information" ( also a good idea to publice the full size on your photoblog) just like a travel guide, thanks!!!

Today I posted some more historical photo's of Italy, you might be interested,

I've also been tagged so if you want to know more about me:)

Greetings from JoAnn:)

ruth said...

Some trout, please! I'll pass on the guinea pig.

So colorful, Peter. Very nice.

Peter said...

nihal:
It seems that you have the right attitude to a number of things!

cergie:
Pourquoi "honteusement"? Je hesite seulement entre delphinium et delirium.
Oui, on commence à savoir plus sur moi que moi sur d'autres dans le cercle de bloggueurs!

Peter said...

joann:
Maybe a tavel guide but also for me, a way to remember a few things later.

ruth:
The guinea pig does not seem to be very popular, however, the taste is good!

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