Monday, November 1, 2010



Rather than take the train directly from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) my agency had me do a great one day and night tour of the Sacred Valley. It is an incredible picturesque drive through the valley surrounded by the Andes mountains.

The day is spent looking at Inca ruins and shopping in the Pisac market.


Two days before I got to Ollantaytambu a rock and mud slide covered the main street pointing up to the mountains. High in the mountain is a glacier - the non-existent global warming has nearly destroyed the glacier and every so often it will get hit with rain and cause a melt. Late October to April is the rainy season - you do not want to travel to Peru during the rainy season. Last year because of rock and mud slides I believe Machu Picchu was closed for two months. The Peruvian government has to use helicopters to get the tourists out of Aguas Caliente.


While we stopped to see a lot of ruins, which I will get to our first long stop was shopping at Pisac market. I enjoyed this time shopping. And while this place is deep in the Andes, because of Direct tv and American programming, most people in the market speak English. I found the prices to be very reasonable. I found two nice idols to add to my collection from around the world.

During my time in Pisac I drank a purple corn drink and ate a wonderful bread stuffed with cheese. Even my brotherinlaw here in Brownsville thinks I am living dangerously when I eat street food in Matamoros. The main fault I found with the trip is the challenge in eating what the locals eat. I ate it every chance I could find it and the people in my tour group were all convinced I was going to die.

I included a picture of the Inca stone work. The Spaniards destroyed their temples so you will never really see pyramids or great temples such as you will see in Mexico - I have seen them in Mexico City and the Cancun area - they are impressive and to be admired. But in Peru what makes them superior is the stone work and their location.

Visually in terms of the pyramids Mexico is more impressive, but the Inca ruins are superior because of the stone work and their location. Science wise the two are the same - very advanced - which is why I find the western idea of aliens to have helped these people to be racists.

Just look at that stone work - they did not have steel to help them to carve those angles.

Okay from the top - that is my hotel in Ollantayambu. You are looking at the main building. There were several smaller buildings with I think about 8 rooms to a building. It was very nice - I had wireless internet and Direct tv in English and Spanish.  Breakfast is always free and it was good - the only time I had boiled plantain.  I did not eat that night - other than some saltine crackers.   the menu at the hotel was bland - I did not travel that far to eat grilled chicken breast.  I had a big lunch - chicken wings in aji sauce - but the sweat potatoes were good.  Yes deep in the Andes we chose from lasagna - spaghetti with meat sauce - they so cater to the tourists. 

Last you see the famous train to Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is 20 minutes down the mountain from Machu Picchu. The roof panels are made from plexiglass. You can see the Andes out of these panels the entire trip. The cars are nice with plenty of leg room. You sit in groups of 4 facing each other with a table in the middle. They gave us a nice breakfast. It is first class service all of the way.

Tomorrow the train ride to Aguas Calientes - the ride is slow which makes for some great pictures of the snow capped mountains - and also the falling tree or two.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally awesome! You may know this already, but if not for bullets flying and decapitations, the interior of Mexico is equally as beautiful and a lot closer to home!