Wednesday, June 27, 2007

more ruins to explore...

I asked my roommate, who has been here for awhile, where to go for an afternoon trip that is left on my Boleto Turisto. She said, hands down, I need to go to Pisac.

It was good advice.

Yesterday after classes, a few classmates and I EVENTUALLY found the bus to Pisac. This was challenging and required asking many people for directions, but we did it. Anyway, the locals liked hearing us mispronounce Puputi, the street we were looking for. It was about an hour bus ride, 32 km (you know how they are about the metric system in the rest of the world). Anyway, we came around a corner and the view was jaw-dropping beautiful. We were the only gringos on the bus, taking pictures out the window. This part of Peru is known as the Sacred Valley. We got off the bus in Pisac, at the bottom of the valley, where the Urubamba River flows through. To get to the ruins of Pisac, we had to walk through the markets, which were pretty incredible. Then we got to the entrance of the park which was...vertical! I was with 2 Hollanders at this point, Nicole and Jontes. Nicole has been having some health problems so she decided to take a taxi up, and Jontes and I decided to hike. According to Lonely Planet, it is a "steep 4 km hike up to the ruins." Holy cow. When LP says steep, they mean it!

Fortunately, the view on the way up was breathtaking. (Unfortunately, so was the hiking, the altitude, and trying to keep up with someone over a foot taller than me!). The ruins we could see from below were interesting, but I had no idea there were more extensive ones above! This was a bit like a false summit, thinking I was there, only to find there was still a ways to go. The ruins higher up were really amazing. Like I mentioned, I have a fascination with the intricate Incan stonework-the stones fit together so perfectly without any cement or mud of any kind, and you can{t even slide a piece of paper between them, even 500 years later. There were also some walls that had perfect curves to them. The other amazing thing about these ruins was the terraces that the Incas built for farming. We are talking a near vertical mountainside, but terraced all the way up for agriculture. Not only were these Inca industrius (who knows how they got all those stones up there without using the wheel), but there must of been huge numbers of them to need so much land for farming.
I managed to fill up my first memory card on this outing! When we were done looking around at the top and taking photos, it was starting to get dark, so unfortunately we had to take a taxi back instead of walking back down. It was not too terrifying. Then we bought some water, ran into a friend we had lost on the way to the bus stop in Cuzco, started negotiating for a taxi, and ended up hopping on a bus instead. We were hoping the cab driver would chase us and give us a better offer but he didn{t.

So. This bus ride back. All the seats were taken, and people kept coming on, cramming the aisles, and the bus left when people started shouting "lleno!" (it{s full!) with people still hanging out the door! So we ended up standing, shoulder to shoulder, for the whole ride back. At least it was less than a dollar each way! Poor Jontes, couldn{t even stand up without hitting his head on the ceiling of the bus. This country was not made for tall people like him!

Long story short, it was a wonderful afternoon trip. Today I wanted to walk back up to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, but the weather didn{t cooperate so I{ve been hanging around the school.

How is everyone at home?
How about those Rockies?


The Lindahl News said...

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the CUBS won last night playing against the Rockies!

You are really getting adventurous there...way to go! Your hike up to the ruins sounded challenging, but well worth it. That book I read at the library has really helped me to visualize you there.
Can't wait for more pictures to be showing up soon on your blog!

cellothug said...

Yeah, I hiked to more ruins today, actually the same ones the ceremony was at on Sunday, but without 5000 people there! Those Rockies....they swept the Yankees (hahaha) and were on a great streak and now have lost many games in a row!

Hopefully can add more pics soon!