We had an early start today as we commenced our next adventure to the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. After a one hour 20 minute flight to Cuzco at 3,800 metres, we board a small but comfortable bus for a two-hour ride to the Sacred Valley.
Life in Cuzco is very busy as there are so many flights into the town that bring tourists to see this very interesting region. There were 3 Airbus 320’s and a Bae146 at the airport on our arrival. Photos of the region we have seen before, seem mainly to be of Machu Picchu, but there is so much more to see and experience here. Cuzco houses are built on very steep hills and the buildings all appear to be only half completed. The colours of the buildings blend in with the desolate and barren looking surrounding hills.
While on board the coach, the local guide instructed us at length on how to cope with being at altitude. The main reason we are staying at Sacred Valley for three nights is to acclimatize to this different air pressure that brings funny responses at times before walking up Machu Picchu and being at Lake Titikaka.
Our transfer took us to over 12,400 feet; I always remember from school that Mt Cook in New Zealand was, before a strong wind knocked a bit off the top, 12349 feet high. Looking down into the Sacred Valley was another experience. Political slogans and such like are carved into the sides of some of the mountains. Some snow still sits on top of the sixth highest mountain in the Andes, Huascaran Sur.
It was a long way down into the valley and when we arrived, we were taken to a Spanish ranch for lunch. The dining room was in a large and dark room overlooking the valley with the town of Urubamba in the background.
After lunch, we were treated to a demonstration of wool spinning and washing, then dyeing of the wool using dyes from different barks. By adding salt, they made more colours from the same dye. They then spun the wool tighter to be used in the hand weaving process to make garments, etc.
No craft demonstration is complete without a ‘time to buy’ and some great purchases of wall hangings, scarves, bags and jumpers were made.
The town of Urubamba is rather derelict and in need of major building replacements but Scenic has managed to find a resort that is just ‘out of this world’. Fortunately, there is a high fence around it so the resort does not stand out too much. Everything is immaculate and modern. Our room and en suite is as large as half our house. The en suite is larger than our bedroom at home. We look out onto eucalyptus trees and lawns with barren hills close by.
Some people have come down with a belly problem and some have full-blown colds. We have turned our air conditioner off to perhaps help us out of our colds.
Tomorrow is a local tour of Ollantaytambo; you will love it.