This morning I headed out the hotel at 8:30AM to see the Sacred Valley which basically emcompasses Incan Ruins and more Andean History. It was a great day! But exhauting due to the tons of hiking to really high places. At the Pisaq site, I was on this tiny trail headed up about a fourth of the way up and suddenly I looked down. Why? In that moment I was clung to the side of a mountain and wishing that vertigo was just one of those names that people name trendy nightclubs versus a real imbalance in a person´s well person. I took a deep breath and came down to sit with a Belguim girl that hadn´t even attempted from our tour. Infinitely more entertaining and from the others mentioned the trail only got smaller and higher. Damn heights.
As our tiny little bus speed up very tiny roads we were able to see simply beautiful mountains and of course tons of impoverished neighborhoods. There seems to be at every spot an older women in traditional grab with a young toddler also dress in the fashion usually with an alpaca or llama in tow. Several folks on the tour took pictures with them which cost about 1 sole (not even 33 cents) and I can´t help but wonder where the line of exploitation and assitance lies in these moments.
After a lunch buffet in what appears to be a private residence and a few less scary ruin climbs we finished off our day in Chinchero a tiny little town with a church at the top that was built by, guess who? My people, the Spaniards. The basically raped the Incans took their perfectly built walls and created a sacred sanctum for Jesus. The church at this point has been restored somewhat, but they still can´t pay their electric bill, so they worship in the dark. We actually saw it with the slight bit of sunlight left and a flashlight for the inner room. This tiny town was so charming and the artseans incredible.
Our guide took us in to his sisters house to show us oh the wool from alpacas, llamas, sheep, what have you are hand cleaned, spun into yearn, dyed from all natural goods and then woven into master pieces. I bought things. Who wouldn´t?
Tomorrow inthe wee hours I am off to Aquas Calientes which is the tiny town below Machu Picchu. Soon I will be reunited with the trekkers. A sappy moment...this is the first time since El and I have met that we have not at least spoken on a telephone. Can´t wait to see him!