Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Sacred Valley and Cusco

In the morning our tour guide arrived five minutes early to our hostel lobby for the start of our day tour to the southern part of the Sacred Valley. Our bags were packed and in storage at our hostel since we leave Cusco tonight on the 10pm PeruHop bus to Puno.

I am a bit concerned because there is political unrest in both Bolivia and Chile. The Bolivian election was on Sunday and they are still counting ballots but many people are claiming vote manipulation by the current president resulting in demonstrations in the streets and strikes.

Meanwhile in Chile there are soldiers and tanks in the streets and curfews in the capital of Santiago where we are going. Some flights have been canceled because staff can't get through to fly the planes.

When we were in Lima the president suspended Congress resulting in protests with armed guards shutting down streets and we just heard that there's been an evacuation in El Salvador due to a huge sinkhole opening up. 

John quipped at breakfast the "The Scutts seem to be travelling a trail of destruction in their tour of South America".

Today went to Tipon, Pikillaqta and Andhuayillas.  The area we drove through is known for its gastronomy. Every small town had a specialty- Tipon is cuy(guinea pig), Saylla is chicharron, Oropesa is bread etc.

Our first stop was to the Incan Archeological site of Tipon which is known for its systems of terraces and irrigation.

I find my walking poles very handy for going up and down the steps and uneven terrain, however I find I need to hold myself back from wacking people who ruin the scene with their selfie sticks.

We are the only two English speaking people on the tour. Our guide's English is very good and he was great for answering questions.

We stopped at Oropesa (the bread town). We had a sample and it is delicious and I would have bought some but they only sell Costco sized amounts. I did however buy a cute Llama pen.

Pikillaqta, an ancient Wari Archeological site was our next stop. The Wari were a civilization before the Inca times.The Inca never had contact with them because the Wari had been defeated by another tribe two hundred years before. The Inca did learn how to do terraces and lay out their cities from the Wari.

We stopped in a small town of Andhuayillas and  visited the church of The Apostle of St Paul Andhuayillas.  It was a church in two styles, one being baroque.

On our way back we stopped in Saylla whose specialty is chicharron, The chicharroneria plate consisted of fried pork, potatoes and a corn salad. The plates were huge. I am glad that John and I only ordered one. Even then we were both really stuffed. It really wasn't to my taste. Too heavy.

After the tour, we returned to Cusco and went to Plaza des Armas and people watched. The handler and his hawk were back, chasing pigeons out of the plaza.

We headed across the street to check out the Temple of the Society of Jesus. The highlight was a painting from the end of the century which is considered one of Peru's most important paintings. It depicts marriage of Sir Martin of Loyola and the last Incan Princess, Lady Beatriz Nusta. John also went up and had a great view of the square from the bell tower.

We went to the Starbucks on the plaza,  bought some drinks and watched the people in the square below. A dance group was practicing their routines. The hawk and his handler left...and the pigeons returned. From our vantage point, the Blanco Christo (White Christ) on the hill, who is lit up at night, looked like he was balancing on top of the roof of the cathedral.

We headed back to the hostel to catch some more internet before heading out on the PeruHop bus to Puno and then to  Copacobanca and La Paz in Bolivia.


Southern Sacred Valley tour- 60 soles per person ($24 CAD). We bought the tickets from Cordillera Viajes Travel Agent:  info@cordilleraviajes.com

Andhuayillas Church entrance- 15 soles per person ($6 CAD)

Temple of the Society of Jesus- 10 Soles per person ($4 CAD)

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