RTW 2011: Day 4

At 8:30 am, Josh and I left for our tour of the Sacred Valley, which is between Cusco and Machu Picchu. We were part of a large group of English speakers, and rode on a bus into the valley. Our tour guide, Fidel, was both funny and informative. He told us that our group was all a family, and he was the Papa. At every stop he called us “Fidel’s Babies”.

Our first stop of the day was a large market. We went to two demonstrations as a group. The first was at a Colonial Bakery, in which they also roast guinea pigs. There was even a cage of the ones that they were still fattening up.

Our second demonstration was at a silver smith’s store. They showed us the raw silver, and then the process of making the silver jewelry. After that demonstration, we had about half of an hour to wander through the stalls. We saw some weavers in action, and a food market as well.

After we got back onto the bus and headed to lunch. Our lunch was at a fabulous buffet. There were so many dishes it was incredible. Also, there were musicians serenading us, and the restaurant had beautiful gardens. It was fabulous.

The next stop on our docket was a Sun Temple called Ollantaytambo. We climbed up, but Fidel was so great. We got to climb a little bit, then rest as he explained something, then climb a little bit further, hear more explanation, etc. It wasn’t hard at all. He explained the difficulty in cutting white granite, which is what all the Inca’s temples and Machu Picchu are built of. There are many mysteries about how the Inca built all that they did, since they had no written language. Very impressive and mysterious.

Our last stop on our tour was a village with an old church. First we went in to a traditional weaver and one of the girls did a demonstration of how they go from sheep wool, or llama wool to yarn. Then how they dye the wool with various plants, then the process of weaving the intricate patterns that have been passed down through the generations. She did an excellent job, even making jokes in English.

We went the the church, which was plain on the outside, but inside it was painted with elaborate frescoes on all the walls and ceiling.

It was an excellent day and we really enjoyed our tour.