Our day starts at 3:30 am today to catch our flight from Lima to Cuzco. Have I already mentioned how much I hate these early mornings? We only got a few hours sleep last night as we flew into Peru from Ecuador. Today we just take it easy and try to acclimatize to the higher altitude. This means dressing warm, drinking lots of water and sipping the local coca tea. We do some shopping, find some local cheap eats, walk around the town and organize our trips for the next couple of days. I find a favourite new food called Picarones, which is a fried dough, kind of like a doughnut or fritter with honey on top. Yum, you can't beat the food at the little street vendors.
Today we go on a full day tour of the Sacred Valley and visit some local markets and Inka ruins including Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Its our first really wet day and we end our day in the dark and rain at the town of Chinchero. We hike up the steep cobbled streets to visit an old colonial church and find the villagers in the middle of a Carnival tradition. There is one solo tree at the top of the hill and there's a large crowd of villagers singing and dancing around the brightly decorated tree. On a closer look, we see that part of the dance includes intermittently chopping at the tree with an axe. All of a sudden, the tree comes crashing into the crowd while the locals scatter with screams and laughter. They have such funny festivals and traditions here!