Got to 'sleep in' til 0830 today, then up for bkfst and packing for our 1250 flight to Cusco. Will tell you more about Cusco later....
Got to our hotel 'Tika Wasi' about 1500, then met at 1700 for our pre- Inca Trail briefing with Nancy, who will be our guide. She provided us with small duffel bags to pack our things for the trail- we are only allowed a max of 6 kg per person, since everything is carried by porters. We carry only a day pack with essentials, ie water,camera, jacket, etc. Our main packs will be left at the hotel until we return.
Today we travel to Ollantaytambo, the last town before starting the Inca Trail. We are on the bus at 0730- it's only about a 2hr drive from Cusco, but we will be stopping along the way.
Our first stop is just outside of Cusco, where there is an Inca fortress called 'Saqsaywaman'(pronounced 'sexy woman')- I don't think it had anything to do with a woman, but ya never know...anyway, it is believed to be there to protect Cusco from invasion.
Next we stop at the ruins of Pisac- much larger than Saqsaywaman, with many terraces for farming, etc. We hiked around here for about an hour and a half- good practice for the Inca Trail; quite a few hair-raising narrow, precipitous trails too!
Then we head into the town of Pisac, where we stop for lunch and shop for a bit in the local market.
On the road again, we pull over in a tiny village and visit a lady making 'chicha', a local drink made from blue corn (tasted too much like beer for me, uck). There are over 12 types of corn grown in Peru.
We finally arrive in Ollantaytambo around 1530. This area is known as the 'Sacred Valley' because of the many Inca ruins and also because it is the gateway to Machu Picchu. Ollantay (o-yan-tay) was an Inca god, and 'tambo' means 'resting place'. This is our resting place for tonight, and tomorrow we are off to the Inca Trail.