January 24, 2006

Exploring the Sacred Valley

Since my last entry I decided that I´d like to get out of Cuzco for a couple of days, into the Sacred Valley of the Inkas. Over a week is too long in one place, and I might as well see as much of this area as I can while I´m here. So, yesterday morning I got on a bus headed to Pisac, which is about 30km from Cuzco. It was one of those crazy collectivos, which cram as many people into them as possible and the drivers all look like they´re smoking the funny stuff! The journey down into the valley was awesome, in the real sense of the word. Pisac itself is tiny and was pretty quiet when I arrived. I sussed out Ulrike´s Cafe (on Pablo´s recommendation - remember Pablo, the tour guide in Nazca? So far, all his suggestions have been spot on!) So, I just spent about an hour in Ulrike´s finishing "A Beautiful Mind" and had some Apfel Strudel (Ulrike, of course, is German ).
Seeing as there wasnt anything much happening in Pisac and it would have cost be a $10 taxi ride to see the ruins up in the mountains, I decided to hop on the next bus and move on to Urumbamba. I checked into a hostal there which was a KIP! The water stopped working in the taps, toilets and showers after 8! Not only that, the guy charged me 30 soles which is robbery, and THEN the gansgter gave me fake coins in change!!! Just spent the evening wandering around the town and had some pizza in a little restaurant on the Plaza dÁrmas. Was hoping I´d bump into some other backpackers, but there were none in sight, so it was an early night.
This morning I got the bus to Ollyantambo - this is my favourite of the three towns. It´s actually at the foot of the Inca Trail, so as it happens I´ll be coming back here again on Saturday with my tour group, but we´ll just be passing through. Found a great hostel here! Much nicer room and it´s only 15 soles! Walked to the top of the Incan terraces here today - outstanding views of the valley! The sun stayed with me for the morning and mid-afternoon, but it´s pouring here now! Went back to the hostel for some sustenance, and was really looking forward to the Creme de Tomate soup and chicken sandwich I ordered. Was SLIGHTLY more disappointed with the gelatinous gloop ( that had pretensions to tomato soup) which was placed in front of me, not to mention the weary looking chichen sandwich which looked like the chef had sat on it before it came out! The girl who runs the hostel is very nice though, and we had quite a long chat.
So, tomorrow it´s back to Cuzco. Might try to do some horseback riding here in the valley before I leave. Have two more nights in Cuzco befoire the trail. The night before last was great fun - I ended up in an irish bar with a guy from Belfast and another lad who is Irish but grew up in England. (He ended up wrecking everyone´s head!!) A Dublin girl joined us aftrer a while, and even though she was from Dalkey and had a bit of an OCCENT, she was good fun. Later, we met a guy called Joe and his Peruvian girlfriend who were really lovely! It was a late night and to top it off I had three little guys about 9 or 10 trying to rob me as I was leaving the bar!! Had to hop into the nearest taxi! Unbelievable!!

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