Inca Valley

From Cusco we traveled in a northerly direction to the sacred valley and onward to Machu Picchu.  Our bus descended down the beautiful sacred valley with its spectacular scenery on small winding roads. We passed many small villages while following the Ollantaytambo River.

On the way to Macchu Picchu we stopped for a few days in an exceptionally restored 18th century colonial hacienda in the town of Yucca.  It is a two acre walled in hacienda offering spacious, well decorated rooms, a stone courtyard with well maintained gardens, which provided solitude – a welcome relief from the hard travels of the road.  The liberator, Simon Bolivar stayed here during his military campaigned. While in Yucca and the sacred valley, we explored the Ollantaytambo and Pisac Ruins, many Andean villages, indigenous markets and went rafting on the Urubamba River.

The Pisac ruins sported well maintained agricultural terraced gardens, which flank and gracefully curve around the steep sides of the precipitous mountain sides.  Its terraces are shaded in vegetative hues of green, like the terraced fields of Bali, Indonesia. The terraces are supported by rather large precession cut and well placed stone works without the use of mortar. They are cut so precise, that not even a razor blade can penetrate the joints.  Finley constructed stone temples mount the top of the ridge line overlooking the terraced fields and town below. Later in the day we visited the bustling Indian market, which attracted traditionally dressed locals from the surrounding mountain villages.

We also visited the Ollantaytambo ruins, which are dominated, by a massive Inca fortress above the sleepy village of the same name.  Narrow cobblestone Inca streets that have been used since the 13ht century inundate the town.  This is another massive terraced Inca town and like the Alamo, they put up a last stand to the Spanish conquistadors.  It is an effective fortress, a temple and an agricultural town with its many stone terraced planting sites.

After visiting these sites we went river rafting on a class 2 river in the rainy season, on big water.  We were pulled down the snaking chocolate river and were threaded between the verdant valley floor with mountain that rose to the gods above all capped in white glacier snow. The water was somewhat calm here but further down things changed. We pulled out before the class 5 and I mean serious white water, we would have been killed.  2 professional white rafters met their death on this water it is huge to say the least.

We passed small primitive villages with children fishing by the river banks and men working the fields just like the Inca have did of times long past as well as ancient Inca trails, terraced hillside and Inca military posts. These Stone Sentinels kept track of visitors on their way to Macchu Picchu as they hugged the mountain side trails.!

The following day we boarded a train to MAcchu Picchu the citadel of the Inca civilization.  We rode the iron horse descending through the narrow valley floor.  It descended gently through the country side. We were afforded superb views of the cascading white waters, steep mountains and the verdant agricultural country side. The town we embraced is called Aguas Caleintes or warm waters.  This town lies deep in the valley below the ancient ruins of the Incas and is enclosed by incredible steep and towering walls of stone and forests all shrouded in a mist of clouds and rain cover.

My breath was taken away when I saw Macchu Picchu, It is a citadel, a city for the chosen and ceremonies.!