From Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) we took the Vistadome train to Ollantaytambo & along the way there was this guy in a traditional costume w/ a sock face painted mask on w/ a llama strapped to his back.He ran up & down the aisle doing this kind of traditional dance.It was weird.Alie thought he was really freaky!Then there was a fashion show & the crew modeled some alpaca tops.Some of the shawls were beautiful but over $100!!We then went from Ollantaytambo to Cusco via a shared taxi.We joined my friend Luis from Spain that I had met in Argentina on a city tour which was good despite my yucky stomach.We got to see 4 different ruins, including Saqsaywaman (which means satisfied falcon but all tourists call it Sexy woman), a zig zag place called Q'enqo, Pukapukara which means red fort & was probably a checkpoint for chaskies (Incan messengers who went 30km/day) & a place with fountains called Tambomachay which was the Incás Bath.There were 2 fountains representing the duality of woman & man & supposedly you drink or wash your face w/ the water & it makes you younger.It wasn't recommended to drink but Luis & I splashed it on our faces!By the end it was dark & they took us to a place where they sell good alpaca stuff.I bought a pretty blue champa (sweater) to help keep warm.Back in Cuzco we saw a traditional dance show.The dance for the sowing of the crops was nice.The last dance, with the same scary sock face painted people w/ the llama on the back as on the train was really bizarre.
Day 2 in Cuzco I woke up not feeling great - AGAIN… ugh.We said goodbye to Luis & took the Sacred Valley tour starting at the Pisac market where I interviewed an adorable little girl in native dress holding a puppy.Then we went to the bigger market and saw a little bit of a catholic Easter mass in Quetchua.Afterwards we saw the ruins of Pisac.They were really cool w/ lots of agricultural terraces and an Intihuatana (hitching post of the sun) like they have in Machu Pichu.We then went to lunch in Urubamba where we listened to a nice Andean group play guitar & the Andean pipe.Next we went to Ollantaytambo to see the ruins there which are supposed to be the best surviving example of Inca city planning.It has been continuously inhabited for over 700 years.It also has a bunch of steep agricultural terraces and temples and it was here that the conquistadors had one of their few losses against the Manco Inca - he threw missiles and flooded the plain below.The stone was quarried from high in the mountains - quite an amazing feat and all w/out the help of wheels!!Across the way there was the face of an old man carved into the side of the mountain and another face carved as well as some storage area buildings.The town beside it was named after one of Pizarro's men.The last place we visited was Chinchero.We didn't see the ruins there but went instead inside one of the shops where they explained how to make items from Alpaca.They showed how they washed it w/ Incan soap which cleans it so quickly.Then they showed how they dyed it using natural plant colors.One of the things was red little beetles.We then saw a woman using a hand loom. It was so fascinating!