In the second part of my trip to Peru, I will discuss all of the great Incan ruins I saw starting with the tours from my hostel. I went on a tour of Sacsayhuaman (sexy woman lol), where I first got to see the amazing stone cutting work of the Incas cut to perfection. Sacsayhuaman also has some of the best views of Cusco, which you can see in my photo albums. We also saw Tambomachay, a small little outpost, Queracancha - which is this strange fusion of Incan and Colonial architecture located all around Cusco. The tour was in Spanish and I did ok understanding most of it due to the fact that I was currently taking Spanish classes. Lastly, we went to a small ruin site where my newfound hostel friends Rodrigo (Chilean) and Audriana (Brazilian) took pictures with me. Next to the ruins, was a place with real alpaca fur for clothes. The owner did an excellent job in comparing fake, llama, a mixture and real alpaca. I got some swag there!
Going past Cusco, I would begin my journey to Machu Picchu. Starting with riding in a tiny bus(a mini-van) with small Peruvians crammed on top of me, I would head to Ollantaytambo. Here there are some good representations of the irrigation 'steps' and earthquake proofing trapezoid windows that the Incas built. I had a good little time here trying to find chicha, a purple alchoholic drink you can get from the locals who have little red bags outside their houses. It's costly but strong- not the best though as I think Pisco Sours and the Peruvian beer, Cuscano, is better. I also ate alpaca here, which provided me with the realization that I was eating and wearing the same animal..... that was a moment. My little hotel, not hostel, this time I stayed at in Ollantaytambo was mad fancy, but cost like $40 US dollars. It was right next to the PeruRail for Aguas Calientes, the location of Machu Picchu! The breakfast and living there was great, but I had to get on my way to quite possibly the best thing I've ever seen in my life.
What is there truly to say about my time in Machu Picchu. First you head up from the train in Aguas Calientes to the buses on this super windy road. This road shows the fortitude of the Quechan ancestors, the Incas, to build basically a city in the mountains. As such, the site is one of the largest preservations of a culture in existence. When I got there, I also climbed the mountain, Wayna Picchu; the mountain always seen in the distance of pictures. I made it to the top right before the rains started to appear. Thus, I got amazing pictures throughout the time I was there. I also saw someone I knew from the airplane into Cusco; an American who let me on their tour. Beyond that, words can't describe what I saw at Machu Picchu. You have to see the pictures and think of that feeling for yourself. Actually, you should go see it for yourself as it will leave you speechless. On the ride back, I met a future TFA person, had the PeruRail staff think I was studying Spanish, and met people who honestly wished they were at SXSW over Machu Picchu.....uhm yeah.
I would see one more ruin during my time in Cusco. The ruin was the ruin of Pisaq, which was the fourth citadel to guard Cusco. The ruins near Cusco are fortresses to Cusco. Sacsayhuaman to the west and closest, Ollyantambo to the north, and Pisaq to the east. . Pisaq has some wild hiking, like dangerous hiking, with no rails at times. As it was too intense to take the hike up , I took a cab and hiked down; which still took forever. As such, I would Peru is arguably a healthy vacation because you have to be in shape and adjust to the altitude for all the hiking Worth it though, as it's the most intact ruin site outside of Machu Picchu. There were also some cool markets going around the town square too. Note the buses to get to Ollantaytambo and Pisaq are at obscure places which you'll have to research or ask the travel agency to find out.
Lastly, I must say that this would be the trip where I would really start to meet and connect with people out of the country. I met two cool British girls and three nice American travelers in Italy, but I forgot I had facebook and didn't keep the connection. But here, I met the aforementioned Rodrigo and Audriana, some Texas women, Amanda, the Seattle girl with photos albums of feet and numbers around the world, and the British couple that was fascinated with the South. Side note, this would also begin my love for track jackets from other countries. I can highly recommend Peru for it is one of the greatest countries around. I may have my ties and debates, but Peru is a very different special than Japan or Italy are. It's an appreciation that everyone should see.