After we spent three nights in Cusco, we started our tour through the Sacred Valley. Our first stop was a nice but very touristic lama and alpaca farm. We fed the animals and watched local women colour the wool and the weave it to truly wonderful patterns. The farm helps local women to preserve their weaving tradition and gives them the opportunity to sell their products to the tourists.
Our next stop then was the Inca ruin Pisaq.
The terraces were breathtaking. I like the idea that the Inca not only had those terraces for crops and stability of their cities but also as a sort of decoration. If you look at this mountain I can see what they liked about it.
On our drive further into the Sacred Valley, we stopped for the special peruvian dish – guinea pig. I know, a lot of especially European people would never dare to eat what is for us a pet. But to be honest I always try to experience the culture of a country also through its food and the guinea pig is such a dish in Peru. So if you are not too light hearted or didn’t have a guinea pig as a pet you should give it at least a try.
As we arrived in our hotel for the next two nights in Urubamba, we still had some time to explore the city. Urubamba itself isn’t that much different from other Peruvian cities. It mainly exists for tourists who head out for the Inca trail and Machu Picchu. However, despite its touristy atmosphere we found two very lovely spots hidden in between.
The Café Cielito Lindo is worth every visit. The girly decoration and perfect cakes combined with great coffee makes this café one of my culinaric highlights of our trip.
The other highlight was a small restaurant called Paca Paca which you have to check out if you are in the area. The restaurant offers a range of delicious dishes from peruvian to european. You can simply have pizza from the stone oven or indulge in a light and modern variation of peruvian food like I did ;).
On our second day in the Valley, we headed off to the mountains. Our drive dropped us at a small village from where we walked down to the salt mines of maras.
It was a bit rainy and the clouds just looked amazing between the mountains of the Andes. After a short walk of around 30 minutes we arrived at the salt mines of Maras. Local farmers cultivate, harvest and sell the salt to the government and in little amounts to the tourists.
It was incrdible to watch people working there. It must be hard to balance 30 to 50 kilo of salt on your back walking on those very small bars between the fields.
From the mines we walked down to Urubamba and enjoyed our free afternoon with some cake and coffee. The next day we visited another breathtaking Inca site – Ollantaytambo.
In Ollantaytambo you can feel that this site was once a big fortress. It just looks and feels massive. The rocks transported there were the biggest I saw on the whole trip.
On the way back to Urubamba our guide took us to a local bar. We tried corn bear which tasted quite sour. I preferred the local special with strawberry to the normal one. It was much sweeter :). More fun than drinking was playing the typical game of those bars. You get a specific amount of coins which you have to threw into the holes of a table with a frog in the middle.
I really sucked but it was soooo much fun to play :). Try to get to a local bar and throw some coins.