Sacred Valley

To the north and east of Cusco by about an hour and a half is this beautiful, fertile valley that stretches about 50 km.  At one end is Ollantaytambo, where we chose to stay for a couple of days, and it's also the usual jumping off point for the Inca Trail (4 days of hiking and camping) to Machu Picchu, or you can take the train from here to MP (which we did after our Salkantay trek).


This picture was taken from the ruins above the town, and you can see there were also ruins on the hill across town - these were the granaries for storage.  At the bottom of the picture, you cansee some of the ruins.

fertile valley

fertile valley

A common theme in the ruins we've seen is terracing.  It's been amazing to see the scope of some, and the walls used to support them.


The knowledge of the Incas about water management is fascinating, as is the still functional drainage and water systems we saw:


At the other end of the valley is Pisac, that we visited yesterday, and the ruins were very high above the town.  We were very glad we went early, because when we were leaving, there were hordes of tourists and the parking lot was gridlock with buses and taxis.


Interesting things we saw here for the first time, were holes through the edges of stones in doorways (we're guessing for hinges/ropes?):


We know that the current people here are much shorter than us (?average height is 5 feet), but this shows where the second floor would be placed on the supports, with Steve there to show scale: 


One area of the Pisac ruins that we didn't get to, because it would have involved a hike of an hour to get there, showed cool diagonal designs on the terraces, which were narrow steps to get to each level:

(picture taken with telephoto lens)

(picture taken with telephoto lens)

We finally got some pictures of the common dress for women - bowler hats, sweater, multiple layers of skirts, and carrying a wrap around their shoulders and back to carry things (or babies).