Yesterday I met up with my G Adventures tour group. The 16 of us are a fun friendly bunch, composed of Brits, Aussies, Kiwis, Irish, and a Fin. I’m the lone Yank of the bunch, which is fine by me, I’m enough of a rude ignorant imperialist asshole for everyone!
After we met and did a walking tour of Cusco, most of the day was spent preparing for our journey. We were given a duffel that the porters will carry for us to each night’s camp site. We’re limited to 6 kg, although half of that is taken by sleeping bag and pad. Anything past that goes in your day pack, so we all had some tough decisions to make. I’m generally good at packing light (everything for this trip went in my carry on), but I also tend to over think what I might need.
This morning I was up at 6am, a rather ungodly hour, to get going on our tour. Luckily today is a fairly relaxed day, pretty much bus touring, and we get one more night in a hotel before we start the hike tomorrow.
Our first stop was a small Quechua village where we got to feed alpacas and watch the local women craft wares from the alpaca wool. I bought a rather nice alpaca scarf; as a New Yorker, I can never have too many scarves.
Next we got our first taste of Incan ruins, as we walked around a small site overlooking the Sacred Valley and a bunch of beautiful mountains. The scenery everywhere around here is very intense.
Our next stop was a bar, where we got to see how they make the Incan corn beer, and sample some of it. It’s not bad, more sour than what we’re used to. They also make a variety which includes strawberries to make it sweeter.
Finally we checked into our hotel in Ollantaytambo, a small town famous for being the site of the Incas’ only major victory over the Spanish. It was a fairly short-lived one though, and soon they had to retreat into the jungle to Vilcabamba.
After we checked in we went for a short trek around the ruins of the Incan city. It was built on a series of massive terraces, forcing the Spanish to fight an uphill battle. The Incan architecture is unbelievable. Instead of using mortar, they shaped the massive stones to fit perfectly together like puzzle pieces.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow the real journey begins!