Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru Monday, June 22, 2015
This morning for breakfast we had a kind of a porridge, when it came out it looked like another soup with potato in it, but after sipping it we realised it was like a liquid porridge (imagine oats in about 20 times the amount of water). We thought it was odd that there was a potato in it, until Bruno tried it and found it was Apple. We added some sugar which made it taste all the better.
A second breakfast then came out, fresh bread rolls, honey and cheese, this cheese looked different to cheese I had seen before, but we figured it was Llama cheese and figured we would give it a go, turns out... We were right, and to be fair, it wasn't too bad. We also got some honey which was produced by their beehive that the dad runs, it was pretty good tasting, a little hard though, but Trent worked out that if you put it with the hot water, it would soften it up.
We headed off after breakfast to go and see the textile factory where they produced the rugs, patches, clothes, bags, socks, etc. it was fairly interesting to see, and although I had seen similar things last year in Guatemala, this time I was able to find out an answer to a question I hadn't asked last year, how they get the patterns in using the looms. Different foot pedals move the strings into different positions so when the string is passed though and locked into place, the next time the pedal is moved, the pattern is locked in place the next time the string is passed through. Some of the guys even got to have a go, I got some pictures, but unfortunately I can't post them (continue reading to find out why).
We then went up to their store, and dye area where they kept the animals such as sheep, alpaca and llama which they would use the wool to make string from. They showed us how they made the string and also how they would make the colours. Producing the colour for the dyes originated from one colour initially and then mixed with other things like a crystal, stone, lemon juice to make other colours. The thing that surprised me was the base colour... Magenta. It's actually created from a bug that gets its colour from a particular cactus. The cactus produces a magenta colour if you touch it and these Beatles absorb this colour when they touch the cactus. They grind up the beetle and mix it with a little water to produce the colour.
They also showed us how they dehydrated potatoes which would allow them to store them for up to 3 years. Apparently they wouldn't taste the same, but still eatable once they were hydrated again.
We bid farewell to out host mother Vilma (who actually looked older than me, but is only 32) and we headed off towards Ollantaytambo where we would rest up ready for the Lares Trek tomorrow.
Along the way we stopped off at a viewpoint overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas, so called this as it is a very rich and fertile land for farming. I headed off to get a few quick pics the the phone camera before jumping back in to the van and continuing on.
About 20 minutes down the road I thought I would grab a picture of something, only to realise I had left my new camera back at the viewpoint. The driver kindly turned the van around and hoofed it back to the viewpoint, probably well over any speed limit. We finally got there only to find it wasn't there any more. My heart sank, knowing I had only just brought it and the main thing I wanted it for I haven't done yet (whitewater rafting). Only one tour bus had been there since we ad been there and none of the store owners had seen it, but they clearly remembered me. So it sounds like whoever was on the other tour bus has picked it up and taken it.
Unfortunately it's gone along with all the photos taken on it the previous day and this morning, and a few others from previous days, luckily I have backed up the majority of the photos onto my portable hard drive just a couple of days before. I'm not sure if I felt worse because we drove back for nothing, or the fact that I've lost the photos, or the fact the camera is gone. But hey, I can't do much about it now, just have to live with it and sort it out when I get back.
After arriving at our hotel and checking in, we headed off for lunch at a nearby restaurant, while I was hungry and had great company, I really just couldn't help but continue to look out the window to see if any tourists were walking around carrying a camera like mine... Sadly no.
We finished up lunch and then headed to a local shop which people generally stocked up on equipment they needed for the hikes (Inca Trail and Lares Trek). It's pretty cheap stuff, but I'm sure it will do for what we want it for.
On the way back to our hotel we detoured off to see the the Temple of Ollantaytambo from the outside (a little pricey to go in). Even from the outside it was very impressive, the temple was made with stone carried from over 7kms away. Unsure why seeing there was plenty of stone a lot closer. Looking up I could see tiny figures walking around and the temple had walkways calves into the cliff face. Not sure how we are placed after our trek finishes, but if we have time, I may look at heading in and taking a better look.
We then took off to a chocolate museum where we learnt how they made the chocolate, the coca beans after they are dried don't actually taste that great, but after they have processed it and mixed in other ingredients, it tastes pretty good (as I'm sure most of you are aware).
A few of us then headed off to the markets where we got some stuff, I got a couple of pretty nice jackets, and Trent got a new superman cape... Wait no, I mean a new rug, both of which were greatly reduced in price thanks to Bruno and Laura, our experts in bartering... A skill I just haven't mastered.
We then headed back to our rooms and repacked our bags ready for tomorrow before heading out for dinner. We had a fantastic meal at a nearby restaurant, Bruno and I had a 3 course meal and drink for about NZ$11. We all had a laugh over different random stuff before heading to another restaurant so Trent could get a pizza. Somehow he had pizza on the brain. After some time in that bar we got a subtle hint it was time to leave when they turned off the light... at only 9:30pm. The restaurant for the pizza happened to be right across the road from a Kwik-E-Mart, if you have seen The Simpsons TV show then you will know what it is, weird seeing a fictional store actually now exists.
We headed back to the hotel where the others went to their rooms which Bruno, Trent and I decided to play some cards... We decided to play a couple of different variations of a game called "Cheat", this is also know by a different name "Bu11$#!t". I had forgotten how bad it can get, if you have played it before then you know it can get really out of hand. This time was no exception. Think this might be one to play with more people on the trek, do will leave it there for now and most likely post in the next few days.
What I saw
Sacred Valley of the Incas - Sacred Valley, Cusco, Peru
Temple of Ollantaytambo - Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru