May 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Two days in Pisac: I feel like I’m walking on Cloud Nine. Or maybe Cloud Eighty-Three, as I think that the numbers get higher with the altitude.


My first stop in the Sacred Valley, this little town proved itself to be picturesque and I am in love. Small, secluded, quiet, and yet with enough tourist traffic to account for an impressive selection of colorful ’boutique’ cafe’s and restaurants to satisfy every juice drinker, empanada eater, breakfast bakery muncher, and coffee sipper. Great menus and enough quirky décor to rival Belgrade’s coffee shops.


I’m still on my Solo Simba Streak, so I’m checking into single rooms, and loving it. The Chaska Hospedaje was an excellent decision; the room is right on the river and comes with candles, incense, and a big bathtub. And hot water- lots of it. So… we all know what I did my two evenings here:

The town is tiny, but bustling. There are so many colors and details in every corner, it’s hard to walk straight.  So many wooden fixtures and behaved animals and bright hues:

A lot of cafe’s and art nooks and alternative medicine centers. Very spiritual, vibrant place. And that is even before setting foot in its famous artisan market, which is several hundred stalls, all packed with every kind of Peruvian fabric imaginable. Whether you want jackets or bags or shoes or wallets or belts or socks or hats or llama keychains or anything, you will find it here- authentic alpaca, handmade, or not. Yesterday, I went shopping. Who would have thought that I would be buying thick scarves, gloves, and hats on the last day of April?


But, the best part about Pisac are its ruins. I decided to check them out today. I had originally planned to sneak in very, very early, before the guard took its position to check for the mandatory boleto turistico, but it was pouring at 4:45 AM, so I went back to bed and surrendered to the tourist ticket when the sun came back out. Which, even though I disagree with the ticket concept, was worth every penny.


What I imagined to be a satisfying stroll turned out to be a 6-hour hike (sorry, immune system, hope you were ready) of ridiculously steep uphills in very high altitudes. Whew. The beginning was pretty tough and dizzying, but now I feel like I can tackle anything and that Saltankay Trek to Machu Picchu doesn’t even begin to intimidate me.


I took the trail that started at the end of the artisan market, which looped around, upwards, for a couple of hours before reaching the top. At the top, there were the tourist buses and crowds, looking at the most famous architectural site, but… the rest of the hike, both up and down, I was completely alone– except for one (extremely handsome) man that ran past me. And what a feeling this isolation was! Just you, surrounded by the most impressive mountains and green grasses and blue skies imaginable:

At one point, there was a little wooden bridge crossing the waterfall that cascaded down the entire mountainside, and I took a very long rest. Best lay-down-and-stretch-out ever, surrounded by wildflowers and cacti and hummingbirds and absolute silence- except for the water below.


Most breathtaking (in all ways) hike of my life, and I look forward to rivaling it with all of the other treks in this area. Challenge proposed.

…. and then, to tie up the day, I ran into a friend that I bid farewell to in Cusco.  We went out for empanadas from the biggest, oldest oven imaginable.  And, for some reason, there was a three-story house of guinea pigs in the corner of the courtyard.  Between the wild pigs I found earlier on the hike and the tamer pigs we found by the stream later on, this fit the day nicely:



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