Thursday, October 13th, 2022
It was another gorgeous day. The views from our hotel were impressive!
Our day began with a bus ride that was about an hour long. On the way we saw Sky Lodge. They were these suites by Skylodge Adventure. They were these transparent luxury capsules. These capsules hung from the side of the mountain in the Sacred Valley of Cusco. You would sleep within a completely transparent hanging bedroom. The capsule was 24 feet in length and 8 feet in height. The lighting system was powered by solar panels and you did have a bathroom that was a dry ecological toilet and sink. The catch was that to sleep in one of these capsules you had to climb 400 feet or get there by ziplines! Definitely not for us!
Our first visit was to the Temple do Ollantaytambo or Ollanta by the locals. It was an ancient Inca temple and fortress as well as a village in Peru. It was located in the northwestern end of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It was a well-preserved Inca ruin. It consisted of four levels that we climbed. We rested after each level due to the altitude.
It was built by the Inca emperor Pachacuti in the 1400’s. It was part of his royal estate and then after his death and the Spanish conquest happened it was a fortress.
The most famous ruin here was the Temple of the Sun or it was also known as the wall of six monoliths. It was the site of several important religious rituals and was made from red granite. These rectangular stone blocks were located in one of the highest areas and it seems that it was not finished.
The stones placed here show that the builders were able to lift the stones and transport them without suffering any damage since it was built on a steep slope. The Incas had quite an understanding of architecture that puzzles the scholars today!
The surrounding views once we climbed to the top of Ollantaytambo.
You can see from some of the pictures below how steep the terraces were.
After visiting the ruins we took a walk around the town of Ollantaytambo. We saw the Inca water aquaducts as well as an original Inca street.
There were hikers who did the 4 day, 3 night Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Much of the trail was original Inca construction. We saw some of the hikers, guides and porters from their overnight stay before they continue on their hike to Machu Picchu. We met some of the hikers later who had completed the Inca trail and they told us it was the hardest thing they had ever done!
We visited a local market in Urubamba, Peru, which was another town in the Sacred Valley. The locals were purchasing their supplies and our group was the only non-locals. It was interesting to walk through and see all the various fruits and vegetables. Look at the slideshow to see the variety of food and supplies in the market.
We enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant and then traveled to Chinchero. Here we visited a local weaving cooperative and had a demonstration of how they washed the alpaca wool, created the yarn spools and dyed the yarn the various colors. The Peruvian woman who work at this cooperative were single mothers.
Weaving was important to the small town of Chinchero. There were many weaving cooperatives. The locals work to preserve the weaving tradition of their ancestors. The town was known for its high-quality woven goods. After our weaving demonstration we had time to shop their handmade woven items and support the women and their children.
After that we went back to the hotel to organize our luggage because tomorrow we would only be able to take a backpack for our overnight in Machu Picchu. The rest of our luggage would be stored.
Dinner was at the hotel and then we had a planetarium show. It was a little cloudy/foggy but we did get to see Jupiter and Saturn clearly through the telescope. We then went into the planetarium and our astronomer guide discussed the constellations in the southern sky and pointed them out to us. After that we went back to get some sleep because we had an early start tomorrow.