Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Sacred Valley

Apart from the terrifying drunken grannies the Sacred Valley is a wonderful and diverse place filled with tiny villages, Inca ruins and Spanish churches. A lot of the people still dress in colourful traditional dress like these two ladies below in the tiny village of Chinchero.

Classic Peru architecture, Inca stonework on the bottom and colonial Spanish on the top. This church was glorious inside, made out of wonky woodwork and painted with fat childish images of saints, birds and flowers in bright colours.

In Salinas, as the name would suggest it's all about Salt. These natural salt terraces cover a steep hillside and are tended to by the locals who have set up a kind of salt collective. The place is all sparkly white and a natural salt water spring flows down the hill and settles in the little pools below. It is like the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory but for salt lovers, and just like Augustus the greedy boy from the film Eduardo couldn't stop plucking pieces off and eating them, he was finally overcome by a sudden and desperate thirst that necessitated a quick trip to the top for a bottle of water.

More Inca ruins than you can poke a stick at. With a real fondness for heights and building things out of big stones life as an Inca must have been tough. Here at Ollantaytambo the Incas perched up here when the conquistadors arrived before letting loose a heap of water from their irrigation system to flood the plain below bogging the silly Spanish and their horses. A small victory and short lived victory for the Incas before the big bad Spanish returned with reinforcements.

From large scale wonders to the very, very small. Behold the marvellous Castillo de Cuy - the Castle of the Guinea Pigs. Made out of mud and located in a bakery in the town of Pisac these fat little Gp's live in ignorant bliss that their castle is located right next to a largish oven that one day may be their fate.


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