Pisac, Peru

After a wonderful time at Media Luna I took an hour bus ride to Pisac. Again I walked around for about 20 minutes before finally finding a place to sleep. Although there was no toilet paper, towel, and you couldn’t sit facing forward on the toilet, it worked just fine for two nights. 

Pisac is known for it’s market. Rows and rows of stalls line the winding street all full with colorful trinkets and hand made souvenirs. I bought way too much stuff and a couple of unreasonable items but I have no regrets!

   

                                                                                   

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Media Luna, Peru

A twenty minute drive outside of Urubamba lays the community of Media Luna    . The main reason I found myself in Urubmaba was the tourism circuit offered by the Media Luna community. It boasted a hike to salt fields, and classes on local medicinal plants, weaving, guinea pigs, and chicha (a corn based drink). I am incredibly thankful I stumbled upon this opportunity. The morning of my scheduled tour I took a mototaxi (a Peruvian tuk tuk!!) from my hotel to….. Actually I want quite sure where I was going. I’m not sure the driver knew either; in fact I now know that he didn’t. 

I was incredibly lucky to have such a kind driver. Even though he didn’t really know where he was going he went above and beyond to help my find my destination. He repeatedly got out of the tuk tuk and asked for directions. Multiple time he thought we had arrived, however when we learned we still had more to go he helped me back into the tuk tuk ( no easy feat these days–  because of my bags…….). When we finally did arrive he triple checked and then asked the gentleman to take my bags. 

The mans reaction to my drivers statement was hilarious. 

My driver ” toma las bolsas de ella” (take the ladies bags)

After a look of confused laced with a bit of defiance, 

Man: “Porque” (why) 

Mine you, this gentleman looks as thought he is in his mid seventies. It was so funny to to watch the interaction between the two men ( I think I deserve a metal for not laughing). The driver got irritated with the gentleman but it was obvious the gentleman didn’t really care which pissed the drive off even more. 

Once all was settled we began the day with a walk to the salt fields. After the hot but gorgeous walk up and down the valley I went on my workshops. They were amazing! 

I learned so much in the span of three hours. I learned about the different common medicinal plants, how to use them, and what to use them for. Then I learned all about theprocess of naturally dying yarn. A woman showed me the plants, the corresponding colors, and got to actually watch the process. After showing me the dying process she showed me the weaving process even letting me sit on the loom and do some work! It was a really cool experience. I then went and learned about cuyes (quinea pigs) , and chicha before eating a local, natural meal. 

Over lunch I had some really fun conversations south the people who had given me the workshops. We talked about local sourcing, natural processing and cooking, and planes. They were amazing at my corn description (most of the corn they had here has HUGE kernels, they couldn’t believe the size of the kernels I described). 

In conclusion, I had a wonderful time. I learned a lot and the people were amazing.  

                                                                             

Urubamba

After all my time in touristy Cusco I was ready for a change in scenery. Urubamba proved to be the perfect place for me. I arrived sometime in the afternoon and walked throught the whole town (all five blocks) trying to find a place to sleep. After walking about 25 minutes I stopped and asked a woman sitting outside her store. She was very kind and pointed me in the right direction. For my next two days in Urubamba I saw her many times. After a while she invited me to sit down and talk with her. Which was very nice, but we did not understand anything that the other person said. It was interesting. I knew my spanish was correct, but she still didn’t understand. I think I had an accent much stronger than she as used to and it caused problems. 

  

Urubamba was a nice escape. A market town, I spent my days waking through the stalls and stacked food. I ate fried chicken and papas fritas at a local vender, and bought the local strawberries to snack on as I walked. 

   

                                                         

Cusco, Peru (part 2)

After Machu Picchu I returned to Cusco, and after dealing with a not-there-reservation all I wanted to do was sleep for about ten days. However, you’re not in Cusco every day so I forced myself to go out….and promptly got a massage (I know, I know, I’m really living the hard life). I also tried the famous Cuy (Guinea pig); salty but good. I spent two days in Cusco before I took a bus to Urubamba. 

 

  

    

                                   

Aquas Calientes, Perú 

The closest town to Machu Picchu is Aquas Calientes. Clinging to the side of a mountain, precariously close to the raging river below Aguas Calientes is a town filled with up-and-coming fancy resorts, and old-time budget hotels. I only spent a couple of hours here trying alpaca, and taking a dip in the local hot springs before I had to catch a train back to Cusco. 

   

           

“Cori”-Oro in Quechua, Cusco, Peru





The dominant native people in Peru are the Quechuan people. They built Machu Picchu, and ruled the “belly button” (Cusco) of the world for hundreds of years. The Quechuan people, culture, and language are a very prominent aspect of a Peruvian experience. There were times during my travels that the language barrier was not Spanish/English instead English/Quechuan. 





I did not realize how much the Quechuan language was spoken until I arrived in Cusco. Upon arrival I went to a homestay that was included in the week long language course I had purchased. Once I had been picked up by the family and settled into my new room I went out to the family room to socialize. As is normal when first meeting someone, they asked my name. What is not a normal response they kind of froze and looked at each other when I told them my name. 





“Tienes un nombre en Quechua!”( you have a Quechuan name!) 

 “Sabes que significa?” ( do you know what it means?)

 “Tu nombre significa oro en Quechua!” (Your name means gold in Quechua!) 





I have now experienced this interaction so many times I have to remind myself of the magic in the situation. Almost every person I introduced myself to, had a reaction similar to this. They couldn’t understand how a gringa, such as myself, could have such a name in Quechuan. 





I don’t think I quite understood the true power of this ( I wish I was able to take a picture or film someone’s reaction to my name, it was really quite something.) Until I stood in the town with a name lost in history perched upon Machu Picchu. (*fun fact, the sight known as Machu Picchu actually refers to the mountain and not the city, the city itself lost its name hundreds of years ago) 

(I already posted my Machu Picchu pictures, these are from cusco) 





Standing among the city of astronomers, doctors, and philosophers thousand year past, was the first time I truly appreciated the meaning of my name in Quechua. There’s something about standing sandwiched between two valleys with llamas and ancient stones for company that brings reflection. 





Machu Picchu, Peru

Finally made it to Machu Picchu. I hurt my knee a couple of days ago so while I wasn’t able to do the “inca trail” I still hiked four hours the first day and 4 hours the second day to get there. I met a really nice couple and their little girl on the bus and ended up spending both days with them! The pictures don’t do the sights justice. 





again with the sass



Update: they do not look fondly of walking on the grass– no matter how important the llama selfie is