Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Sacred Valley

While the three of us (Nat Gareth and Me) were in cuzco we+d looked at loads of options for how to do Matchu Pitchu. Originally my plan was to do a jungle trek (4 days) which would have possibly been slightly more cost effective but not by a lot and I wouldnt have got to see the sacred valley as the whole time would have been spent walking with one day of cycling. I have also got to the stage now where organised tours are starting to get on my tits. So after much deliberation we decided to spend the first day making our own way to Pisac (which was good for me as thats where I needed to go next so I could drop off my big bag there). We arrived there and headed off to see my Shamen Javier. Unfortunately Javier wasnt there so Im meeting him later today. I really hope he isnt a total nutter, I just watched a video of an american guy who does Ayawaska in Cusco (for half the price) but he just looks like a spaced out wanker. A girl here at reception says that shes heard that Javier isnt a very good shamen but shes never been to him and as she rates this american nutter, having done ayawaska with him, im going to take the tour guide I met in La Paz opinion over hers. I dont know if I mentioned it yet but I got told by about this shamen from an Aussie guy called Mark who did my death road bike tour in La Paz. mark was in his late 30s and a really interesting charecter. He told me how his life in australia was really stressfull because he would get really frustrated with Australian polotics, specifically going to war with America, so he decided he needed a break, sold up everything has been travelling and working ever since. He said that since hes been away he hasnt had time, or hasnt wanted to, keep in touch with polotics and has disconected from media. I totally agree with this line of thought, whats the point of watching the news, you only get a twisted view of something you cant controll anyway. 

I digresss. So anyway, on arrival in Pisac I went to leave my bag at the place that is just down the road from Javiers ritual centre as Javier said on his website that it was a good place for budget travellers at 30 sols a night (4 sols to a pound). On arrival there the lady who worked there told me that those prices were 7 years out of date and it was now 59 sol a night. 15 fucking pounds for a room, no internet, no breakfast, nothing. The only USP she offered was that it was quite and out of town, which I saw a down point because it was 20 minutes walk to the shops! So I sacked her off and found a place for a meger 20 sols a night saving myself 40 pounds for my time in Pisac. Winner! Then we grabbed a bus to urabamba and from there took a taxi to see Maras, essentially a salt mine in the mountain. Ill get some photos put on FB when I figure out a good way to get them from my phone. As it stands I can only upload them one at a time to my mobile uploads folder and I want to have a specific peru folder. Heres something I nicked from google images:

So this salt mine was pretty cool and we met a couple who were cycling from Mexico to Argentina. They had been on the road for 3 months and had another 3 left. Pretty damn cool way of doing it I thought, but Id defo do it on a motorbike if it were me. 

We were kind of running out of time so couldnt see moray, but we met some german trainee doctors (I just keep bumping into german doctors!) who showed us some photos and it didnt look all that. Then we took a bus to Ollantaytambo (try saying that 10 times fast!) where we met a pretty cool lady who had a hostel in town. It was pretty new and shed done a crackingt job with the rooms and comunial area, and even had some genuine duvets! (duvets are a real rarety in South America so i get very excited when I get them in a hostel). She showed us the surrounding hills and pointed out all the inca ruins and honestely it looked really impressive. Yoink:

This lady was from hartfordshire and decided to sell up her house and hit the states. From there she met someone who she travelled to Peru with (who annoyed the tits off her so she ditched him) and is now shacked up with the hostel owner. So the hostel owners familly has some land that she is wanting to invest in so that she can build her own healing centre, which is what she did back in England. Shes sold her house back in England so has the money in the bank. Did I say land? I meant to say an entire fucking valley with the surrounding mountains and a river! This blew my mind, most people save up to buy a car or a flat, she was buying an entire valley! 

So unfortunately we only had one night in Ollantaytambo so we got up early to see some of the surrounding ruins but didnt get to see the Wall of the Six Monoliths which Id seen a documentary on and is basically 6 massive stones that some people think were made by aliens because there is no way that the Incas had the technology to move or cut these stones.

Such an informative blog entry this one. You can tell Ive been fillin up on culture and havent had a drop of alcohol since Friday! After seeing some sights we waited for our organised bus to pick us up. Do you know what, Im not going to rant for ages about the journey to and from Matchu Pithcu, basically they fully bodged the job and added a whole heap of stress and confusion to our journey. So today I went to the office and calmly articulated my dissatisfacyion with the tour, got compensation money for an additional taxi ride we had to get and walked away feeeling very pleased with myself. I hate complaining as I either cant be bothered with the agro or lose my shit and end up shouting and swearing but this time I felt I got my point across very well :-)

Right, off to get a menu del dia for a quid then Ill write about the mighty matchu pitchu.....

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