Sacred Valley – May 17th to 21st
We flew from Lima to Cusco and then drove about 1 1/2 hours down to the Sacred Valley area to get acclimated to the high elevation. Very excited to be regrouping again and adding Ben and my brother, Tim, to the mix! The girls liked our resort because it had a couple of alpacas you could pet and they had some comfy hammocks to hang out in.
Haven, Madeline, Ed and I spent our first day going to the rural community of Huilloc to see how the local people live, work & go to school. The local Quechua people speak Spanish as well as their native language. The homes are very basic, but funcational. They are made of stones and adobe bricks, with dirt floors, a central cooking area with a wood burning stove, running (cold) water and electricity. The families all work together for the community. They dress in very colorful & warm clothes made of alpaca and wool.
While we were visiting the school we had some excitement when Madeline passed out. We were listening to the children sing, when Madeline suddenly swayed and started to pass out. We got her laying down on the floor. The local medicine woman came and propped Madeline’s feet up and waved some herbs around her, while the paramedic came with some oxygen for her. Our classroom visit became a lesson on the effects of high altitude. Madeline quickly recovered and we were able to continue with our planned visit. We watched a local dance, helped pick fava beans, had lunch in a family home and saw how they died the yarns for weaving. Ed even tried his hand at using their tools for planting corn, quinoa and beans.
The next day we all went to the town of Ottalytambo. There was a large festival going on with lots of colorful costumes and dancing. It was interesting to learn that many of the costumes and dances were actually making fun of the Spanish colonials. The Spanish were portrayed as devils with horns. It was an annual local festival with dance competitions, food booths and even fireworks for the evening.
After watching the festival activities we went to hike up some Inca ruins – good practice for hiking the Inca Trail.