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PERU - DAY EIGHT - Sacred Valley

Previous Blogs:

Day 1 - Arequepa | Day 2 - Yanque | Day 3 - Colca Canyon | Day 4 - Lake Titicaca | Day 5 - Road to Cusco | Day 6 - Machu Picchu | Day 7 - Cusco

Day 8 - Sacred Valley | Day 9 - Salt and Terraces | Day 10 - Rain Forrest | Day 11-12 - Rainforest/Lima | Day 13 - Paracus

Click photos for a larger image...


As you drive around Peru you see a lot of this. Well, Peru is a democratic society with a multi-party system. They have elections. And unlike the USA where you go around and put up little signs in peoples yards and wherever you can and remove them after the election, in Peru things are a little different.

You PAINT a HUGE banner on the side of your house, your neighbors' house and anyone else who would like the entire side of the house painted with your name, party and political slogan.

And then, whether you win or not, you just go ahead and leave those signs up for years! Not your problem anymore. Last elections were 2011 and houses painted with political signs are still everywhere in Peru - every village, every city, 'cept paint is starting to peel and look bad (what did I say about a third world country?)


So we set off a little later than usual (only had to get up at 6.15am - sheer luxury) and headed out to the Sacred Valley, about an hour's drive from Cusco.

Sacred Valley is so named because of the substantial number of Inca temples in the valley and the extremely fertile ground.

We started off by visiting a reserve for local animals, such as Llamas and Alpacas which are so friggin' cute you just wanna hug them!

Lazy Alpaca

Fuzzy Alpaca

Spotty Alpaca

Sad Alpaca

After this we visited several Inca sites and learned about their technology, culture and architecture. Here is just a sample of what we saw at the different Inca sites:

Incas were masters at agriculture. They built terraces on the slopes of the mountains with no need for irrigation because the terraces started at bedrock, they then put a layer of larger stones then smaller stones then river sand and finally rich top soil fertilized with animal poop.

As it rain on the top of the mountain, instead of the rain finding it own way down in rivulets and torrents wasting water, the terraces captured the water and it seeped through terrace by terrace with no waste. Brilliant!

All terraces faced East or West to get the best sun and as the sun rose or set, it heated each terrace separately, inch by inch meaning that each terrace was a different temperature creating micro-climates at each level allowing different crops to be grown. Because of this Peru has over 200 varieties of corn and more than 5000 varieties of potatoes as each requires a different climatic condition to grow best.

The Inca tombs - they prepared their dead almost exactly the same as the Egyptians did.

Zooming in closer you can see the tombs in the side of the hill.

We had lunch at a hotel that has been converted from a colonial era monastery.

We saw more examples of how the Incas created channels to supply the city with water.

Although they were warriors, their intention was not to wipe out the local population when they arrived but instead to unite the various tribes into a single nation under their rule.

Like many nations that followed they understood that the best way to control people was through religion, so they created a new religion where they were the people from the sky (God) and the locals were people of the earth.

They were not slaves but just second class citizens and they worked for the Inca, building cities and temples and in exchange were given food and land. 

Locals were even allowed to marry into the Inca and by doing so earning the same status.

We stopped in a village and took a ride in one of the tuk-tuks for $3.00

It was a lot of fun!

There are many places to buy souvenirs in beautiful settings.


Finally we finished the day visiting a colonial church - you see the Spanish did to the Incas what they did to the locals - they ruled them through religion by converting them to Catholics. Ironical...

And coming back a landslide over the road slowed us down for a bit. A common problem in rainy season

We passed by a lady cooking and selling the national delicacy - guinea pig! Pig on a stick!


And finally...


American tourists die in bizarre sheep stampede...