Peru: Pisac

We expected to be so sick from altitude or accidentally drinking water or jet lag or something, and so it was a surprise when we covered a lot of Cusco during our first day there. We’d figured we’d spend the second day wandering the old town, but now we weren’t quite sure what to do. The guide book said Pisac, a town about an hour away, had good ruins and a nice market. So we found a taxi and took off.

You probably noticed in the last entry that I borrowed Yen’s hat quite a bit. The sun in Peru is just brutal. I was applying sunscreen constantly, but still got a little red around the edges by the end of the day. When we got to the market and found a huge selection of hats, I knew I had found my souvenir.

If I were the shopping type, I would have bought a lot more than a hat that day. As it was, I limited myself to a teeny brass-or-something-similar llama (which is still in Yen’s possession).

A lot of women in the area make money by dressing in traditional costume, carrying around a small beast of burden, and demanding tips after you take the inevitable photo of them. Which we didn’t mind at all. Yen even took a photo of a woman deliberately so he could give her a little money (she seemed like she could use it).

Not purchasing this won’t rank among my list of regrets in this life.

Aw… (you’re thinking) A little petting zoo at the market. Nope. These cuy are for lunch.

Another potential souvenir from Peru is masks. Note the one on the left. They have a tradition of using the masks to make fun of the Spanish.

There’s not much to Pisac. It’s a cute little market town.

The real reason to go, is to hire a taxi and head up the mountain…

To the ruins.

Directly behind me are terraces for farming. We learned that there are three types of terraces: agricultural (wide, like these), structural (you’ll see these later on Machu Picchu; usually they’re designed to keep a city from falling off the top of a mountain), and ornamental (which you’ll see when we visit Ollantaytambo, and which originally would have been covered with native pink flowers). Up above the terraces, you can see a little path that snakes its way around the mountain.

Our original plan was to climb up to the ruins from Pisac. But I was feeling a little bit lazy and asked that we taxi up and maybe walk down. So after we finished our tour of the ruins, we did just that. Which turned out to be a terrific walk of just over an hour. We never saw another soul, and just got to enjoy the view and the exercise.

A walk like that means you’ve earned some carbs.

5 Replies to “Peru: Pisac”

  1. Regarding the lady in the market, before taking her picture I asked how much she would like. She said it was completely voluntary. She wasn’t demanding at all. That said, there’s definitely a difference in how people behave between large and small towns, as you would expect.

  2. 1. I love your hat
    2. Is the sky really that blue?
    3. I would have spent a small fortune on those textiles!

  3. and 4. Was the night sky amazing? I’ve always imagined that being away from the megalopolis of the US East Coast and up so high that the Milky Way would just pop,

  4. Tracie:

    1. Thank you! Once you buy one, you have to stop looking. Too many great choices!

    2. It totally is. So lovely.

    3. I was sad (but also a little grateful) I had no extra room in my bag. It would have been a bad scene.

  5. 4. We didn’t see a lot of it. What little we did see, yes – beautiful. But when night came, we were generally exhausted and fell into a heap. The morning when we waited for the bus to Machu Picchu, I did pass the time by staring upward at the (very lovely) stars. But really what I was doing was hoping gravity would suddenly stop working for the British tourists behind us, and send them spinning off into space.