June 11, 2006

Day 2: The Pisac Market

Students visited the Pisac Market and the ruins of Ollantaytambo. At the Sunday market in Pisac, it’s easy to imagine this historic town as a major Inca trading city. Handicrafts at the market include weavings, carved gourds, ceramics, textiles, alpaca sweaters, musical instruments, paintings, weavings, and jewelry. Ollantaytambo is an old Inca fortress set along the Urubamba river in the picturesque mountain valley.

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Dispatch 2 // June 11, 2006 // Anna Berberet // Sun Prairie High School, Wisconsin

A local Pesac family dressed in colorful Peruvian clothing. I kept the family laughing at my jokes. Wow, what a day! It began with a 7:15 wake-up call and an 8:00 breakfast. For breakfast we had fruit, Andean cereal, yogurt, and ham and cheese to add to our bread. It was delicious! After breakfast we all packed up our gear, hiking boots and all, boarded the bus, and headed for the Sacred Valley. The bus ride was very scenic and beautiful as we drove through the mountains and saw more of the country side. We got up to about 11,000 feet and parked the bus on the side of the road. As we stood on the side of the road surrounded by locals trying to sell us different handicrafts, we looked out onto the Sacred Valley. It was this extremely low valley completely surrounded by mountains. The valley looked like a checker-board of greens and browns. The valley is still used today for growing many Incan crops, such as 25 different types of corn and potatoes. We all took pictures and some of us took a mandatory bathroom break…on the side of the road.

Our bus driver Jose Luis patiently waits for the team to check out road stand attractions. After we took in the beauty of the Sacred Valley we took about a 20 minutes bus ride to the village of Pisac. There we got to wander around the famous Pisac market. We split up into 3 groups and made our way through the market. There were hundreds of tents set up on the sides of the street. Many of the travelers bought Alpaca blankets, sweaters, hats, and mittens. Other popular items included pan flutes and other musical instruments. The market was extremely colorful and communicating with the vendors in Spanish was interesting, seeing as how I speak absolutely no Spanish. But it all worked out in the end. I got help from my fellow travelers who actually knew how to speak the language.

This 86-year old resident of Pesac quitely tends to her small stall of textiles, blankets, and hats. After we all had great success in shopping at the market, we took about an hour and half bus ride to the Allpamanka restaurant for lunch. It was beautiful restaurant that actually opened up just three months ago. We ate lunch under white umbrellas surround by beautiful flowers and trees. It was extremely delicious and enjoyable! After lunch we took another short ride to Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is one of the most important Inca ruins. Looking at it, there are 15 stone steps each stretching the entire length of the mountain and about 5 feet high. This was our first attempt at hiking the ruins as a team. I partnered up with Andrew. I was very nervous at first because I have never guided a blind student, but it went extremely well. Andrew gave me a bell which I attached to my hiking pole and the sound helped Andrew follow me. I walked in front of him and we made our way up the ruin. We all made it to the top!!!! It was an amazing feeling to reach the top and realize that everyone worked together to reach the same goal. The view was amazing as well! We looked of the city at the base of the ruin on one side and on the other side saw a valley and the Urabamba River. Ollantaytambo is 10,000 feet high. We took a picture at the top and took it all in! After Ollantaytambo we headed back to the hotel. There we had dinner and did a group activity afterwards.

Overall, it was an amazing day! We couldn’t have asked for better weather or for a better experience! Can’t wait until tomorrow!

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Letters of Support

This is a great opportunity for anyone and to know that you guys are going to hike with Erik on the inca trail makes me jealous and excited at the same time. I hope you learn alot about the area and how to work as a team. These lessons are invaluable. Remember them forever.

Your friend from Cingular Wireless in Louisiana,
Jeff Sanders

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