So! I'll start where I left off. I only got about 4 hours of sleep before I had to wake up again to get breakfast at the hotel and meet up with my group to fly to Cuzco. We took a bus there through town where I fell asleep. :) When we got to the airport we went to go look for my bag. Shout out to Charles for being my translator and helping me get my bag back! I guess there was someone else who lost their bag and wasn't going to get it back for 2 days! I got lucky.
The plane ride to Cuzco is only about an hour. However, the difference in altitude makes the trip hard. Cuzco is twice as high as Lima at about 10,800 feet. This is what you see when you get off the plane.
You are literally surrounded in mountains. You can feel the difference in altitude almost immediately because you'll start to get a dull headache and feel short of breath.
During the day we got acclimated to the altitude and explored the city on our own. I visited a market where there were booths of homemade things. It was very cool. I met up with some people in my group for dinner and ended up at a place that had an open rooftop.
All of those lights are from the houses on the mountains. It was amazing.
The next day we left the hotel at 7:30 in the morning to visit some Inca sites. It turns out that our guide Enrico is Incan and even knows the native language of the Incas, Quechua. We visited the Sacred Valley where we learned that it isn't sacred at all! It's just a name they used to get more people to visit. Haha
While we were there, we visited a Caccaccollo community that has been developing viable economic alternatives for women by letting them maintain their cultural heritage of weaving and benefit from the tourist who buy the products they make. They only spoke Quechua and were very nice women who showed us how to weave different textiles.
This is Carlotta who told us about the different weaving patterns.
After that, we visited the Pisac ruins which were beautiful!
The last site we visited was Ollantaytambo which is actually the town we stayed in. It had huge steep terraces that we climbed up to see the entire town below.
This is the last post I'll have until we return to Cuzco after the hike! The group is excited to start on it. :) ps. I'm the only American. Which surprises me a little bit. There's two couples from Canada, two New Zealand girls, and two guys from England. We all make fun of each other's accents. :D one of the New Zealand girls likes to say "stop it" like me. -_- haha
Anyway! I shall post again after the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu. :)