Sunday, 15th February
We were now ready for our journey to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. We had a group tour for the first day to the Sacred Valley. We stopped at Pisac to visit the market (craft and fruit and veg). At the church the Quecha mass had just finished and the locals lined up in their costumes and blew conch shells. Next stop was lunch in Toumba at the Sonesta Hotel. A group of Alpaca were on the grass and a local fete was underway in a local field. Presents were placed in the trees for people to climb up to. (The guide said the local tradition was to cut down the tree with an axe, and whoever’s blow brought it down collected the presents).
Onwards, after lunch, to Ollyantaytambo where we visited the Inca fortress. We climbed the spectacular steep terraces and explored the site with our guide. We then retired to our hotel. The Pakaritampu Hotel was set in beautiful grounds with views of the fortress.
The next morning we had to walk to the train station to catch the 8.25am train to Machu Picchu. We had reserved seats on the Vistadome train. As we sat down we saw that we were opposite the Canadian couple we had met in a restaurant in Cuzco three days earlier! They had taken the train from Cuzco.