Cusco & the Sacred Valley of Peru – Part 1
Urubamba, Pisac and Moray
I have just wrapped up 5 days wandering around Peru’s legendary Sacred Valley and the historical capital of the Incan Empire, Cusco. I focused on two core locations, the quiet and rustically-charming town of Urubamba, centrally located between several of the more important Incan Sacred Valley archeological sites, and the city center of the district’s capital, Cusco. I could have spent two weeks in each, as there is a wealth of cultural sites and learning experiences available to those who want to get off the beaten path. I will write about my time in these areas in future posts, and I’ll include some of the bounty of information provided to me by some experienced local guides.
For now, click on the photo gallery at the end of this post for a few pictures of Pisac and Moray. Pisca is one of the most important sites of the Incan culture. It was so special to the Incans that according to the locals the Inca did not live there, it was so sacred. Moray is believed to be a complex built by the Inca for agricultural experimentation and research. Its construction is intricate, but because of the scale of this site, it needs to be observed from a distance to appreciate its magnitude. More on these later.
As for the City of Cusco, it’s hard to describe a town where Europeans tried to use a colonial façade to erase one of the most impressive cultures in history, but despite their best attempts, the spiritual strength of the ancient people of the mountains shines through everywhere.
My highlights in Cusco were, first, I meeting up with a great guy that guided a tour I was on two months ago, and this time joining him as a friend, we spent the afternoon and early evening walking together amongst the ruins of the Incan Temples of Fire, the Wind and the Moon. Coming from a family of Incan descendants, he shared so much information with me that the future post on this experience will be a must read for anyone that wants to visit this region. It was a deeply meaningful day that I look forward to sharing more on this later.
And the Food ……
The second highlight was the food scene in Cusco. Sure, Cusco is a beautiful city, it has great museums and a thriving local energy. I loved and took in much of that. But it is no secret in South America that Peru, and Lima in particular, is the culinary capital of this continent. I read about this in a few articles quoting famous chefs and even heard Tony Bourdain raving about the region on his show. What I have also learned is that each region in Peru incorporates products from their own micro-climates and their local cultural traditions to make unique taste combinations of which they are deeply proud. It’s a big deal here and it is a privilege to be a part of it.
Interestingly, I have received some requests to comment on the cuisine I have experienced during my travels.
OK …. I know ….. I am probably the least qualified guy to write about food, and that is surely a fact. But I figured, if I do happen to be in this small slice of culinary heaven and I’ve chatted up the staff and owners of some up and coming restaurants the locals highly recommend, why not share this information. If it brings a smile to some and a few useful recommendations to others that may travel this way, then I am happy to do it. Plus, some of these places are so incredible and the employees so passionate, I am excited to help promote them if I can.
One day I hope to return to this place to soak up more of the mystery and energy of this special place, and graze my way across the land of the Inca. It would be great to have some of you come with me!
Off to the next location!
As I write this post I am waiting to board a plane to my next destination. More on that Geo-location in the next post.
Thanks to everyone for your encouragement. Your comments and feedback mean more than you may know. Until next time, Bruce