We spent the day around Pisaq, with their adobe dwellings a fresh change from the old wooden structures of the frontier towns along the Madre de Rios. We spent the late afternoon at the Sunday market, the square hosting stalls set up with their temporary awnings, resplendent with fresh vegetables, meats, fruits, clothing items and, of course, touristy trinkets. Two local girls in their traditional dress, holding a baby goat in their arms, presented themselves for a photo op, which we could not turn down, giving them a few Soles.
Outside town at some ruins, we traversed the hillside, looking across to some of the 13,000 burial holes cut into the red stone walls. We passed a local just off the trail, facing the walls, playing a Peruvian flute with his haunting melody echoing over the Urubamba River and valley below. Our hiking for the day was up the Patacancha Valley, first stopping at an archaeological complex at Pumamarca (named so because of pumas feasting on llamas), our guide telling us the background on the town of Ollantaytambo, named after Ollanta, a commoner warrior who loved the daughter of a great Inca leader, Pachacutec, who banned his daughter as a result.
Our hike also took us alongside fresh, cold mountain runoff flowing through aqueduct-like formations, being shown many plants and told of their medicinal qualities. We descended from our hike at 11,100 feet, passing through Choquecancha, an ancient terraced complex, reveling in the surrounding mountains, the lush Urubamba Valley below, on a beautiful sunny day, a wonderful slice of Peru!
We treated ourselves to two nights at the beautiful Sol y Luna, the grounds beautifully appointed and well-manicured, many purple flowered Jacaranda trees, cascading multi-colored bougainvillea and great service.