Cusco and the Sacred Valley, Peru

Join us in November for this amazing tour!!!
One of the most beautiful places I’ve visited is Cusco, Peru.

It is located in the Andes, amid snow-capped mountains, and it has been well preserved and exudes its native charm. There are no tall buildings in Cusco. It is a real treat to visit by day and by night, it is almost magical.

When we ventured out of Cusco, we saw magnificent Inca ruins, usually remains of their temples which reflected their reverence for nature. They built temples in caves, at tops of mountains, at springs of water, and they built temples out of huge rocks. They took into account the movement of the earth and position of the sun at the equinoxes and solstices. And even today, there are celebrations based on these events. A couple of years ago, I was there at the winter solstice in June and there were great festivities.

Outside of Cusco is also the Sacred Valley, a rich and fertile valley along the Urubamba River. In it, the people raise corn and potatoes.

One of our stops there is Chinchero, a colorful village.

Aside from the setting, Chinchero offered us the opportunity to see how the lovely tapestries made locally are produced. We watched the process from the preparation of the wool to the dyeing process (using all natural dyes) to the weaving.

Chinchero, remote as it is from commercial centers, is no amateur in exploiting its advantages. There is a lively market that sells not only local products, but also a wide variety of goods that are brought from outside the area.

One other wonderful place to visit is Maras. There we found salt evaporation ponds terraced along a mountain. Each pond or several ponds is owned by a local family that takes the salt from it and sells it. The water comes from deep in the mountain and trickles out into these ponds.
This is what they look like from a distance.

As one walks beside the ponds, the beauty of the setting and sound of the trickling water combine to make it a very relaxing visit.

We look forward to every visit to this special part of the world!

A digression about Peru

I have been extremely busy for the last 3 weeks, having just returned from South America. Now, 2 surgeries (one mine, one my grandson’s), two sets of guests at my home, one major surprise birthday party (my husband’s) and 9 days of mourning ending on Tisha B’av– later, I am about to leave for my next tour to the same area. So, instead of continuing with the saga, I want to tell you about something that happened during my most recent tour.

Our group was an amazing collection of people. Most were Australians with some Anglo-Israelis, some Americans, and others. They were intelligent and fun-loving and they behaved like one big happy family. Traveling with them was delightful.

One day we went to a town in Peru called Pisac. It is located in the Sacred Valley and it has Incan ruins and a beautiful market. While there, one of the ladies saw a skirt that one of the local ladies was wearing and she really wanted to buy one like it. I assume that she looked for it in the market, but she obviously didn’t find it.

She finally asked our Peruvian guide to help her buy it from the woman who was wearing it. Peruvian women wear straight skirts under their brightly colored, embroidered outer dirndl skirts, so when they reached an agreeable price, the Peruvian woman removed her skirt and gave it to our traveler. When she got on the bus and told us that she had successfully purchased the skirt, everyone laughed and also applauded. Then someone said, “Well, that’s great, but what is she going to say when she gets home and her husband wants to know what happened to her skirt.” Our traveler said, “That’s not a problem; after I bought her skirt, he offered to sell me his pants!”

Women in market at Pisac

Women in market at Pisac

Note the beautiful skirt. Note also that one Peruvian woman was carrying her pet llama and the other has a child who is carrying one. The people posing with the Peruvian women were members of our group, but not the proud owners of a Peruvian skirt.

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