Saturday, September 24, 2022

Peru Day 3: Ollantaytambo, Yanahuara Farm, Urubamba, and Pisac


Visiting the ruins in Ollantaytambo.

Lots of stairs today.

This place was an Incan agricultural and military center.

View from up top. Check out the big stone blocks, lying where they fell. And the Water Temple and ceremonial fountains in the back, off to the left there.

A view of the opposite mountain.

You can tell by the stone that we're entering a more important location at Ollantaytambo.

A beveled doorway that used to lead up to the Sun Temple.

Entering the Ten Niches.

This is where sacred Incan statues were probably displayed.

Through the doorway up to the Temple of the Sun.

A collection of chiseled stone blocks, either for construction left unfinished or from the destruction of the building.

Worn down stone carvings in the Temple of the Sun.

Ollantaytambo is laid out in the shape of a llama with the Sun Temple as the eye.

Looking out at the farmland down below.

And housing.

A majestic view.

Going back downstairs was easier than going up.

The lower terrace is still being used for farming.

Entering the ceremonial fountain area.

Inside the Water Temple.

Ernesto talking to us about the Incan temples and ceremonial water purifications.

We explored through the shops just outside the ruins.

It has been hot and I needed a hat so I grabbed this one.

Transporting back in time to the time of the Incas with this gentleman.

On our way out we saw this lady with her fancy hat and yarn work.

As we drove we stopped to check out these silver buildings hanging off the face of the mountain.

Jeni said she wouldn't want to sleep up there.

Got a picture with this cute kid, dressed up in his Peruvian clothes.

Here we arrive at Valentin's place in Yanahuara to see the farm and have a cooking lesson. I put on my new poncho and hat for this stop.

We followed the stream down past a few houses on our way.

Saying hi to this sheep.

And hi to this donkey.

The stream can be diverted for irrigation with these doors.

Valentin is building another school here for this area, which is where he lives and grew up. 

This will be an elementary school complete with internet and technology for English learning.

Meeting up with our chef, Roger down at Valentin's farm.

At Roger's direction we picked the ingredients needed for today's cooking class, like this broccoli.


Their tomatoes grow on trees, and the lighter-red color means they're ripe.

Old fashioned mortar and pestle outside the kitchen. The alfalfa is for the guinea pigs.

We changed into our chef coats, ready to begin.

This kitchen is Valentin's parents', where he grew up.

And here's the wood-fired clay stove we're cooking on. We have some breaded trout cooking right now and I'll share recipes (as best I was able to jot down) for Pico de Gallo, Mango Ceviche, and Quinoa Soup.

Pico de Gallo
rocoto chili
Peruvian cilantro
lime, squeezed

Mango Ceviche
1 mango, cut into cubes
1 aji limo chili, diced
1 piece garlic, diced
1 tbsp grated ginger, squeezed & just the juice added
1 sm bunch of Peruvian cilantro, diced
1 tsp salt
1 sm red onion, sliced long & thin
dash of pepper
1 tbsp milk

Quinoa Soup
1 sm tomato, chopped
2 garlic, chopped
3 slices ginger, diced
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 tbsp oil
combine all to simmer in pot

beef, chopped into chunks & seared in pot
1 tbsp salt

10 hava beans(?), peeled
1/2 lb pumpkin, cubed
1 golden potato, cubed
3 sm potato, quartered
10 pea pods
1 med carrot, chopped
rinse then add to pot

add 1 cup cooked quinoa & 2 quarts water
bring to boil

1 bunch cilantro, diced
1 bunch quinoa leaves
1 tsp milk
add to pot, then serve

The mango ceviche was added to today's menu as a special request because we loved it so much the other day when we ate with the school kids.

This was so delicious!

Our tour certainly has had some special outings that just made it stand out from the others.

Thanks Roger! Time for us to head out to our next stop.

Dishes are washed here in the stream.

We visited the market in Urubamba. Here is a stall selling many different kinds of potatoes.

So many different potatoes! And to think, Peru has 4,000 different kinds of potatoes.

Local families sell all kinds of produce from their farms.


A variety of different beans.

Yellow potato, all sliced up.

Here's a family doing their shopping.

Black corn is used not only to cook and eat as food but also made into a Peruvian beer called chicha.

The butcher stalls were against the back of the market.

About another hour from the market we arrived at the ruins in Pisac.

This was a big agricultural center for the Incas, with so many terraced hills for growing crops.

View of the Incan ruins.

Great views of the valley from up here.

Outside this weaving coop there was this great model of a church.

Traditional pottery on display.

There are still Peruvians who follow the old Incan religion and sacrifice animals on special occasions.

In these sacrificial ceremonies black guinea pigs are used.

Outside the shop are various kinds of llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicuñas.

We grabbed some long grass and fed some llamas.

Ernesto was telling us about the differences between the llamas and alpacas.

Chaco llamas are the wooly llamas.

Kara llamas are short wool llamas.

Huacaya alpacas are the cute, fluffy alpacas.

Zuri (or suri) alpacas have these coiled dreadlocks.

Guanacos are smaller than llamas and are the wild cousins of the domesticated llamas.

While alpaca wool is very soft and expensive, vicuña wool is even more luxurious and soft.

And that concludes our 3-day tour with Valentin's Pachamama Journeys. We went to our hotel in Cusco and had a nice dinner nearby.

I wanted to try the local specialty of cuy (guinea pig). It wasn't my favorite; it was pretty gamey and greasy, actually. But I'm glad I tried it!