Pisac was lovely. A tiny town of only 2000 souls, the main square was entirely taken up by a col­orful market selling everything from jew­elry to back­packs and more. It started to pour so we bought some raingear from the nearby gear shop and I bought an alpaca wool back­pack from a man wearing cam­posino tra­di­tional clothing. I ima­gine he or his family wove the bag them­selves. So often when we asked about where an item came from, we were buying it from the person who made it or their sister. 

In the after­noon, as the sun came out, we went to walk up the moun­tain to las ruinas but a man we had bought a wall hanging from asked us where we were going and told us it was too far to walk. He said we needed to get a taxi from near the bridge back through the town, but then a woman from the next stall said, “Taxi?” and he explained what we wanted and she said her hus­band drove a taxi. They knocked on the door of the house we were in front of, and a guy came out. They asked him about the taxi, he named a price, we bartered down a bit because we only wanted a lift up not there and back and we walked 100 meters to his cab and were on our way.

As we wound our way around about 20 switch­backs we started to under­stand and appre­ciate the kind­ness of our stall­holder. The ruins are at around 3200 meters above sea level and we were starting in the Sacred Valley, right at the river floor. They are stun­ning feats of archi­tec­ture: ter­ra­cing down the moun­tain­side for agri­cul­ture, enormous stones dragged into pos­i­tion for housing and a temple of the sun, tun­nels in the moun­tain­side. After climbing one very steep stair­case and coming over a hill, we encountered an incred­ible astro­nom­ical obser­vatory, door­ways care­fully placed at 15 degree angles to with­stand earth­quakes and stones placed with amazing pre­ci­sion.
As we were mar­vel­ling at the Incan ingenuity, a schoolboy came up the hill from Pisac. “Hola,” he said. “Hola,” I responded. And still in Spanish, “Do you live up here?” “Yes, but higher.” “Is it good?” “Yes.”

He kept going. We soon encountered another. The same con­ver­sa­tion, but then “How many people live up there?” “In my vil­lage? 200.” “And do you walk up this hill every day?” “Yes, every day I go down and I return.” (This is a 4km walk he’s talking about!) “Do you like it here?” “Yes. Don’t you?” “Yes, but I’m fom Aus­tralia and I live near the sea. This is very high for me.” “Ah,” he says. “Do you know much about this place?” “A little,” I say. “I know that this is the temple of the sun and I think it was built around the 15th cen­tury.” “Could be,” he says. “And I think that building there is older.” “Yes,” he says. “I think it’s from around the 12th cen­tury.” “Could be,” he says. “Well, have a good day,” I say. “Ciao!” and he’s off, climbing the way we came.

We wend our way down the moun­tain, another hour or so down. The sun sets by the time we get to the bottom and we are happy and tired. This is bliss. We def­in­itely feel like we are on a hon­ey­moon adven­ture now. We have learnt how to say we are new­ly­weds in Spanish and that this is our “luna de miel” and we are starting to get “feli­cit­a­tions!” from the locals. A man in tra­di­tional dress at Sac­say­huaman sold us beads for our hair and wished us many chil­dren.

Back in Pisac we want a drink for our tired muscles and I sug­gest we invest­igate Mullu, an altern­ative café recom­mended by our Lonely Planet bible. It turns out to be awe­some, playing chil­lout music and serving the most amazing alpaca ribs in berry and red wine sauce with mash and alpaca ravioli with pas­sion­fruit dressing for Doug. I had man­darine and lime juice with ginger and honey – mmm!

And then we went back to our gor­geous little hostel and snuggled in for the night, ready to wake early and catch the bus to Ollantaytambo. A won­derful, won­derful day.