January 4, 2007 – Sacred Valley, Peru

Submitted by Danny Catt on Mon, 2007/01/08 - 10:05pm.

I packed up my things once again and was off fairly early for a visit to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and the very same valley that has been carved over the millennia by the raging Urubamba River. The Urubamba is one of Peru’s most famous whitewater rafting rivers … but at this time of year (the wet season) the water is a rich coffee brown, loaded with silt, and the river’s volume is so high that it is virtually un-runnable by even rafts! The valley itself though is green and fertile and as a result is filled with agricultural fields growing corn and potatoes, which are two of the main foods for the locals.

Urubamba River Valley
Urubamba River Valley

Two main stops for tours in the Sacred Valley, from primarily an archaeological perspective, are Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Our first stop was Pisac, where there is an Inca fortress situated high up on a plateau overlooking the valley and the village below. Rather than go to the archaeological site though we visited the famous Pisac market (which to be honest was my preference). Wandering through and poking around in local markets, seeing what is for sale (and perhaps buying a few small items), and who is selling it, is something I love to do.

Pisac Market Products, Pisac, Peru
Pisac Market Products, Pisac, Peru

I also enjoy photographing in markets, and when taking photos of people I always like to ask permission first. As a result I often end up ‘negotiating’ a photo to go along with a small purchase. One of the women in the market did quite well by me… as I think I paid the highest price ever for a hand-woven belt. She was pleased … but so was I!

Weaver at Pisac Market, Peru
Weaver at Pisac Market, Peru

In the afternoon we visited the famous fortress of Ollantaytambo (I finally figured out how to pronounce it!!). Ollantaytambo’s claim to fame is that it was where the Inca defeated the Spanish Conquistadors in a battle. This rarely happened, and unfortunately the victory was short lived. The Spanish simply came back with more men and eventually were victorious. The site though is remarkable and is said to be one of the best surviving examples of Inca city planning with narrow cobblestone streets that have been inhabited consistently since the 13th century!! Do you think the streets of Vancouver or Burnaby would last for 800 or more years? Hmmm, I am guessing not!

I had a nice rainbow trout meal with asparagus soup, and washed down with a cup of coca-leaf tea. Most of the rainbow trout sold in the restaurants are farmed trout ‘grown’ in small pools high up in the mountains. These family operations are quite distinct from the huge fish farms on the coast of Chile. We will talk more about those once I reach South America’s narrowest country.

I spent the night in Ollantaytambo.

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Submitted by Chris Albrecht (not verified) on Tue, 2007/01/09 - 8:31pm.

Wow Danny. I just wanted to tell you that I think it's amazing what you're doing, and I am looking forward to following your journey. I wish you the best of luck.

I also wish you could bring back some of those textiles from Pisac with you. The colours and patterns are amazing!

Submitted by Danny Catt on Sat, 2007/01/13 - 6:41pm.

Hi Chris,

Great to hear from you.... and I am really pleased that you are going to follow along. I am now in Pucallpa, a larger city in the Peruvian Amazon. I am visiting Roald Kley, who was the BCIT Woodlot Manager for many years... and way back when was one of my instructors when I was a student at BCIT. We had a visit to a nature park near Pucallpa today. I will add more about it in my blog. Keep in touch ... and feel free to drop another note when you have the time.

Cheers Amigo :)


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 2007/01/12 - 11:17am.

Markets can be very exciting to visit indeed..... so alive with the hustle and bustle, the 'negotiating' and finally striking a deal (oh so much fun!) and the fine wares...a visual treat!

The weaves in the photos are so lovely; I'd have a difficult time deciding which one to choose!

Submitted by Danny Catt on Tue, 2007/03/20 - 1:19pm.

Many thanks for your post. I appreciate you taking the time to contribute to the site.



Submitted by darcy olson (not verified) on Sat, 2007/01/13 - 6:43am.
Danny, Who would have thought all of this would have gotten started by pitching a tent in Phyllis's backyard? Darcy
Submitted by Danny Catt on Sat, 2007/01/13 - 6:44pm.

Wow... well that is a message from my past. Thanks so much for dropping in and having a look at the Blog Darcy... and I hope all is well with the Olson family. I agree whole-heartedly that what we do as kids has a huge influence on how our lives and careers turn out. Say hi to the whole family for me!

Cheers, Danny

Submitted by Robyn (not verified) on Fri, 2007/02/02 - 10:58am.
I am testing to see if I canpost a blog. Last time it didn't work.
Submitted by Danny Catt on Sat, 2007/02/03 - 10:01am.

It worked :)

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