A few moments on the balcony looking out to the edge of sky and water. Water and earth.
Bob is fishing off the bank and has signaled that he already has snagged two good sized trout.
Settling back into my water-scape view, tears swell as naturally as the persistent, gentle lapping of waves against the concrete bulkhead.
These are the good days.
In hindsight we’ll see more of the incredible gift of these easy times, even as we know in these moments their delicate joys.
I wish you could see what Les and I got to see and experience today while off the beaten path in Ollantaytambo.
When we drove through the dusty, congested entrance last night, I thought, “Seriously, people live here?” I could barely contain my urge to snicker and say, “Haven’t you got anything newer than this?” I don’t think anyone else would have seen the humor behind my concern for our accommodations. But, they were good despite the odd radiated bug-like symbols painted on all four walls of our room. I think they may be Quechua for “roaches beware”.
This was to be our first day of being without Yure; we set out with our off-the-guided-grid attitude, and little tiny map without street names, to discover the once capital city and oldest continuously inhabited dwellings in South America. And we made it as far as the nearest coffee cafe at the corner of the plaza. Continue reading
We arrived in Ollantaytambo, a still inhabited city that once served as temporary capital for Manco Inca (leader of the native resistance against the Spanish conquistadors). The elevation is 9,160′ above sea level and the stone steps of the main Inca ceremonial center seem to be growing steeper and more narrow, so I turn around and wait at the base of Araqhama while Les and Yure carry on to the top. Continue reading
We make several stops at the entrance to the Valley including more Incan ruins known as Inca Písac. We turn to the opposite side of this site and there, in the mountain are rows and rows of holes. I’m astounded. This was the vision I saw this morning and drew (again hurriedly and crudely) on my paper table mat before leaving for the day.
Yure goes on to explain the mountainside pockmarks as evidence of Spanish tomb robbers extracting gold and silver from the final resting places of the Incas. These were the history lessons come alive, but there were other messages for me on that particular spot on the mountain. Continue reading
At breakfast I quickly sketch a few notes of dreams and prayers, then we leave Cusco to visit Cochahuasi, an animal sanctuary and rescue farm for Alpacas, Llamas, Macaws, Parakeets and two Condors (they fly overhead with a wingspan of 10′). We see coats of alpacas transformed by nature’s dyes and woman’s skill, and we visit Grupo Esmeralde, where tourist like us fall under the trance of beautifully crafted alpaca and baby alpaca sweaters and hats.
With credit card safely stowed, our guide Yure drives us on for our first look of the Sacred Valley of the Incas – a craddle made by the Urubama River also known as Willkanuta River (Aymara, “house of the sun”) or Willkamayu (Quechua). We are both moved by the expanse and beauty of this rich and generous relief in the highland mountains of Peru, and then drive on through the small villages – passing terraces and fields of hard-working farmers of corn, and potatoes, Amaranth and Quinoa.
I slept and dreamt until the twilight between sleep and waking moments when I woke up with two visuals that I hurriedly and crudely drew in the first pages of my new travel journal. I fought back the familiar, critical voice saying that “I’m a lousy drawer” long enough to scratch out the barest of nods to what I was seeing in my mind’s eye.
Then, a quick breakfast buffet and we set out into the day with Yure, and walking to The Qorikancha – The Sun Temple also known as Inti Kancha or Inti Wasi (which is Quechua, the native language of the Incas, for “sun house”). Continue reading