Yesterday I went with a group from Mundo Antiguo Spanish School to the Sacred Valley near the town of Calca to hike along the Rio Urubamba.
I had never been along that part of the Valley though I have hiked north of the town several times. Despite the rainy weather typical this time of year, it turned out to be a lot of fun and we saw quite a few places that were new to me. It was great going out again with our wonderful guide, Dorian, along with my friends Carina (Austria), Laurence (Luxembourg), and Caroline (Seattle/US).
After taking the hour-long colectivo (passenger van) ride to Calca, we walked across a bridge and turned north along the raging river in a light rain. Thanks to very heavy recent rains that had caused flooding in several communities, the river was threatening to overflow it’s banks the entire way.
Along the way, I spotted some rock paintings (“pinturas repestres”) on the wall along the wall as well as several Inca cemeteries. Unfortunately, rain didn’t allow me to pull out my camera and get any photos. That’ll have to wait for another time.
Eventually we made our way to the ruins of Urqo. I had seen the extensive agricultural terraces there which lie next to the main road running through the Valley, but I had no idea there was actually more lying behind the hills.
There wasn’t much to the ruins, but what was there was certainly worth the hike. Besides the amazing huaca (see the above photo), there was a circular building that likely was also built for ceremonies. (Round buildings are almost unknown in Inca construction as they are almost always rectangular. )
The complex was quite small with a number of smaller buildings next the huaca. These were likely rooms for Inca priests and attendants as well as storerooms.
The colors of the valley, while somewhat subdued on this rainy day, were still sparkling with the color of flowers and a million shade of green. Most visitors to Cusco and the Sacred Valley have no idea what everything looks like in the summer!
Like any walk through the valley at just about any time of the year, there are fantastic photo opportunities. Thank goodness the last half of the hike was mostly dry!
Thanks to Dorian for being such a great guide!
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