We woke up a little late and quickly got our packs ready to head out for a full day of traveling and exploring communities in the Sacred Valley starting with Chincheros. After Shirley spent some time organizing our transportation we had a plan and went to meet our driver. The cost for the entire trip 120 soles which is around 40 US. By coincidence or fate our driver was from Chincheros so he had an intimate knowledge of the community and the Alpaca industry. Shirley spoke to him about Chincheros and translated to me as we enjoyed the drive which was approximately and hour.
Chincheros is a small Andean Indian village located high up on the windswept plains of the Andes at 3765m about 30km from Cusco. The construction of the wall and many other ruins and agricultural terraces (which are still in use) are attributed to Inca Tupac Yupanqui who possibly used Chinchero as a kind of country resort.
Upon arriving in Chincheros we saw many Alpaca and a small close knit community centered on raising alpaca and producing goods. Our driver explained he could take us the back way into the nearby ruins on the Urquillos Trek and see from a different perspective, Shirley and I decided to take the hike with our driver being the guide. The ruins where amazing and the way the rocks where carved almost looked cast into form. At the end of the hike we came upon a church built on Inca Ruins in the 1600’s “Iglesia Colonial de Chinchero” kinda disrespectful but I must say the church was incredible and felt like something out of Indiana Jones. No photos are allowed inside and a guard follows you around inside but the floral and religious painting throughout are breathtaking. I went up to the alter said a prayer for mom and grandma with tears in my eyes thanked them for the experience and in that moment feeling so close to my heart. As We left the church with Shirley comforting me as we came upon a plaza filled with women selling every variety of alpaca goods in a wide array of colors using mostly natural dies. It is common with some products like rugs and bags to be mixed with wool and are less expensive but is something you need to be aware of or may pay for full alpaca and get 50% wool. We looked around as our driver/guide. The women of the Andes mountains have been making these goods from alpaca that go back in the same tradition for hundreds of years. After Shirley covered with the women we decided to buy a rug and bag made with natural dyes by hand from 100% alpaca for a reasonable price as samples of things we are looking to have made for our business Alpaca Trueke. We headed toward the car and decided to continue on to the Sacred Valley and Urubamba. The drive is amazing with incredible views of the Andes mountains and valleys. Open arriving in Urubamaba we decided to stop at local place and drink some Chicha and play a game of Sapo. After enjoying the company of the owner of the estalishment and her dog we continued on to Ollantaytambo and the ancient Inca Ruins.
Once we arrived in Ollantaytambo the gateway to the Inca trail, we could see and hear there was a celebration going on and alot of music and dancing. So we decided to to goto the main square to check it out. Festivals in Peru are always alot of fun and the people have a great passion for celebration. After enjoying the festivities we decided to hike up to the Ancient Inca Ruins of Pinkuylluna which is free compared Ollantaytambo Fortress which is $70 but very impressive and is worth it if you never have experienced it. But I had already experienced the fortress on my previous trip to Peru and so had Shirley. So we started our hike through the cobble streets of the ancient city and last stronghold of Marcos Inca as he resisted the conquistadors eventual takeover. Little did Shirley know but this was to be a very special day as i had purchased a engagement ring to propose to her at the summit of the mountain and arrival at the Pinkuylluna Ruins. To find your way to the trail head is not marked but we found after asking a local gentleman. The hike up to the ruins is literally breathtaking at an altitude of over 9,160 ft. The trail is not well maintained and very dangerous in places if not a skilled hiker. We took our time and made sure we kept three point of contact in some places. We saw few people on the trail as opposed to the fortress ruins on the opposing mountain which was crowded. after a few hours we reached the ruins and I kneeled down and proposed to Shirley. I took her completely off guard and she became very emotional as too was I. She accepted, we kissed, and embraced for some time before both turning around and enjoying the amazing viewS and each others company knowing we would be together one way or another. I am a very lucky man to have such an intelligent, kind hearted, and supportive women like Shirley in my life. She never ceases to amaze me how down to earth she is and full of love for life. After exploring the ruins together like little kids on a playground we decided to hike down as it would be getting dark. Hiking down was a challenge, we where both hungry for dinner and a cerveza to celebrate our engagement. Once we returned to the town we found a restaurant and had dinner at the main square watching the celebration together before returning to our driver and traveling back to Cusco through the night along with a few passengers we picked up along the way.