20th Anniversary – Travel Day

Our last morning of camping, the chef surprised us with this cake for our anniversary. He got up at 5:00 AM to make this cake at 12,000 ft without an oven. I was impressed. It was really good and moist!

The people of the town of Patacancha are famous for the textiles that they weave. We visited a family who showed the technique of preparing the wool and weaving. Something that has been passed down from generation to generation! They shear the wool off of the llamas, then build a fire and put various herbs in the water to color the wool. Most of the dyes come from plants, but the red color comes from an insect that lives on the Tuna Cactus. They collect this little insect and after it dies, they crush it for the red dye. Once the wool is colored, they spin the wool into yarn and once it is ready, they weave with it.

The weaving loom is very primitive. A couple of sticks stuck in the ground,the material wrapped around their waist for tension, a baby on their back and they are off weaving. I documented all of this on my picture web site, so don’t forget to take a look there…….http://community.webshots.com/user/forshara

I loved the bright colors that they have for their clothes but oddly, when it came time to purchase something, everything they offered was in beige, browns or muted colors. I finally settled on a table runner in pink…but not the bright pink that I like. The table runner that I bought cost $12. Amazing, considering all of the work that went into making it.

We finished visiting with the family around 11:00 and were off, in the van, for our next destination…Yucay, in the Sacred Valley. We made several stops along the way. Pumamacha was a small village where we ate lunch. There wasn’t much to this little village, but the scenery was beautiful…and the sun was shining. We saw the ruins for Ollantaytambo, high on a hill. Originally, it was built as a fortress, later it was a religious temple.

Along the ride, we saw red plastic bags hanging from trees. Juan Carlos explained that these were homes that sold Chica beer. Chica is made from fermented corn and has about a 4% alcohol in it. We stopped at a place that sold chica. What an interesting place. It was a tourist spot with a large enclosed courtyard. When we arrived, there were tourist playing the game sapo – trying to get the coin in the frog’s mouth. We went inside the large room…quaintly decorated with ceramic pieces and textiles. There were large ceramic jugs of chica. We sat at a long wooden table next to a local lady who was working on a large, large glass of chica!! Fortunately, we were given only a small sample of the drink. The hostess scooped the chica with gourd that was cut in half. There were two flavors that we tried. The regular flavor and the one mixed with strawberry. Neither one was all the good in our opinion, but between the two, the strawberry flavored one was the best.

The lady who was already there when we arrived, finished her first glass and started working on her second one. They were big glasses!!!

One town that we drove through, which looked very interesting and we wished that we had more time to visit was Ollantaytambo. This is an old Inca town and many of the houses today are built on the foundations that the Incas built. Plus, you can still see some of the original walls that used to protect the city. It just looked like such an interesting town, unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop and wander around. Outside of the town, we passed some urns built on the side of the hill that the Incas used to bury the common people.

We finally arrived in Yucay around 3:30 at our hotel, the Casona de Yucay. It was a beautiful hotel in an old hacienda built in 1810. It was a perfect, quiet setting to get some well needed rest….or so we thought!!!

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