Tag Archives: Inca Ruins

Looking Down From Above – Journey In Peru

My last days amongst the people of Ollantaytambo were pressing upon my mind. So conscious was I now of the sun stretching from its rise and peak to its descending point. I could not grasp the measure of how this place had attached itself to me.

I had spent some time in those last two weeks with a younger Peruvian woman who was visiting some relations in the town. She planned to return from Lima back to Ollantaytambo to find employment and eventually start a business. She encouraged me to think about returning also to consider my own venture. It was tempting. I wanted to live every possibility of my life. This was one possibility and I certainly felt at home in this culture.

View Of Fortalezza from Pinku Lluna

View Of Fortalezza from Pinku Lluna

My original quest awaited me in Ireland. A desirous one. I had sought an alternative goal when coming to Peru, appeasing a curiosity. In truth, I was being fearful of failure and disappointment. The Universe had answered loudly. Even Machu Picchu was in cahoots. Go back to Ireland and finish what you started.

Plaza De Armas Ollantaytambo Peru

I had bags that needed packing. I couldn’t face into it. Liz suggested a visit to Pinku Lluna. It is an uphill trail of loose terrain, leading to a number of Inca built structures, such as, a store house, for the purpose of storing grain. Higher still, the face of an Apu jutted from the rocks, keeping protective watch over all below. It was a useful place to visit now and then to gain a perspective on situations.

Ollantaytambo Peru

Looking down from above, the town neatly sprawled into the foothills of the dignified mountains. Beyond, the Fortaleza dramatised the scene fantastically. This was no ordinary town. While Machu Picchu reigned gloriously a short train journey away, this Sacred Valley town rested in the womb of world, served by silvery foaming rivers and guarded by mountains. Ollantaytambo was the location chosen before Machu Picchu as the first private royal residence of Inca Pachacuti in the mid-fourteen hundreds.

Vi ew from Pinku Lluna

Vi ew from Pinku Lluna

Perhaps I was charmed in the same way as those Inca Kings and Queens. Only one year ago, I had spent a night in this town. Whilst wrapped in blankets on the deck of a bar, I thought how lovely it would be to spend longer in this appealing town. I think the Inca’s had something to do with it. There could be no regrets. I had grown in many ways and the ground beneath my feet had become more solid like those towering rocks.

Inca Store House - Pinku Lluna

Inca Store House – Pinku Lluna

Apu - Pinku Lluna

Apu – Pinku Lluna

As I gazed upon the roof tops and scanned the stretch of buildings, I noted the ones in which I had made friendships and had been regarded as family. Some seeds are scattered poorly, deprived of the elements that provide growth. Some are smothered by thicker and more vigorous vegetation and some are trampled upon as they attempt to grow. That same seed could reach its potential given a different set of circumstances. And this is why some of us human beings need to remove ourselves from our original environment. It is the tragedy of life that some humans never realise that there could have been a different, possibly a better, outcome, if they had only dared to move.

One last look around and then back to the heart of the town and the packing.

© Caroline Cunningham Author Of Wild Star Landing (Blog)

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Peruvian Nights – Journey In Peru

I may have been the most cautious adventurer to visit this Peruvian town but my caution paid direct dividends in the best of friendships. Sure I could have followed other paths to chicha house’s or dens of lucid smoking. In a far away conversation I recalled the mention of ayahuasca.

I made a determined decision during my time in Peru to take advantage of this fresh start. No people pleasing habits (of any kind) to be entertained! I preferred reliable, natural company and took my time getting to know this new culture and language so as to be respectful to those who were here to help me on my way.

Night Of The Perseids Peru

Night Of The Perseids Peru

NIght Of The Perseids

NIght Of The Perseids

I had watched, listened and learned and when the time was right, I was ready for lots of fun. The musicians from the night of the Perseids at Misha Wasi were about to perform at a local hotel. Henry and I went along to part-take of red wine and listen to the sublime instrumentals of this group, who have since disbanded to continue their wanderings of the Earth. They had an audience of tourists from around the world along with some familiar faces of local folk and non-Peruvians, like myself.

Journey in Peru

Journey in Peru

Journey In Peru

Journey In Peru

Afterwards, I had agreed to go dancing at the ‘Inka Disco’ with my friends from the Coffee Tree. It was a tiny venue in one of the Inca built dwellings, so typified with large granite boulders evident in the internal walls. Seeing the coloured disco lights swirling across them was a surreal and cave-like experience. The music was not my favourite, hip-hop not being of my teen-age generation but I hopped and swayed around the small disco floor as lively as the rest of them. Half way through the night, the music switched to a traditional style. It was beautiful, as I had the opportunity to experience the bachata style with my good friend Alex.

Inka Disco Peru

Inka Disco Peru

We danced all night until eventually, there were no more people in the room, except the four of us. The music showed no signs of stopping as long as we were there. I was the weakest link. At two a.m. I was wondering when it might be time to go home.

Night Time Ollantaytambo Peru

Night Time Ollantaytambo Peru

Late night Peru

Late night Peru

As I entered my room on the rooftop of my lodgings, I gazed in the direction of the Fortalezza and shuddered a little in the cool breeze. In less than a week I would no longer have this splendid view, the mountains that hugged me closely here would be replaced by distant lower lying ones and the stars would be up-side down once more in their arrangements.

I gripped the moment to my heart knowing the exact measure of it could never be maintained just glimpsed through memories and their transposition to these meagre words. These were my Peruvian nights which I so cherished.

©Caroline Cunningham Author Of Wild Star Landing (Blog)

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Temple Of The Sun Cuzco – Journey In Peru

Cuzco Peru

Cuzco Peru

Cuzco is a fascinating city with an inherent spontaneity. Parades and celebrations are a normal part of any given day. It is a city built upon a city as the Spanish Conquistadors took advantage of the ingenuity of the Incas. The Inca buildings were designed and engineered to withstand earthquakes so it was best to take advantage of their expert foundations.

Dancers and Parades in Cuzco Peru

Dancers and Parades in Cuzco Peru

Dancers and Parades in Cuzco Peru

Dancers and Parades in Cuzco Peru

Celebrations in Cuzco Peru

Celebrations in Cuzco Peru

Celebrations in Cuzco Peru

Celebrations in Cuzco Peru

The heart of the city boasts decorative Spanish colonial architecture whilst the powerful Inca spirit emanates from the towering walls and boulders of their most impressive remaining structures.

Plaza De Armas Cuzco Peru

Plaza De Armas Cuzco Peru

Original Inca Walls exposed Cuzco Peru

Original Inca Walls exposed Cuzco Peru

Plaza De Armas Cuzco Peru

Plaza De Armas Cuzco Peru

Near San Pedro Market Cuzco Peru

Near San Pedro Market Cuzco Peru

During my visits to Cuzco I availed of the opportunity to visit some of the most famous Inca heritage sites, starting with the Temple Of The Sun. Here you see examples of the inter-locking system used in Inca buildings. Precise measurements and laser-like cutting of the granite rocks meant that nothing more was required to hold these blocks tightly and securely together.

Temple Of The Sun Cuzco Peru

Temple Of The Sun Cuzco Peru

Temple Of The Sun Cuzco Peru

Temple Of The Sun Cuzco Peru

Temple Of The Sun Cuzco Peru

Temple Of The Sun Cuzco Peru

Temple Of The Sun Cuzco Peru

Temple Of The Sun Cuzco Peru

The walls of The Temple Of The Sun are believed to have been covered in gold, of which the Incas were in no short supply. History tells us that all the gold was stripped away by the invaders for their own purposes. The Peruvians tell a very gruesome story of the horrors of this invasion.

Journey In Peru - Wild Star Landing

Journey In Peru – Wild Star Landing

Temple Of The Sun Cuzco Peru

Temple Of The Sun Cuzco Peru

An American lady living in Peru deduced to me that the Peruvian people are still affected by these emotional scars, she disdained their victim mentality. She took the time to tell me that it was similar for the Irish. Being Irish, I thanked her for her observations. She could be right. It’s always interesting to get an outsiders observation. I indeed had my own scars to attend to, and in doing so, surely I could no longer be cast as a victim of my circumstances.

Cuzco Peru

Cuzco Peru

In my first trip to Cuzco I behaved like a good tourist honouring the Inca heritage and in addition I offered assistance to a friend in need. Life is difficult at times. When we give consideration to the plight of others we momentarily forget our own turbulent affairs.

Cuzco Peru

Cuzco Peru

As I travelled back to Ollantaytambo a day later, I noticed a new sensation. Maybe it was a growing up but it felt like an outwards growing. Some months later back in Dublin a friend observed that my aura extended all the way from the top of Parnell Square to the other side of the river Liffey. This must have been the start of that extension.

I felt more whole than ever in my life, more parts of myself interconnecting. I had not yet passed through the darkest hour of this particular chapter of my life but a preparation of sorts was taking place. I felt I was being guided and protected from an unseen source. And so I carried onwards with my plot.

Journey In Peru - Wild Star Landng

Journey In Peru – Wild Star Landng

©Caroline Cunningham Author of Wild Star Landing (Blog)

Desayuno in Peru – A Sacred Valley Breakfast

Here I am still talking about ‘Breakfast In Peru’. It is not easy to write about this country and refrain from mentioning its food. Food is not only a living necessity it is a  soul thing and if you are lucky as I was you get to share the soulful moments with others who appreciate its worth.

I volunteered my services at The Coffee Tree in return for some food and the opportunity to improve my Spanish and most importantly to make friends. We started our mornings there cleaning and preparing for the day ahead as customers started to trickle  in ordering their tea’s and coffees and breakfasts. Local Inca women wearing exquisitely designed customary dress would pop in with some organic fruit or vegetables for sale. And local men called to see if newspapers were wanted or perhaps some extra bottles of beer.

When at last the place had quietened down it was time for the workers to have their breakfast. There was variety of breakfast provided for the workers now and then but the most staple of these was a tasty soup. It was served in wide bowls, with tiny pasta shapes, lots of organic vegetables and well seasoned stock. Sometimes you would find a piece of a chicken or goat or cow in the mixture, just a little. A Peruvian dish is not complete without some form of chilli sauce freshly blended, the one we commonly ate was called ‘aji’ which was made from ‘cilantro’ a spicy pepper/chilli (I am not up on my classifications of these vegetables yet).

One day just as our breakfast started to appear through the kitchen hatch finding its way to our table, a traveling couple reviewed the menu trying to decide what their appetite required. ‘What is that over there?’ they asked curiously. I replied that it was the breakfast for the workers. One of them decided, ‘we’ll have that, it looks great.’ I explained that it was not on the menu and only enough was prepared for the workers. They were really disappointed but in fairness i did ask just to make sure. It was not possible that day but I did inform the owner that this was not the first time I had encountered this reaction from tourists.

A delicious breakfast from Ollantaytambo Peru - An Irish Womans Journey

A delicious breakfast from Ollantaytambo Peru – An Irish Womans Journey

The guys at the Coffee Tree certainly worked hard and this was a great treat. As I sat and ate my breakfast soup with my Peruvian friends I realised how envious I was spied by other tourists who passed through. ‘Ah, only special people get to have this food,’ one tourist teased me gently.

We ate in silence with amusing glances now and then, gazing out at the immaculate blue sky, the busy square and the nearby rocky hills with their inca ruins.  Second helpings were always offered and the conversation got more underway by the time we got to coffee and the freshly baked pans of bread. In the beginning much of the conversation was lost on me but as time went by we found our ways of joking with each other and exchanging language phrases in English, Spanish and even Quechua, the local language of the Incas.

And that was breakfast. A soulful moment in Ollantaytambo, in the heart of Peru’s Sacred Valley.

©Caroline Cunningham Author of Wild Star Landing Blog December 25th 2013

An Irish Woman’s journey living in the little town of Ollantaytambo, in Peru’s Sacred Valley, Cuzco Region.

Breakfast in Peru's Sacred Valley - The Coffee Tree Ollantaytambo

Breakfast in Peru’s Sacred Valley – The Coffee Tree Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo Peru Travel Stories of  Life in a Peruvian Town

Ollantaytambo Peru Travel Stories of Life in a Peruvian Town