Peru’09: To Ollantaytambo

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By R. Richards
In the next few weeks I’ll be journaling the Peru 2009 Cultural Immersion program which lasted 14 days. I won’t chronicle every day but the most important highlights of our experience.

We had 7 participants: Sally R. and her husband Scott S., Gail and Hal B. of Sunapee NH, newlyweds Tim Y. and Amy G. and Betsy S. of Grantham NH.  Most were teachers which made for good dynamics. On our first day in Cusco, we hiked up to Sacsayhuaman ruins. After walking the great walls, we had a little meeting as the sun set, setting the tone for open communication and willing to stretch outside of one’s comfort zone. The group all agreed they’d give it their best shot.  That night we had dinner at the Retama where Guillermo is the music director of his band Chimu’s/Chimu Inka and plays there almost nightly.

Guillermo plays "cane" flute at Moray

Guillermo plays "Quena" flute at Moray

After a night in Tika Wasi in Cusco, we headed for the Chinchero and the fascinating agricultural terraces of Moray.  Here, Guillermo took out his flute and played, setting a surreal tone in the ruins. You could hear the music echo through the terraces below. Then there was a hair-raising ride (not so much much for me, I’m used to the heights) to the Inka salt pans just before the sun set, then off to Anna’s pension.  Many thanks goes to Julio of Personal Travel Service for setting up our ride with Ernesto and the Mercedes bus plus all tickets and other logistics in the Sacred Valley.

Anna's Family, Guillermo & Ernesto

Anna's Family, Guillermo & Ernesto

It had been a few years since I’d seen Anna when I stayed at her pension for night. It was good to see Anna again, her daughter Katey and her other daughter who had been in Italy for four years, who I’d not  yet met. Anyway, we all settled in nicely, the participants heading off to stay in nearby homes, down the street. We’d all met up for dinner at Anna’s though. Although it was a bit of a switch from the four star Hotel Antigua in Lima, everyone adjusted well to Anna’s where we’d be basing ourselves over the next few days. Below is a short clip as we arrived at Anna’s. Ernesto our knowledgeable driver, Anna, her godchild, daughter, and Guillermo are featured.

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