After we were already two and a half weeks in Cusco and never had time on the weekends to get out of Cusco to see something of the surroundings, we finally made it last Sunday to Pisac. Pisac is located in the “Sacred Valley”, as the surrounding area is referred to around Cusco, because so many Inca ruins are found here. And on every Sunday there is the spectacle of a huge handicraft market in Pisac, attracting both tourists, and locals alike. One can really get lost in this market. The entire marketplace of Pisac and all the little streets around are studded with stalls, selling all imaginable kind of handicraft products of Peru: Scarves and sweaters made of alpaca wool, colorful caps and sleeves, Jewellery, ornate carved gourds, Ponchos, Masks and much more.
You are completely overwhelmed from the selection, and all the Peruvian sellers want to haggle with you and lure you with their low prices. After a while you can not remember anymore, whether you have already gone down this or that street, or if an hour ago you have not already thought about buying the exact same scarf. The sellers are not really a big help for this problem, since they certainly do not remember you: I think to Peruvians all gringos look alike, and they will for sure not remember your face or the price that you have already bargained for a few minutes before.
We left the market with all sorts of pretty, but probably not really necessary things, when you consider, that we have to carry everything which we might buy for the next four months across the country with us and our backpacks are already too heavy! We both bought typical Peruvian shoes, which are made from car tires, and all Peruvians whom we passed started laughing and pointing with outstretched fingers: At first we thought it was because of the unusual image of two gringos with this type of shoes. Now we know better: these shoes hurt like hell on the feet. And actually: if you check how most Peruvians' feet look, who have spent their lives in these shoes, you would rather not have your feet end up like thiers. I bought also a pair of trousers and knitted alpaca socks, which I simply could not pass up. Also, Jason (wait for it, he actually bought something for himself) picked up a little bag. The story with this bag, in which the Peruvians typically keep coca leaves and carry legally with them, already half drove me to madness. We looked already over half of Cusco for the perfect bag and spent hours on Pisac's market walking from one bag seller to the next. But no bag was just perfect for Jason. I was so glad, when he finally found a bag, of the right size and the right color. So, we've shopped till we dropped in Pisac, but here everything is so damn cheap it's hard to resist!
Pisac as town is also beautiful. It is much smaller than Cusco and situated picturesquely between huge green mountains. Fields as far the eye can see are scattered around the place and the old Inca ruins of Pisac cling to a mountain slope high above the village. It did well to escape from city life for once and finally experience some Peruvian landscape up close, which is really very impressive. I think this day was an urgent need especially for Jason. He was very happy, to find himself finally once again halfway in nature and proclaimed throughout, that he could not wait to see the rest of Peru's landscape and that he was finally ready to get out of town. I think for both of us it will be not easy to leave our beautiful apartment in Cusco and pick up our bags again, but at the same time we are both very excited, to see what lies beyond Cusco. I think Pisac shown us a small piece of that.
As it turned out to be a sheer impossibility to find something fairly cheap for lunch, we brought ourselves some tamales and a ripe pineapple from a street vendor and went with our loot the edge of town, where we enjoyed our simple but delicious meal on a stone in the middle of the eucalyptus forest.
When we wanted to return toward evening to Cusco, we could not find the “Bus stop” to catch the bus, if it exists at all. There is of course not something like a roadmap, so we stood around a bit lost at the street corner, where we had left the bus when we arrived. Of course, the bus did not ever come. We were then finally picked up by a 'collectivo' taxi, which for the ridiculous price of three soles (ca. one U.S. dollar) brings us in about half an hour back to Cusco.