15 May 2008

Sacred Valley, Peru

We are having the most amazing time... the people are friendly, the food deliciously fresh and the scenery spectacular, however the people live simply and to our standards, poorly. After Cuzco we headed to some of the more well known places in the Sacred Valley which includes Machu Picchu but I will write separately about our time there.

We stayed at a beautiful retreat centre, Willka T'ika which was recommended by Juria who stayed there last year. Willka T'ika has 7 beautiful chakra gardens and the most amazing energy.

While in the Sacred Valley we hiked through the picturesque country side and visited the cicular terraces of Moray. The terraces were an agricultural "research laboratory" for the Incas, who studied temperature variation from one terrace to another in order to develop crop varieties.

We also stopped by the salt mines - the only ones in Peru. They are a pretty amazing site on the side of the mountain with the water trickling through them. We actually ended up down near the salt mines and could see the different types of salt being mined.

To reward ourselves for all the hiking and climbing we did, we both experienced a healing session in a Crystal bed back at Willka T'ika.

On the second day in the Sacred Valley we hiked around the Inca ruins at the top of the village of Pisac. This hike was high up on the mountain, walking along the Incan trails along the cliff face. The views were spectacular. The hike took just over 2 hours but was well worth the trek.

On the way back to the retreat centre we were lucky to see some of the local people practicing ceremony dances for "Jesus Day". Jesus Day is the day is similar to a national day but just for the village. People were dressed in local costume and masks.

At the end of the day we participated in a traditional Despacho ceremony to honour Mother Earth and the Sacred Apus. The ceremony was beautiful and very special. Our Shaman is well known around the area and he spoke in a local language and our guide interpreted.

Basically he offered a range of grains and treats to Mother Earth and the local deities, as well as blessed us. At the end of the ceremony we watched our offering burn and be released into the Universe.

To view our photos from our time in the Sacred Valley, please visit our Sacred Valley photo album and our Willka T'ika and Despacho Ceremony photo album.

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