FACTOID: The Sacred Valley of the Incas where Machu Picchu is also called the Urubamba Valley since it is formed by the Urubamba River. It is visited by about 1.2 million people each year.
FACTOID: Peruvian Guinea Pig is a delicacy. They are not pigs and they don't come from Guinea. ... They don't live in the wild, being purely bred for food by the people of the Andes. People keep them as pets until they are ready to eat them.
We left early in the morning for the airport in Lima for a flight to Cusco. The airport in Lima was packed and it was a little difficult to get to our short flight to Cusco. We were flying from sea level up to over 11,000 feet - the level of Cusco. At the airport we were met by the tour company and taken to their headquarters in Cusco for a briefing before we departed for Pisac at 9,500 feet. At the airport we were met by a lot of Inka women with cocoa leaves for us to chew on. This was to prevent altitude sickness.
The Queen's niece Ali and Brenan's girlfriend Julia were waiting for us at the office. We paid the balance due in cash and received our final itinerary and T-shirts. The T-shirts had a map of what our trip was going to be. We were also given some coca tea - again for the altitude sickness.
On our way to Pisac we stopped at the Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary. This is a family run business that takes in wounded and distressed animals native to the region. Some face extinction like the Andean condor. There are two perched above the Queen.
Here is one in flight - part of a show that the sanctuary puts on for visitors. We were the only visitors there.
There were plenty of llamas or alpacas or vicuna.
The national dog of Peru is the Hairless Peruvian dog. The Queen sits with one with a nice sweater on. They put the sweater on so they do not get sunburned.
There were also lots of guinea pigs or `cuy' - pronounced `coo - e'. This is a delicacy in Peru and many farms now raise `cuy' for selling to eat.
The Queen with an alpaca or a llama.
The Queen's brother is with the same animal.
Ali and Morgan feed a quanaco.
On our way to Pisac at 9,700 feet we stopped at an overlook. Brenan and Julia are standing with the Sacred Valley behind them. The Sacred Valley was where the major part of the Inka Empire was. It stretches for 60 kilometers (37 miles) along the Urubamba River between Pisac to Ollantaytambo.
Toby also poses at the same place.
We continued on to the Royal Inka in Pisac. Most of the group took little Tuk Tuk vehicles into town for dinner - it was a little far to walk. The Queen and I remained in the hotel and had dinner there. It was not too good - we should have gone into town with everyone. The hotel had very nicely landscaped grounds.