Archive for June, 2019

Brunyfire Abroad Again: Peru – Day 11.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2019 by brunyfire

Sunday 14th April, 2019. Another huge day ahead – so we’re packed and ready early to trundle our cases down to our coach to take off from Cuzco. We climb steadily out of the city to the nearby hill top of Pukamoqo, originally a sacred mount to the Incas, and sitting some 3,600 metres. 555CF767-717B-44BF-A0E9-6C7A93150BD0445E0F14-310E-46DC-8390-4F1792BCC804We get a fine view of the Plaza de Armas below – the hilltop is also famous for its statue of Jesus Christ. Cristo Blanco, is one of the city’s many recognizable landmarks, reflecting the imported hold of Catholicism in Peru, whilst in the shadow of the seat of the Incan Empire.24FDDB3F-C7AB-4B32-9A29-945579D61E7ADespite the good intentions behind its existence, that of a gift to the city from grateful Arabic Palestinians who were welcomed into Cuzco after the Second World War, Cristo Blanco just doesn’t compare to the Christ that stands over Rio! Built by a local artist, Francisco Olazo Allende, it was constructed in sections in the old quarter of San Blas, known as the craftsman’s district, and brought up the hill, piece by piece and assembled.

We hunker back down in the coach as the day starts to warm up – we’re on our way to the Sacred Valley in Peru’s Andean highlands. Along with the nearby town of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley formed the heart of the Inca Empire. We stop at a point overlooking the valley down into Taray enroute to our next destination, Pisac. 9E0DB800-44DC-4178-93E7-DC3F44E2CE1228297ECC-C32E-4ADD-B261-D9514BDC1D132D855F17-BE0A-4C79-A87E-6CDBBF954BC3Stretching roughly 60 kilometers, the Sacred Valley’s fertile farmland is irrigated by the Urubamba River (also known as the Vilcanota River, Willkanuta River or Willkamayu (Quechua). The latter, in Quechua, is the still spoken lingua franca of the Inca Empire, and means the sacred river).

Our destination is Pisac, a village in southern Peru’s Sacred Valley region known for the agricultural terraces that lead up to the Pisac Archaeological Park, a hilltop Incan citadel.

The Incan ruins known as Inca Písac (meaning ‘partridge’) and at an altitude of 3514m……..43F7F2DB-1B8E-42BB-BBE2-5DE8497B0EE4…….was once a strategic controlling point for the Incan Empire’s vital road that wound its way through the Sacred Valley to the borders of the eastern jungle. With its elevated position, researchers believed the site served a defensive purpose, protecting the southern end of the valley.

Back on the bus again and we’re climbing steadily higher, this time to the home of the potato. In Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Inca, six communities of approximately 6000 indigenous people are working together to preserve over 700 species of potato – a cornerstone of life here. As part of our G Adventures tour, we visit the ‘Parque de la Papa’ (‘Potato Park’), to learn about life in an Andean agricultural community. We’re greeted by the farmers and their wives……E03FD015-6FA1-4B29-96B6-C6A7F1C84CD5……..and head under a string of Cantutas (or qantu it’s traditional Quechua name – the national flower of Peru)……..FE8178B9-9D87-45E6-9624-CBE656BDB01A…….into the display seed conservation area. These guys work directly with the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, which is hugely impressive. Through our tour guide, we learn of the important purposes for the community of Pampallacta: the preservation of agricultural biodiversity and economic opportunity.ADBC426C-57EE-4D45-BEB2-B6A9188D60C2We’re introduced to the harvesting process, still carried out with ancient farm implements….9EF2D254-FFBC-410B-AC91-037413B929BD…….and finish off with a taste of spuds with our Pisco Sour…….


…….followed by a demonstration by the ladies of natural dying, spinning and weaving. C399D3BB-FCEF-4BE1-A959-BB988BDEEB11D7DD8095-E8BD-471C-A1F9-4048506BCE38Back on the bus again and this time heading back and into the Sacred Valley. We’re all starving by now and we pass some amazing road side cafe’s selling barbecued cuy (guinea pig). But we’re actually headed to the Parwa Community Restaurant, a community run farm-to-table program kickstarted by G Adventures and the Multilateral Investment Fund. Situated in Huchuy Qosqo, a small village of 65 families in the Sacred Valley, the Parwa Community Restaurant boosts the local economy and several spin-off microenterprises.6357B0FD-6193-43A8-A39B-457E8F0B0D46Crossing the Urubamba River……..431FFE90-2BBE-481D-9325-E6D0896C79E0……we arrive to what appears to be a thriving enterprise in a beautiful setting.CF2B05EA-0215-4EED-B36F-8ADC9056364D The place is full of tourists – each is being catered for in its own discrete space with a very efficient serving staff.3C1BE2FB-AABE-4BD2-86C5-1859DCEABFA9Drink of choice for Brunyfire is always chichi morada the sweetened Peruvian culli or ckolli purple corn grown abundantly along the Andes mountains. This is followed in quick succession by a bevy of treats – starting with a welcome dish of sesame seed, spinach and beetroot small breads accompanied with butter mixed with huacatay, known as Peruvian black mint – a kind of wild marigold.297E76FE-58DA-446D-A4C9-DD23FE95AA20Next is Parwa’s small peruvian causas (the base of which is made from a yellow potato, ground yellow ají pepper and lemon juice) with chicken and mayonnaise, trout ceviche fresh avocado and quail egg.3F063B18-1710-4F09-8767-7BD0CFEF1E28Next, tamalitos (stone ground maize mixed with lard and beef and wrapped in achira leaves*) served with a fresh salsa, followed by a vegetable soup……0CA7A816-4532-4174-AC8B-6611E1C0FC7C…….and wok-sautéed quinoa chaufa and stuffed pepper with crispy potatoes. 21C355FC-F822-4DD2-A155-6ADB2A197CCDAll served on locally made terracotta tableware. Hardly having time to digest our meal, we’re back on the bus – but not before we manage to sight some frenzied activity by these little charmers……D6C13BC1-0952-473B-9D8D-6AD95261DF67……..possibly the Blue-tailed Emerald humming bird (or Chlorostilbon mellisugus).

Back over the Urubamba River enroute to Ollytantaytambo…..71322EBC-6AE1-4A59-BB6E-23D5D97BBC81……..a tourist popular village in the northern end of the Sacred Valley of south Peru, set on the Urubamba River amid snow-capped mountains. It’s known for its Ollantaytambo ruins, a massive Inca fortress with large stone terraces on a hillside. Major sites within the complex include the huge Sun Temple and the Princess Baths fountain. The village’s old town is an Inca-era grid of cobblestoned streets and adobe buildings.**

It’s been a long day and looking ahead at the moon already clearly visible…….1DCEA9DD-FDCC-4BCA-8506-F3BCC74B24A5 …….Brunyfire is somewhat daunted by the tiers marching onwards and upwards – but just because they’re there then it’s a no brainer!91F3EA20-6E27-4E9D-B027-E743671888D880D5503B-366E-42C4-86E7-8F48456849EE5C4EA7ED-E417-461F-9DCE-2A4EE1500D17Once again, the size of the single stones that comprise The Wall of the Six Monoliths as part of the uncompleted Sun Temple, are enormous, defying comprehension as to how they were put there, and admiring the craftsmanship of the fit of these monolithic building blocks.

Feeling triumphant but knackered, we make our way back to the bus and head to our hotel for the night which we discover is over run by noisy American teenagers and their parental chaperones. The dining room is completely taken over and the harassed staff are not interested in us – the only shops open at the now late hour, only serve a few lollies and chips. After a pomegranate flavoured pisco sour (bought as a gesture of good will by one of the American dads) we manage to find an eatery still open and have a really good meal. Regardless, the rooms were comfortable, and we all ensured getting breakfast the following morning by getting an early early start on our young competitors!




*Achira (Canna edulis) is an edible and ornamental canna lily that is native to the coast and valleys of the Andes. The tubers, seeds and leaves are all edible. The tubers can be steamed and/or baked like a potato and also is made into an arrowroot like powder to thicken foods. The leaves are steamed like greens and are quite nutritious  containing 10% protein. The imature seeds are ground and made into tortillas and when mature used as buck shot, hence one of its common names “Indian Shot”. This plant was so important to native Andean cultures that it was buried with the dead in graves and has been dated back 3500 years. Pest free and adaptable to different soil types. (Source)

**More information to be found here.