Allillanchu! That is Quechua for hello. Quechua is the native language of the Incas before the Spaniards arrived in 1532.
We had a nice breakfast at the Libertador Hotel. I had watermelon with sugar and prickly pear cactus root. It tasted like the white part of watermelon, but it was red and had tons of seeds. We have been trying many different foods that you don’t eat in America. For example, they served alpaca, llama, and guinea pig. (I didn’t try the guinea pig because they are pets in America.) Another thing that was quite interesting was that Lijah let me try a little calamari (or octopus). It tasted like fish and was purple with tentacles.
After breakfast we boarded the bus and we drove through the Andes making a few stops along the way. We took pictures and stopped at the marketplace in a small village. The market was filled with people in colorful costumes who were there for a weaving contest. I bought a woven camera strap and an alpaca breeder mask. The mask is part of a costume that people wear in the dance to get the season off to a good start. Most of the masks are white with a cross and a stripe on the forehead. But there are many different types of these masks. They have cool colors, horns, beards, and faces. If you look at one from far away they look like a ski mask or socks with many colors.
Next we went to Ollantaytambo (Inca sun temple). We went on a hike to see an astronomical site, an observatory, a storehouse, and an altar. There is a rock (or hill) that has a peak that lines up with the sun on the summer solstice. There are symbols in the mountain that mean too many things to list. They made rojo (red) paint from cochile, which is a beetle that is made into a paint that many Renaissance artists also used for red. An important symbol is the Incan cross that can only be used by smart people. The Incans used the systems that the Egyptians used to move rocks!
Next we went on a train to to Agua Caliente (hot water). I saw a flycatcher and I noticed how it changed from dry to wet in the forest.
After settling in we saw some spectacled bears. The bears look like a cross of a koala and a black bear with markings that look like glasses. That is why they are called spectacled bears.
On the way back from dinner Elliot and Lijah found a leech on a leaf on the side of the path. It was a South American forest leech.
All in all it was a jam-packed day in Peru!!