05 December 2011

Cusco, Peru: Tipon and Pikallacta and Saylla

Yesterday, Christine and I set out to make a gastronomic and historical exploration of the area east of Cusco. Our first stop was Tipon, which is famous for both cuy and ruins. For those of you who don't know, cuy is guinea pig, which is a delicacy in Peru. Christine and I split one, and while it wasn't bad (it kind of tasted like baked chicken), I'm not sure the dish is going to catch on in the US anytime soon.

After our lunch of guinea pig, we walked up to the ruins of Tipon—actually, we walked about halfway, then a lovely Cusquenian couple stopped and offered us a ride, so we rode the last 2 km. Tipon is the Incan site that is famous for its irrigation; unlike many other places, here, the irrigation channels were dug partially above ground, so they make a beautiful cascade down the terraces. And, as you can see in the photo above, they still work!

The view of the Sacred Valley was also pretty spectacular from here. We were lucky to get such a good day during rainy season!

After Tipon, we caught a bus and a taxi further east to the ruins at Pikallacta, which is actually a pre-Incan site. These ruins were built by a people called the Wadi, and as you can see from the picture, have a different, more primitive stonemason style than the Incans.

This place was also interesting because it really felt like the remains of a city. The red walls and dirt were laid out in rows, which appeared to be the remnants of ancient streets. I really want to do some research to find out what went on here—it intrigues me.

Our final stop of the day was Saylla, which is a small town on the way back to Cusco that is famous for chicharron—deep-fried pork skin. Much to our delight, they don't only fry the skin of the pork, but also the meat, so we split a delicious (and giant!) meal of pork skin, pork, potatoes, corn, and popcorn. It was a definite high note for both of us during our Sacred Valley exploration. Yum!


grandma feldt said...

Dont know if I would have eaten the food! Love ya

linda feldt said...

can really tell the difference in workmanship. Food looks interesting. Be safe love & prayers mom