Pisaq is a small village in the Sacred Valley, about 30km away from Cusco in Peru. Above the village high up in the mountain at over 3000m is the Pisaq Inca ruins, said to be the second most sacred site after Machu Picchu.
I heard Pisaq has a famous Sunday market so I specifically went on a Sunday. You can go to Pisaq on a guided tour, or grab a taxi from Cusco but I figured that would be no fun and a bit touristy. So I caught a collectivo (shared vans) along with the locals. The collectivos are normally quite old and crammed with passengers. From memory they carry about give or take 12 passengers, but I'm pretty sure we were at least 5 people and 1 dog over the limit. Despite the load, the driver drove really fast speeding alongside the valley. The road is like this one in the photo, cutting into the side of the valley, only for most of the journey it's a bit higher up than this from the base of the valley.
Pisaq 星期日的市集很有名，所以我挑這天去。從庫斯科到 Pisaq可以參加當地一日遊或自己坐計程車也可。但我覺得這樣不夠挑戰性，決定跟當地人一樣坐小型公車。 小型公車一般都比較舊，而且會擠滿乘客。從記憶中每台車載客應是大概十二人，但我很肯定車上至少多出五位乘客跟一頭狗狗。 雖然小型公車載滿乘客，但司機仍然會在山谷邊的馬路飆車。 馬路就像照片中一樣，在山谷邊橫切出一條小小的車路。但沿途上的路比相片中見到的離開山谷底還要高。
Not long after leaving Cusco, we were coming out from a bend when the driver slowed down, and I mean really really slow. I looked out of the window and saw a couple of police cars by the roadside. Bits of car debris were scattered along the road. A bit further on, there was a big gap in the flimsy barrier, a woman was crying hysterically, running towards the edge of the road to the valley. Someone was frantically pulling her back. Was she the mother, the wife, daughter or sister? I will never know, but I was sure she'd just lost someone very dear to her. Three years on, that image is still firmly imprinted in my mind.
離開庫斯科沒多久，正當司機駛過一個急灣後，他突然慢慢駛下來。我從窗往外看，見到有兩輛警車停在路邊， 地上有車輛的零碎配件。 再往前看，單薄的欄桿斷開，當中有個大罅隙。 我見到有一位女生在痛哭，還想往路邊的山谷撲出去，另外有人趕快把她拉回來。我不知她究竟是別人的媽媽，太太，女兒還是姊妹呢？ 但我肯定她那天失去一位至親的人。 事發雖然已三年，但這一幕還深深印在我的腦海中。
As soon as we passed the scene, the driver continued to zoom on as if nothing had happened. I guess that's life here. About half an hour later we arrived at Pisaq Village and I wandered over to the Sunday market.
THE MARKET 逛市集
I wandered around as I love markets, and wanted to see what I could get for lunch. Most of the stalls were selling fruit, and food which were unfamiliar to me. Looking a bit lost, a driver from a local tour group recommended these corn bread. I bought a couple and some fruit and took it up to the mountain for lunch later on.
我很喜歡逛市集，順便看看有什麼可以買來午餐。 大部份的攤檔都在售賣水果，另外很多都在賣一些不知是什麼的食物。 在一片迷茫之中，我遇到一名當地旅遊團的司機，他很熱心的向我推薦粟米麵包。 我買了兩條和一些水果帶到山上午餐。
I'll tell you now, when going on holiday, always listen to the locals' recommendations. The cornbread looked simple and bland, but because it was wrapped in corn husk it was still warm and absolutely delicious.
Anyway, from the market, it was either a 90 minute trek or a short taxi ride to the ruins entrance up the mountain. It was nearly noon time and after the little drama on the way in, I opted for a taxi.
In my typical not doing any homework attitude, I didn't read up about the Pisaq ruins beforehand. That's not being disrespectful, its just my laziness as usual. I subsequently found out the site has four residential areas. With this being a citadel site, it includes various types of buildings and structures each with its own purpose.
以我一向事前不做功課的遊客，我對遺址認識很少。 這不是我對它不敬而是出於我的惰性。 為寫這帖子，我有做功課。發覺原來遺址是在山上的整座古城，分四個區域，有多棟不同功能的建築。
THE TEMPLE 神殿
Here's is the Temple Complex. The Sun Temple is in the centre, that's the only structure which is sort of roundish in this complex.
And here's a closer look at the Temple Complex. Considering this was built over 500 years ago, it's really amazing how the Incas managed to cut the stones in such straight lines so they all fit together perfectly.
THE RESIDENTIAL 住宅
These are some of the residential complexes. They're not as finely built as the Temple Complex, but structure wise just as challenging especially those built on the side of the cliff.
Agricultural terraces are an important feature from the Inca times. I came to Pisaq before trekking the Machu Picchu and was absolutely stunned with this. Having now seen both, and many others, each and every one of them is just as amazing.
The most amazing feature at the Pisaq ruins are these two tunnels. This one is about 3 meters long, no big deal, but you have to remember this site was built over 500 years ago. So how did the Incas bore the tunnel when they didn't have any iron or steel tools?
And if you find that mind boggling, there's a second tunnel which is 15 meters long! This is the entrance and inside is only wide enough for one person to pass through.
I went in first, not because I was brave but because my other half usually walks behind me in case anything happens. Anyway, after what seem like eternity, but I reckon it was probably only about 20 steps I was absolutely petrified. It was pitch dark inside, I couldn't see anything ahead of me. I had no idea how high the tunnel was so had to keep my arms above my head all the time. Then I was scared I might brush into something I didn't want to touch. I said I wanted to turn around, but that wasn't possible as we vaguely heard noises behind us. I had no option but to man up (or girl up in my case) and soldier on. Venturing into the unknown is so scary, but as they say you'll always see light at the of the tunnel. Boy! I've never been so happy to hear and see that!!!
我首先進隧道，並不是我勇敢而是另一半理應可以隨後保護我。 走了好像很久，但其實大概只有20步，我開始很很害怕。 前面漆黑一片，伸手不見五指。 我不知隧道有多高，只好一直把雙手舉高放在頭頂。 但這樣做又怕不知會碰到甚麼，更加害怕。 我向另一半要求想回頭走，但聽到遠處後面有聲音，原來其他遊客已進入了隧道。 這個時候唯有硬著頭皮往前走。 前路茫茫，步步驚心，這條路好像一直沒盡頭。終於前面不遠處見到一道光線， 馬上放下心頭大石!!
HOME RUN 下山
The last part of the trek was walking along these rather narrow footpaths, round the mountain, and downhill back to Pisaq village and the market again.