Category Archives: Cusco

Inca Pisac

Today was amazing! The Castilla family invited me out to see Pisac on a glorious Sunday morning.  I had been to Pisac before, a quaint town with a wonderful market.  However I was in for a surprise for little did I know what was atop the hill behind the town!  Inca Pisac!

The interesting thing about the Pisac ruins is that despite being the largest Inca ruins in the whole Sacred Valley, little is conclusively known about them and much is speculation, therefore I have not even attempted to summarise all I have read.   One thing is for sure – the Inca terraces are still in use today.  I find this quite amazing as they possible date back to the mid 1400’s.


The ruins themselves are incredible.  Juan told me there were two eras at work in the masonry, which was quite evident in the style of the rock work.  The skill is quite something and hard to comprehend how they could make the joins in the rock walls so precise in the earlier work.  I kept thinking I wished my brother William could be here – he would appreciate it even more!

The buildings and paths were steeply built into the mountain, cleverly incorporating large boulders and the natural shape of the mountain.  The views were spectacular and around every corner was something else to marvel at.

Looking across the valley from the ruins are holes scattered through the mountain side. These are tombs; thousands of them. The sad thing about looking at the holes is the knowledge that the Spaniards raided each and every one of them!  The Incas believed the dead could take processions with them into the underworld so they would bury their loved ones with treasures.

Here are some of the many photos I took. If I was asked what was a “must see” in Peru then I would have to say Pisac ruins is a very close second to Macchu Piccu! It is simply amazing……

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Filed under Cusco, Peru, Places of historical interest

Tikapata School in Huayoccary

My friend Harry from Markham College arranged for me to visit Tikapata school in Huayoccary in the Sacred Valley.  It is about 20 minutes from Calca and 10km before Urubamba.  It reminded me a bit of both the Green School in Bali and the Montessorri school that I attended in primary school.  It is in a beautiful setting, the kids are all happy and they get to plan their projects and have a say in decision making in the school. Continue reading


Filed under Cusco, Service Projects

The wonderful Castilla family in Calca

I have been so fortunate to have met a wonderful family here in Calca who wanted to help me with my Spanish in return for me helping them with their English. The parents are Miriam and Juan and their two children Rodrigo, 12 and Stephanye, 18.  Stephanye studies Economics at university in Cusco and returns home on weekends. Juan has taken early retirement from his banking job and Rodrigo goes to school here in Calca. He is very cute, very serious in his studies and learns flute from Valerio – hence the contact.

It is so heartwarming to meet these people and spend time with them. They are so happy and Juan is a joker who keeps everyone laughing. He and Miriam seem like newly weds and Juan is obviously enjoying having so much time to spend with his family.  They have a menagerie and he breeds roosters (and I am not brave enough to ask what for as I know I wont like the answer).  I am not sure how many dogs they have, but two are particularly friendly and playful. I have also seen several cats.  Yesterday I discovered some cows around the back of the house.

Our language sessions have been really funny as my Spanish is pretty hopeless, although I am beginning to understand more and more.  It helps that people speak far more clearly here than in Lima.  The family’s English is also pretty funny as they can understand a lot when written down but they don’t understand my English pronunciation and I don’t understand theirs!  Spending this time with them has made me realize just how stupid the English language is! There is just far too much inconsistency!  I now have renewed admiration for all speakers of English as a second + language.   I keep coming across more and more ridiculous elements that I was unaware of, as I attempt to assist the family in their spoken English.  At least in Spanish the pronunciation is consistent, (which barely makes up for the verb conjugations!)

 On one day the family took me for a drive to Urco, which is practically next door to Calca.  There was a round structure on a hill that was used by the Incas to store grain.  Next to this was a field of flowers.   I will let my photos tell the rest.


Filed under Cusco