Pisaq is a travellers’ Venus Fly Trap: you pay a flying visit, but get stuck. The village is full of travellers who have been here for months. Some have even made it their home. After a week here, I am starting to feel that the place has trapped me too.
They say there is something different, something magical about this land around Cuzco. Inca tradition believes that Cuzco is the navel of the Earth (Qosqo, the original Quechua name of the city, means navel or belly-button), in which all life is conceived. The valley in which Pisaq sits is called The Sacred Valley, and is full of sacred Inca sites. And Pisaq itself is considered by shamans a place of particularly concentrated and pure energy. Whether you believe in the shamanic traditions of this region or not, it is difficult not to feel that there is something magnetic about the place. I’ve visited places on the trip where the landscape has been more spectacular and striking, but nowhere has felt as enchanting as here.
Pisaq itself is no more than a large village, famous for it’s market. In the evening it is a quiet and sleepy place, but by mid-morning it become inundated with day trippers from Cuzco, buying colourful ponchos and woolen goods knitted from Alpaca wool. But amongst it’s narrow alleyways you can also find small cafes, organic foods shops as well as the trappings of daily local life.
So I’m not expecting to be back on the road for a while yet. There is much to see in the Sacred Valley alone, and I have promised a friend back in UK to visit a school project in the hills outside Cuzco which her charity funds. I’m yet to explore Cuzco itself and the fringes of the Amazon, which are only one mountain range away to the east, also beckon. Right now Colombia, my declared destination, feels a long long way away…..