When our German friends wake us up, soon in the morning, we begin the travel from Vilcabamba towards the frontier between Ecuador and Peru. Our route, passing through the village of Zumba, follows an off the beaten track. After a pass that dominates the valley of Vilcabamba, we begin a long descent through the mountain jungle of the Podocarpus National Park. The bus makes frequent stops, often in ghost villages, but there are always people who wait for our arrival; shortly we are swept up by a mass of people, goods and animals. After approximately 6 hours of travel we reach Zumba, the first half of our itinerary. Nearly 2 hours of camioneta separate us from the Peruvian border, but a bridge swept in a blaze by the river forces us to wade: the adventure gets more and more interesting! It’s already evening when we get our passports stamped, by the international bridge of La Balsa. 2 more hours of colectivo (dispelling any doubts of other travelers: 12 soles, negotiable till 10) and we arrive in San Ignacio, tired but happy… We leave Ecuador, a very small Latin American country that has given us many unforgettable experiences and the hope that there can be a future, when people have the courage to fight for their own rights. Now Peru, a giant for beauty and history, the crib of the Inca civilization.
Getting to Cusco when the last rays of sun lapping the weary slopes of the valley of the Incas is one of the dreams of every traveler. Cusco is a living testimony of the countless stories of glory and defeat that were woven into the long night of the five hundred years. Breathtakingly beautiful, proud as its indigenous population, but then defeated and disfigured for punishment. Now again a crossroad for pilgrims from around the world, coming to admire the past.
The sunlight beats long adventurous days, moving along the land of the Incas, from Cusco to Abancay, passing through the spectacular ruins of Pisac, less visited but not less spectacular than the nearby mysterious Machu Picchu. The Sacred Valley of the Incas is the valley of the Urubamba River in the Peruvian Andes and was the heart of the Inca civilization. The valley was appreciated for its special geographical and climatic qualities, for its natural resources and for the production of corn. The ruins of Pisac give a feeling of ownership of the mountain, thrilling extreme slopes, vertigo; these stones breathe a nearly thousand-year history, unparalleled perfection, unique harmony.