Day 11: Chinchero & SkyLodge
Knowing that we would be going to SkyLodge later this afternoon, we wanted an easier half-day activity in the morning. Based on another solid recommendation from Luciano, we opted for the overland tour of textiles and an archeological site at Chinchero. Our new Explora friends Ben and Keith were also leaving the hotel after lunch, so they joined us on the exploration as well. Not quite a private tour, but close enough (besides, Ben and Keith are awesome!).
We started with a van ride to the town of Chinchero, where a group of local women gave a presentation on how they wash, dye, spin, and use wool to make their products. They use sheep wool, alpaca wool, and baby alpca wool — which is the term used for the wool from the first sheering, not actually from baby alpacas.
Using a combination of all natural and local sources (leaves, salts, seeds, etc), they are able to create a variety of colors and shades to dye the wool. Then, they turn the wool into yarn and use it to weave or knit. Once the presentation was over, we were able to shop their products. We ended up walking away with 3 pairs of gloves and a blanket. The pattern on the blanket represents the Inca Trail, the mountains, and the Chakana, which is a symbol for the terraces, a compass, and the 3 worlds.
After making our purchases we drove a few minutes to the archeological site and the adobe church of the village . On the way to the entrance, we passed through shops and we finally found the style of sweater I was looking for. With the exchange rate, they were very well priced and I ended up getting two, as well as a magnet to add to our collection.
When we were done shopping, we walked around the church and viewed the mural depicting one of the battles that took place there. The leader of the battle was Mateo Pumacahua, the owner of the house that is now the spa at Explora.
We made it back at about 11:30 and we were technically checked out of the hotel (but could wait inside), so there wasn’t much we could do. There were more celebrations going on in the neighborhood, so we decided to walk around and see if we could find anything. We walked to the town square and the nearby roads, but it was pretty quiet (other than the random fireworks).
After our little backyard exploration, we went back to the hotel to wait for SkyLodge to pick us up. They arrived a few minutes early, we said goodbye to Explora, and we were on the way. At SkyLodge there were two other pairs already there. We signed our life away and learned how to use the safety equipment. Once we were all harnessed up, we starting climbing the 400 meter via ferrata.
We were basically rock climbing with pre-set handholds on a cliff overlooking the Urubamba river and the Sacred Valley. There was one section of hanging suspension bridge which was tough to start, but ended up being pretty fun.
We reached the top of the climb about an hour and a half later, in time to watch the sunset. There are three sleeping capsules and one dinning capsule. We all met in the dining capsule where we could still see the sun setting. The photographer set us up for a picture, which is when Matt surprised me and got down on one knee to propose! I said yes, by the way.
After calming down, we relaxed in the dining capsule while our multitalented guides made dinner. We talked and enjoyed the meal until we were ready to go to our sleeping capsules for the night. By this time is was dark, so we used our headlights to see where the handles and wires were. The top of each capsule has a platform to stand on and where you can access the hatch to get in. One of the guides came with us to show us how to use the capsule. All of the curtains on can be opened, and the sky was clear enough to see the stars. The moon was almost full which blocked some of the stars, but it was still a pretty amazing view — and a perfect view of the moon overhead.