I am undeniably, a market fiend and love nothing more than a good wander up and down the aisles and nooks and crannies of village marketplaces. With more ruins on the agenda ( I like to compare) we thought it a good idea to kill two birds with one stone and combine the two.
Pisaq is only a collectivo and bus away from Ollytaytambo. Once again, a notable spot for important ruins and amazing agricultural terracing, it also is one of the major market destinations. Rather than fight through people whilst trying to rummage for a good bargain, we set off early from Ollytaytambo catching a empty collectivo(well it was when we first got on) Most of the village people were heading the same way though I would imagine they were going for some of their staples as opposed to my textile leanings. We were rewarded with a very comfortable wander through the aisles – only starting to fill up as we finished. Like probably a lot of the markets throughout the world where travellers descend, much of the market contains stalls and stalls of identical goods. Looks interesting at the start but by the end you are quite over brightly coloured acrylic peruvian blankets. Still, having said that, like most markets across the world, amongst this you can still find interesting and original goods rather than mass produced. And the colours and smells are amazing. I liked the vegetable and fruit section of the market. Colours everywhere, a mix of travellers and locals and those down from the highlands to try and sell their potatoes in order to buy their sugar and rice. Dye powders being weighed, and locals cramming themselves around the makeshift tables set up for a community version of Sunday lunch.
Having purchased another textile in order to carry our textiles – we stopped for a brief lunch and recharge before hunting down a taxi to take us to the top of the ruins. Whilst you can walk up from the market it is a solid couple of hours to reach the top travelling the very steep route. Great training for the Incan Trail they say – or maybe that’s the other way around. Anyway, with more steep climbing on our travelling itinerary, not to mention our purchases in tow, we opted to catch the taxi and save our energy for the huge ruins themselves (which still had enough ups and downs to tire you out) and the long steep descent back into town. The huge agricultural terracing was as expected – huge and amazing and by the time we had wandered and inspected all the way to the top and around we were pretty tired – with probably just enough energy in our steps to focus and manouvre around some of the trickier narrow sections. And we were serenaded all the way down by a flute player. Not an uncommon occurrence I may add. And as common as it is, I have to say there was something a little magical about descending, with the view that surrounds, and the sun, and a cool breeze with the haunting tunes. The young lad was working the haunting tunes and I knew that at some point I would be approached to purchase. Whilst I couldn’t purchase(it was wood) I had kept some notes to the side for his busking efforts.
Our luck in the morning with empty collectivo and buses was not to continue. On the return journey,I swear, each stop I thought they couldn’t possibly let any more people on. At one point, I had to stand on one tippy toe leaning over someone in order to let another pass. Unfortunately, I didn’t regain the ground for that foot for quite a while and the only reason I didn’t fall down with my one legged, tippy toe leaning stance …….there was nowhere to go!
I write this all with a smile on my face. Just another day at the market!