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A Journey to the Sacred Valley
Maggie Mellor

The Sacred Valley at Pisac

Coca tea in the hotel.
First glimpse of the Andes
Yogis in Lima airport at 3 am!


The ancient city of Cusco, known as the “navel of the world”, snuggles into the natural surroundings in the shape of a puma, a power animal in Incan cosmology. From above one sees the brown-tiled
roofs and terracotta walls which have a Spanish look and feel. Much of the foundation of the city is Incan, and there is enormous pride in the ancient stonework of Incan masons, who carved the
stones to fit perfectly with no granite at all.

Narrow cobbled streets, restaurants, plazas, temples and churches, make this a visitor’s delight.  Informal vendors are hard to resist! The tiny shops along the Plaza del Armas offer everything one might need: currency exchange, memory cards, postcards, alpaca sweaters, jewelry and internet connection to name a few.

Above the city, at the head of the Puma, lies the ancient Incan Ruins of Sachsayhuaman, an Incan Temple and Fortress.  Here the last battle with Spanish was lost, some 500 years ago,  and the
great Incan empire comes to an end. Many of the stones from Sachsayhuaman were taken from this site to built the magnificent Spanish Cathedral on the Plaza at the heart of the city.
I am astounded at the happy blend of Incan and Catholic culture and beliefs in the people today. I see them make food offerings to Pachmama (Mother Earth) as well as make the Catholic Sign of the Cross over their bodies.
Our group  had a purification ceremony at this Sacred Site, offering and chewing coca leaves, and blessing ourselves with the water offered from ancient waterways out of Pachamama.

Coca leaves are very much part of daily life in Peru.  All pilgrims to Machu Picchu arrive in Cusco, and so they are immediately  at 11,00 feet or 3,350 meters above sea-level. Many visitors experience light-headedness, nausea or stomach cramps. The coca herbal tea is a  wonderful anti-dote to altitude sickness.  The leaves are  ceremonially shared and chewed for stamina on the slopes of the Andes, and climbing up hundreds of ancient steps to powerful Temples.  The Quechua people, who live in the Sacred Valley use the leaves to sustain them for many days travel from remote high villages, as they carry produce into the city.

Our Home in the Sacred Valley

In the beautiful gardens of Willka Tika we began to connect more to the earth of the Sacred Valley.  We see the waterways, channeled water out of the mountains, under the road, and then to flood the gardens.
There are 7 gardens, one for each chakra. Flowers and edible plants flourish in this fertile land, well irrigated and tended with consciousness.  We eat organic vegetables, salad greens plucked just minutes before dinner, fruits from the jungles and all put together with the loving care of Antonia and her team.


The following recipe comes from Antonia’s kitchen, a favorite of our group.

Quinoa Patties with Chard
1 cup quinoa cooked

1 bunch chard finely chopped and cooked

1/2 medium red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon mint finely chopped

2 eggs,

1/4 cup milk (soya is good)

1/2 cup flour

salt and pepper

3 to 4 teaspoon oil

Beat eggs, and flour and milk.  Beat well.  Add quinoa and chard, onion and garlic and mint.  Heat oil and pour small circles to cook as patties.  Flip when golden. Yum!


Day trips to villages and nearby ruins fill our days, after a vigorous yoga practice and a delicious breakfast.

Scenery is breath-taking.
Miguel, a local musician,  can be seen in the doorway on the left. He pan-piped our group down the steep mountainous path into the village of Pisac.  We were transported out of time into an eternal beauty that will remain with us for a long time!

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu the Lost City of the Incas lies completely hidden above the Sacred Valley.  We arrive by train to the village of Aqua Calientas, and then begin the final ascent by bus to this fabled
ancient site.  We were speechless with wonder to finally see it. After the group tour we took solo journeys to hike and then to find our spot to meditate, communing deeply with Spirit.

The pilgrimage to Peru calls on a lot of physical and emotional stamina. Some were called to climb to the highest peaks, other entered the deeper caves. We all intuited where we wanted to experience this culmination of our journey.

Llama at top of the world

 In the cave of the Temple of the Moon

While our journey took us to the highest peaks, and the greatest joy.

The end Zzzzzzzzz…….

Photos by:

Fred, Paulette and Maggie

2001 Maggie Mellor





Written on December 16th, 2011 is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
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Travel with kindred spirits.