After our long and glorious nap we went as a group to visit Huinay Huayna or Winay Huayna or Winay Wayna. It's one place but there are several variations on how to spell it. That happens. The Quechua language was not a written language. Plus explorers like Hiram Bingham sometimes misheard the Quechua pronunciations. And to top it off no-one actually knows what the Inca names were anyway.
I'm going with Winay Wayna, because that's what the sign says. In Quechua that means forever young or eternal youth depending on what you are reading. This was a site I had been looking forward to visiting ever since I started researching the Inca Trail. I even emailed Michelle to ask her to check with our tour provider that our trail group would be visiting here. That was my make it or break it selection process for choosing an Inca Trail operator.
Again no-one really knows the purpose of Winay Wayna because the Inca never thought about writing their history down so that people like me could read about it 500+ years later. How unthoughtful of them. I'll forgive them. After all they built some pretty amazing structures and complexes. Yes, Machu Picchu is all encompassing, it's the climax of the Inca Trail and it eclipses all other Inca buildings. But... But Winay Wayna is impressive in its own right. If Machu Picchu didn't exist, Winay Wayna would probably be one of the, if not THE, best example of Inca genius.
Also try googling Winay Wayna. Wikipedia devotes a whole 5 sentences to it.
This is what our guide, Lizandro, told us. Winay Wayna is divided into three sections - the upper housing area and the lower housing complex connected by a giant staircase plus the agricultural terraces.
There are also a number of baths linked by fountains that stream water from top to bottom. Maybe there were used for ritual cleansing on the way to Machu Picchu. The fountains still work.
Lizandro also explained that there terraces were a Incan test lab, just like Moray in the Sacred Valley. The Incas tried out different agricultural methods and crops on each terrace like corn, potatoes, quinoa etc.
Our other guide, Nestor, believes that the rounded building with the 7 windows is the Temple of Rainbows. One window for every one of the seven colours of the rainbow. He said in the rainy season that you can see 4, 5, 6 or even sometimes 7 rainbows at once. We haven't had any rain since we've been in Peru, so our chance of seeing even one rainbow is zilch. For the locals it's a tad concerning, as it's supposed to be the rainy season. They need rain for the crops. Sorry I digress. There is some substance to Nestor's belief in the temple of the rainbow. Rainbows are important in Inca mythology. Inca Manoc Capac, first Inca ruler, used a rainbow coloured banner. Cuychi was the rainbow god. On the bad side rainbows are associated with spirits that cause harm, such as miscarriages and skin problems. Have you ever heard that you should close your mouth at the sight of a rainbow in order to prevent disease? Well now you know, close your mouth. So much for leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. Quechua believe there are serpents at either end of the rainbow!
After exploring the site for just over an hour or so it was time to head back to camp for happy hour and dinner. Happy hour was cake, cooked and iced by our cooks on site. And after dinner it was bed time. An early start for us tomorrow. Kind of sad that it's our last night. I'm not ready for it be over. While us hikers all went to bed early, apparently the porters and guides stayed up to watch the Peru vs Brasil football match. Yes, there's cell coverage up here. No Peru didn't win.