Our final day in Urubamba included a traditional barbecue. Earlier in the day, a pit was dug and lined with rocks. A wood fire was started under the rock pile, and allowed to slowly smolder to warm the rocks and ground. Later, the food was added around the rocks, which included beef, pork, chicken, potatoes, corn, and bean pods. Cloth and long grasses covered the food, then a mound of dirt was added to contain the heat.
It was interesting to watch the removal of the dirt and grass, and see the cooked food emerge from the pit. Per Andean tradition, we were told that we must eat with our hands – no utensils, and no water. We drank a corn beer that was prepared 4 days earlier for this meal. A minty tea was prepared to complete the meal and ease digestion, we were told.
The food tasted great, and it was fun to experience this local tradition. Our hosts spoke Quechua, a language spoken throughout the Andes and the language of the Inca Empire. It was a wonderful way to cap our stay in the Urubamba Valley.