No matter how much we enjoyed Peru the end of our visit was in sight. We decided to spend leisurely the day before the last so we had the time to walk around Cuzco and see two famous landmarks near the city.
The day before we had hired the driver, sent to drive us to the Ollantaytambo bus station. We offered him some independent work, apart from the company he worked for. The plan was for him to drive us to Maras and Moray. He, as you can imagine, did more than that. He was a true guide and tended to our every whim of stopping wherever we wanted. He let us enjoy all the things, which might have seemed mundane to him. The whole experience was beneficial for both parties – he improved drastically his English and we bettered our Spanish even more. The important thing is that we learned new things without the theatrics for tourists. We even bore witness to the corrupt practices on the road, which are taken as an invariable part of traffic.
We reached Moray.
The Incas have left us with one of the largest test areas for cultivating new crops. The climatic and geographical conditions around Cuzco are especially beneficial for doing agricultural experiments. Today despite the erosion and rain, which try their hardest to destroy this bio-laboratory, we find mathematically constructed circular terraces. We can only dream and imagine about what crops were planted were. And the size matters – it takes a couple of minutes to get to the center. And you are just a small dot in the middle of greenery and the leftovers of ruins.
One of the miracles is the salt-pans near the old town of Maras.
The white squares divided in terraces can be seen from afar. The water springs there are very salty. The flow is divided in different walled pools, the squares. Then the sun helps the water evaporate and the terraces are left with salt, mingled with soil. According to the time and method of collecting it, different types of salt are produced. The whole process is mostly done by hand. At all times there are people working in different sections. The work is hard and dangerous, because the terraces are slippery and you could slide down the levels. On top of that, special care must be taken in order to preserve the salt pools. Overall, it is not a nice workplace. The imagination pales compared to the array of things made of salt which are sold nearby. We were satisfied with 2-3 types of corn, sprinkled with salt.
We end our day with views from Cuzco and a new record of active trade. Within an hour 27 merchants tried to sell us things at a local restaurant.
In case you wonder what else you can experience in the area, here’s a nice list of suggestions about the Sacred Valley in Peru!
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