Sunday, 1 June 2014

Oops, We Have a Tour!

Ahh, it felt so good to have a nice leisurely morning to take it easy. We thought that we would get ourselves organized and do a bit of shopping in the afternoon. Suddenly, the phone rang to tell us that the tour guide would be coming to pick us up in half an hour. Yikes! We scrambled to get ready, and managed to get to the lobby just in time.

We headed off to Moray Maras to see another ruin. On our way, we drove through some beautiful farms. The main crops in this area are wheat and barley grown together for feed for the animals and potatoes. It was almost time to cut the wheat/barley combination. The land is individually owned, but the farmers work together. The government has supplied them with a combine for all the farmers to share. This reminded me of how farmers used to help each other back home before farms became huge commercial enterprises.

Marianne noticed that there were only bulls in the fields, and no cows. Our tour guide Christian explained that Peru does not raise cows for milk production, as it takes too much land. The bulls are mostly used for work on the farm.

We reached Moray, which is the oldest ruins in the area, built before the Incas. This is a fascinating ruins, built in a valley rather than high up in the mountains like the other ruins that we have seen. It is also the only one built in concentric circles. It is thought that this was a research center for agriculture, with each level of the terraces offering a different micro-climate for growing. What was learned was then used in the surrounding areas to decide what would be the most successful crops.

Near Moray are Salt mines that have been made possible by an underground saltwater river. This was built by local farmers, who mine the individual plots, allowing the water to flow in, and then damming it until the water evaporates leaving the salt. This done a number of times until there is enough salt to collect, the plot is completely cleaned, and the process begun again. Each cycle takes about three weeks. Since it was a Saturday, we saw entire families working on their plots. So interesting! There were lots of stairs at both sites, which was difficult since we were still recovering from the trek. We had to keep stopping, panting like a couple of old ladies. "Wait," you may say, "you ARE a couple of old ladies!" Hmmm, well, today I sure felt like it!

My favorite stop was at the quaint little town of Moray, where they were having a fair, showing their farm products and handwork. There was an announcer calling out who was first place in each category, just like the fair back home!

Different types of corn

We got back to our hotel around 3:00, completely exhausted, but had to get packed, as we would be leaving early the next day. Since most of our clothes were at the laundry, having the Inca Trail stink washed off them, and we had literally thrown everything in our packs from the trek onto the floor so that we could fall into bed right after the trek, there was a lot to do! We got organized and treated ourselves to supper at a fancy restaurant for our last night in Cuzco.


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