We had already gone over our ‘time budget’ for Peru, but we couldn’t resist the pull of the Sacred Valley, framed by it’s magnificent snow capped peaks.
It would be impossible to take a bad photo of the Salineras de Maras, as we wandered through in the fading light of the day. Salt has been farmed here since pre Incan times, and it all starts with a salty water spring nearby. The water flows through narrow channels down into hundreds of handmade drying ponds. The colour of the salt varies once it has been collected. Apparently it takes more time and skill to get the pure white salt. Despite this, I thought that the salt stained pink by the red dirt from the valley was the prettiest.
And if this place wasn’t already cool enough, they also let us camp in the carpark without batting an eyelid. “Si, es normal“. They just locked the bathroom, telling us it was fine to water the garden.
Mornings with THIS guy, and THAT hair.
Another visual delight in the Sacred Valley is the agricultural ruins of Moray. These massive circular depressions are thought to be the site of agricultural experimentation during Incan times. The different levels would have provided different growing conditions. Walking around, it definitely felt hotter down the bottom, which was also much more sheltered from the wind.
So pretty much, it was a big Incan veggie garden. Although it looked stunning covered in grass, we couldn’t help but wish that it was still packed with fruit and veggies.
If it isn’t already blatantly obvious, we have loved the food in Peru. This lady, with her delicious road side treats, made our morning. Street food hasn’t been this good since Mexico, and unlike Mexico, we haven’t been sick once.
Rocoto Relleno and our favourite…aji salsa. Aji might be the best flavoured chilli pepper of all time.
On the recommendation of my mum and dad, i.e. “if you go there we’ll shout you something”, we visited one of the weaving cooperatives in Chinchero. It was so much nicer than going to the markets, which are amazing, but are a complete sensory overload. We were able to see the ancient process the ladies still use to naturally dye the wool, and chat to them about their amazing work. They have a judging system, where they grade each others finished products before sale.
The lady on Mark’s right made this one. Judged to be first class work.
It was time to finally leave Peru. What an amazing time we have had here. They really have it all. Amazing desert landscapes, magnificent mountain ranges and mystical cloud forests. Old and new exist together here, creating a rich and interesting culture. Most importantly though, the food has been a revelation. From the fancy restaurants to roadside stands, Peru has delighted our tastebuds every step of the way.
Posted from La Paz, Bolivia.