18.10.2012 - 18.10.2012 20 °C
After a pretty good sleep right next to the street we realized that we marked in front of a rafting place, but luckily it is not very popular and so we could enjoy our breakfast, fresh’n up in the river & get acquainted with the dogs from across the street, who appreciated me sharing my sandwich with them.
Chinchero: Our first stop was rather half-exciting… I guess we’ve seen too many ruins already, so these ones were not that impressive.
But in Chinchero there is a nice market – luckily we were not there on the main touristy day so the market was pretty quiet and calm. Also we decided to take a break after our exhausting 10 minutes ruin-tour and stopped in a small café right across from a craftsman carving pumpkins - dried pumpkins, it had nothing to do with Halloween It was amazing and he told us the different stories he shows on the pumpkins, how long it takes him to make one, about his customers who sometimes order specific motives, etc. We usually don’t buy souvenirs, but as it was such a nice talk we wanted a memory and bought a little carved pumpkin that can be used as a bowl.
Moray: The next stop for the day was Moray – an amazing site in the Sacred Valley. And after we thought in Chinchero that we have seen enough ruins, this was definitely a proof that one can still be amazed! Already the way to get there was mind-blowing! The road we drove on was rather flat, around us orange-brown fields, beautiful green cacti on each side of the road and in the distance the beautiful landscape of the snow capped mountaintops of the Andes! We had to stop several times as we could not believe how beautiful it was.
And as we arrived to Moray we realized that not only the way to get there is worth the way but Moray itself is an amazingly beautiful place. Here the Inka built terraces in concentric circles for agricultural research. Every step would have been worth a picture stop, but we pushed ourselves to continue – from the top to the bottom, and back up including several amazing pictures-series!
In the village of Moray we decided to finally take a lunch break. But the streets were more narrow and steep than we thought, plus we got lost and needed to turn around… Perfect moment to discover that the Dodge doesn’t have the same problems with steep roads in the altitude if we use the reverse as if we use the 2nd gear!
Finally we ended at a dead-end road, where a lady was selling a lunch menu out of a wheelbarrow. So we simply stopped in the middle of the road and enjoyed a delicious 3 Soles Lomo Saltado.
Maras: After a not too long drive over a dirt road we made our way to the Salineras of Maras – the entrance fee was 7 Soles (to our surprise, as not only guidebooks, but also other people said that the entrance is almost free). After paying entrance it was still a few kilometers further and towards the end it got really steep, which made me already think about how we should ever be able to get back up there (as explained earlier, the Dodge really doesn’t like steep roads, especially not in high altitude…). But OK that's something to worry about at the time it will happen!
Finally we arrived at the bottom – at the Salineras. We parked the Dodge in a way that seemed to be good for the night and went to explore the salt-terraces. Of course right at the beginning we got tricked to buy 100gr of Salt for 1 Sole and later found out that one can simply take salt from the terraces for free – but OK. The terraces are simply amazing! One can walk directly on the salt, climb over the terraces, enjoy the breathtaking view and as I said: pick salt! Luckily we also bumped into a woman working there – she organized the channels so that the water would no run into the terraces, which were about to dry. The channeling is organized in a pretty interesting and semi-professional way: plastic bags that keep the water in the respective channels, but OK if it works – after all these salineras have been there for more than 300 years, I guess they have experience! But what was even interesting to Chris and me is the fact that now one knows where the saltwater actually comes from – well from the mountain, was the answer
Anyways, the conversation with the lady was really interesting and informative! Shortly before dusk we decided to head back to the car and prepare it for the night –after all we didn’t want everyone to see that we are about to spend the night there. Still we asked the restaurant owners if it was fine and they gave us their blessing to stay. That night we used our newly acquired gas cooker for the first time to prepare some tea and for the first time realized that boiling water in the height takes a little longer than usually…