Great day of sightseeing near to Cusco. Yesterday we did a tour and it was pretty terrible, today definitely made up for it. 7am start and 7pm finish. A long day which started at Chinchero, a Spanish church beautifully painted inside, but built on the ruins of an Incan palace, the terraces and foundations still visible all around. Oh and I got to scratch some dorky looking Alpacas/llamas here 😁.
Then it was on to a place called Moray. A spot far off the road and at 3500 meters where the Incas did agricultural experiments, cross breeding new and better foods, in particular 2000 versions of potatoes! The giant rings carved into the mountain are really impressive, as was their mastery of farming techniques.
Then on to the Maras salt mines. A spring runs continuously through and out of this mountain which is high in certain minerals, in particular salt. The water runs from one single point into the 4000 salt beds carved out of the mountain. Each local family gets given salt beds depending on the number of kids they have. They don't pay for the land but sell the salt they work hard to collect.
After Maras we stopped off for a buffet lunch where I destroyed the dessert table before hitting the road again.
Next was Ollantaytambo, amazing stone terraces scaling up the mountain, each meters high running to the top like a giants staircase, and reaching what used to be a temple (knocked down by the Spanish unfortunately). There are more terraces and ruins spread around the area and the mountain across the way. Some of these stones are enormous, weighing tons, and with what must have been great difficulty the Incas brought them from a quarry at the top of an adjacent mountain. These ruins really are amazing to see.
The last stop was a place called Pisac, it used to be a big city of 10 000 built into and along the mountain top, an important step on the Incan trail on the way to the Amazon. Ancient stone terraces wind their way up to the city where the nobles lived. Here there are a lot of examples of still standing houses, so you could get an idea of what the city looked like so long ago. Carved out of the cliff nearby were dozens of holes which used to contain the bodies of nobles who died there, these were long since plundered by grave robbers.
Night was falling at this point, so Calina and I took one last selfie before the journey home, satisfied with our glimpse into the ancient civilisation which built so many incredible places. Awesome day