The day was characterised by motion as well as mountain sickness, thanks in part to Big D’s driving. Added to which my dread of heights and the vertiginous roadsides made sight seeing a test.
|Falcon's Rest and a rest for us too!|
Falcons’ View was our first stop for a view, 12,800 feet above sea level. And it was extraordinary to contemplate, for a moment, the magnificence of these wonderful mountains several of which were capped by cloud. I made a quick drawing and we were off again! ‘Hey ho Domingo!’
THE SALT MINES OF MARAS
Though not underground these comprise about four thousand pans through which water flows and is dammed. I stayed on the bus; the others got out, looked down and took pictures it must have been a thousand feet drop. The salt is supposedly the best in the world, much of which is exported to Japan.
The botanical circles of Moray were a curious place. Set in a valley, it is a series of concentric terraces. Built by the Inca people to cultivate crops and see how they grew at certain heights and in certain growing conditions and soils. This was, I suppose, a sort of 12th century crop research institute. I of course was careful not to get to close to the edge of the viewing platform.
|Inca crop research station|
All around us now was a warm and softer landscape and a very fertile looking soil, a deep red-brown. Wonderful fields and trees shaped by the wind. And everywhere is the protective circle of the Andes.
|Tourists, how do they do it?|
Ollantaytambo is a village in the Sacred Valley set on the Urubamba River. We are now in the south Peru. It is oldest Inca settlement and on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The site sits above the small town. The narrow streets of the town are infested by tourism. Heaven knows what it will be like a few years from now. There were huge coaches in the narrow streets marshaled by a curious traffic control system: This operated by policemen brandishing ‘stop’ and ‘go’ signs, somehow they make it work.