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Chincero, Moras, Ollantaytambo
Machu Picchu by Train - 7 days...well 8! :)

Flying into PeruFlying into Peru (Shahnaz Ahmed)
The day started with breakfast. Eggs were normal. There was papaya juice and pineapple juice. Had this interesting cereal called Kiwicha with strawberry yogurt. Was good!

First stop was Chincero. Again, narrow streets and lots of climbing. But before I start Chinceros, on the drive there, I saw upper Cusco City, the poorer population. Their homes are up top mountains and they have to climb their way there. Long narrow steps! Anyways, in Chinceros we visited a handicraft home. They showed us how they make their scarves. I felt raw wool of sheep and alpaca. Alpaca is much softer. The process is as follows: They take the raw wool and wash it in water and soap. Soap is from the root of a tree that is available 4 hours away. After they wash the wool, they dry it. Then they pull into yarns with their spinning wheels. Then they further strengthen yarns with double yarns spun together. They then die the yarn. They use NATURAL color. For green, they use the leaf of a particular plant and boil in water. For red, they use the blood of a particular parasite that grows on a cactus. They squeeze it and it is red. They use it as a natural 24 hours lipstick. Also they add lime to make color lighter. Some colors, they add salt to change. I think green changed to orange or something drastic. After dying the yarn, they actually weave it together and make patterns. It was very interesting. I went a little shopping crazy. I bought an alpaca sweater, shawl and hats. Then we visited the Chinceros ruins near the church and the agricultural tables. I hate to journal about it but I needed to use the rest room so badly that I couldn't focus much on the agricultural tables although they were beautiful. I was lucky there was one before heading down the street to the Chinceros market.

At the Chinceros market, they trade potatoes for vegetables. So local farmers bring their potatoes and are able to take home carrots, corn, tomatoes etc. Very neat system. Saw people drink corn beer. And the market in general was neat. They recycle everything. They make sandals out of car tires. I think they use some parts of the car to tie their animals. But market was a neat place.

Next stop was the circles of Moras. Saw the circles and ruins that were not completely excavated/renovated. And then we head on over to the Moras salt mines.

Here the river flows - 22% salt and they channel it into tables and over time the salt crystals start forming. White salt is for human consumption. Brown salt was for animals.

After salt mines we had lunch. Quinoa was this grain I liked. Had soup with it. Was very good.

And then we reached our hotel in Ollantaytambo. Smaller hotel, but still very cosy. Wifi signal is so low, it's next to impossible to connect from the room. After freshing up, we visited the ruins of Ollantaytambo. The climb was steep and difficult. I was quite out of breath between each table, but it was worth it.
Then on the way back drank some local tea with medicinal properties. It was very good.

Came back to the hotel, chilled. Then headed out to dinner. Soup and chicken/rice. Also I think Salman ordered some chicken pastry. Now, back to the hotel and time to sleep as there is a lot of walking again tomorrow. Did notice the lighting in the room is very poor, but I guess they use the rooms to sleep more than anything else.

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