adventures all day long on our trip into the Sacred Valley
Most Magnificent Pair: Manu and Machu Picchu
Then to Moray, which is a very old agricultural center with circular terraces where they experimented with growing even Amazonian crops at 11,000'. The terraces were in an incredible depression next to very high mountains, all snow-covered and with glaciers (over 20,000' tall --- the tallest mountains we've ever seen; even taller than DeNali!). Gorgeous setting. Then to a salt mine which turned out to be hundreds and hundreds of salt pans. Since Incan times, families have harvested salt here --- each family has about 50 pans to take care of. Water from the mountain is diverted into the pans and after 7-10 days, salt is collected. So incredibly much work! 100 pounds of salt yields $6US. And 2 kg. of potatoes yields 1.5 soles, which is about 45 cents US.
On the way, we saw people plowing fields with oxen and donkeys carrying very heavy loads. There is nothing mechanized here. The experimental station was really interesting. They even made hybrids and produced over 3,000 varieties of potatoes alone (all between the 12th and 16th centuries). Enjoyed happy hour looking out our hotel window at all kinds of ancient ruins on the surrounding mountains.
Had dinner at Hearts Cafe in Ollantaytambo --- all profits go to a non-profit organization for children and orphans of the Sacred Valley. Lots of mothers die in child birth in the indigenous Quechan villages, because the people do not believe in white man medicine.