Travel

GOING AROUND VALLE SAGRADO, DAY 2: MORAY, SALINERAS AND CHINCHERO

We wake up early as usual, here sun is high at 6.30 a.m. Jorge walks us for some minutes towards the archeological site of Moray. He’s a communication expert from Cusco who, tired of the city life, retired in the country to stay close to his mother and build a hostel and camping. But no hurry, we will never see him in a hurry.
The path towards Moray is enchanting. It goes through fields of golden corn and quinoa and never too far from the high mountains surrounding this place. The highest is called Verónica due to the legend that tells about the first conquer of the summit. They say the first stepping on it was a woman, called Verónica. And so the second time.We only cross some donkeys and peasant. We feel like we are privileged because when we get to the ruins there are a couple of taxis from Cusco transporting tourists as sheeps.
We visit the scenographic round terraces used by the Incas to experiment colture and plant genetics. Peruvians are re-building them using the same techniques. They are actually impressing. From there we go back to Maras, we walked a lot but there’s more to come. We take our backpacks and stand some minutes listening to Mother for a last session of chats. And we finally leave heading to the salineras. The path is descending but dusty and sun hits hard. But also this time we are all alone along the trails of Valle Sagrado.
Salineras are terraces of pools where the salty water is collected and then ,eat evaporate to get the salt. All that inside a small green valley. A unique spot!
Here we find endless tourists with their selfie sticks and negotiating craftwork (there is even a fashion shooting) but we are lucky, again. Initially we look for a passage to the highway but taxis are too expensive and tourist buses don’t want us. What can we do? Keep walking. Path is only known to locals and few agencies organizing bike tours. The peculiarity is that passes close to the Salinas, a tourists free part of them where we get to see the true and actual work. Pools are owned by the community, every family has around 15 and exploit them to get salt and sell it to a big company. The floor is made of clay, than it is covered with water and sponge it has evaporated they get the first choice white salt, then the pink one, due to the presence of clay, and then the brown one. Each one has its own purpose.
The path keeps going until reaching the low valley, passing through villages where we ubicate ourselves on,y thanks to the instructions of the kids playing in the street (once again we are grateful to Spanish) and finally reach the highway.
Here we find a rotten colectivo which is supposed to take us to Chinchero, our next destination. The car is o,d but goes fast through the valleys when, suddenly, it stops. Gasoline is over. We negotiate the price e and get down, puzzled, in the middle of nothing, trying to understand what to do when we see that same car starting the engine and going away… wtf.
After many minutes waiting a kind man collects us and take us to Chinchero, for a small price. Here Blabla car is natural, it is connaturate to the same concept of traveling. If you have to go from point A to point B why not helping someone on the road and supporting economically your trip?
Before visiting stones we eat. Sopita, second, drink. The classic.
Chinchero is a very beautiful place, with big terraces and homes ruins. Locals are restructuring it following the same slow old techniques. The Spanish built their church right on the ruins, and it is pretty. Painted wood, gold and mirrors. It’s almost sunset know and the low light and a upcoming storm makes the place magic.
We have to start moving to go back to Cusco. We wait for ha,f an hour on the road but no colectivo is found, and the few leaving to the city are full or locals advance us. Eventually a man decide to help us and keeps two places for us on a car. We reach Cusco super tired. But we win the Valle Sagrado, we walk for more than 35 km, up and down. Trekking shoes are aver more tired than us.
Hot shower at the hostel is a mirage. Though we are proud of our legs. In the last months they re-learned what is fatigue, far from a desk or home’s couch. Tonight spaghetti to celebrate!

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