08 July 2008

Peru: Day 2

Peru is enchanting. I can tell based on the number of photos I've taken, and the numbers of photos I haven't taken but regretted. Today was another tour of sites in the "sacred valley." The skeptic in me originally thought the "sacred" part was just a marketing ploy to make the area sound more impressive. After today's adventures I changed my mind. It's an understatement.

We started after a breakfast of quinoa and yogurt touring the ruins and town of Ollantaytambo, which would turn even the most boring person into a fan of Inca stonemasonry. The best part about visiting this site was that it represented one of the few places where the Incas whooped up on the Spanish. Sort of an Inca Little Bighorn, I guess.

In the afternoon we drove around a lot of dusty roads at high altitude, and that's where things got interesting. A whole new layer of mountains appeared, some approaching 20,000 feet. I forgot how impressive the Andes were.

Aside from the majestic mountain scenery, another highlight was visiting a salt mine, where water from a natural salty spring is channeled into small pools where the water evaporates leaving the salt behind. Evidently this activity has been going on since before Incan times, and the end result is stunning.

I don't know what this country can do for an encore, but I'm looking forward to finding out. Did I mention that Inca Kola is really, really tasty?

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