Moray, Maras, Paso Horses!
After an incredible day at Machu Picchu yesterday, today we stayed a little closer to home and explored the Maras salt pools and Moray circular terraces.
At Maras, thousands of salt pools are filled by a tiny salt-laden spring-fed stream running down from inside the mountains. The water is warm, and it trickles down into the upper salt pools and is then diverted as required in various directions to fill adjacent pools. The water evaporates and the salt is then harvested. Depending on the stage of salt harvesting, the pools range in colour from pure white to rose coloured pink, creating a spectacular display covering the hillside. We walked alongside the pools with our guides, Omar and Tomas, and on the way out we visited the local kiosks and purchased some salt! The whole operation is owned and run by the local community so this is a good style of tourism!
We also stopped in the nearby village of Maras, and visited the town square where local ladies were selling wicker baskets, and some where cooking up a nice pork stew. Some of us tried the local Chicha drink, a non-alcoholic fermented beverage derived from grains, maize and fruit. From Maras we continued to the pre-Inca terraces of Moray. This impressive formation of seven almost perfect circles, and seven semi circles provide a temperature difference of up to 15°C, allowing a variety of crops to be grown and harvested. The narrow roads to get there were expertly navigated by our drivers, despite some amusing stand-offs between cars and buses!
Heading back towards our hotel, we stopped for lunch at Wayra, a famous local restaurant set in beautiful gardens and grounds. Here we were treated to an array of local dishes and some spectacular desserts before some entertainment .... a horse show! Four horses and horsemen treated us to a Paso Horse show to music, and a couple of dancers presented the marinera, as we saw in Cusco. This remarkable show was followed by a less remarkable demonstration featuring Richard on a horse! Thankfully Paul and Hilary joined in, and the quality of the impromptu Furlongs Horse Show improved dramatically!