Let me begin by saying that Peru maybe the most beautiful country on the planet. It has something geographically for everyone; beautiful coast to the west, the valleys and mountains of the Andes, and not to mention 60% of Peru is actually a part of the Amazon Jungle. I have spent the last two days in the Sacred Valley and it’s surrounding area. Narrow, winding, roads led us to Chincherro, Maras, and Urubamba, but it was a train yesterday that took us to Machu Picchu. Our guide Marco told us to look out the window at a certain part of the train ride where the landscape literally transforms from mountainous/alpine-y type forestry to jungle at the base of these massive mountains. I have taken about 250 photos since I have arrived to Peru, so here we go with some new landscape style photography.
We visited Chincherro on Sunday, and this is a scene of the local leaders (only the men) of the town doing their Sunday service. The women pictured to the right are their wives who listen in on the service.
This ancient Huaca was used as a ceremonial space, and it is commonly thought that if the people were to wish for good crops, soil, etc. they would gather in this space, face the land, and pray for it’s fertility. In general, Huacas are used to get in touch with the spirits of the earth such as the sun, wind, stars, etc.
This church was built in the 16th century by the Spanish when they conquered Peru. They very kindly built literally on top of the Incan infrastructures which is why there is an inconsistent divide between the white Spanish pavement and Incan masonry.
This is a street made of steps in Chincherro which proved to be very exhausting on our lungs at 10,000 ft. elevation.
This local woman (from whom we asked permission before we photographed) sold us that backpack in the local market of Chincherro (only open on Sundays) where the merchants like to bargain with the customers. It is kind of like the Italian Market because they sell absolutely everything from food, fabrics, toys, etc. We learned some new words in the local language, Quechua, to help with the bargaining.
The next town we visited was Maras, which owns this salt mine. There are about 4,000 ponds in this area that uses water that has been running since 450 AD (and has never stopped since then) as a means to fill these ponds. Then in the dry season, when the water evaporates these ponds are left with crystal white residue which we know as table salt. Farmers will often carry 100 kilos of salt back to their town to sell. One more interesting fact is that if a man wants to marry a girl from the town, the family will give him a pond to take care of and depending how well he maintains it, they will give him their permission to marry her.
This Incan ruin was used for farming different crops such as corn, potatoes, and flowers. They were able to make the circles look so perfect by having a man stand in the center, attached to another man by rope who would then walk in the circles to mark them (like a human compass).
This, of course, is the famous Machu Picchu citadel ruins being overlooked by the Wyana Picchu mountain. It was discovered by some American explorers in 1911, and had only been accessible through the Inca Trail for a very long time. In more recent days, they send buses of about 60-80 people up and down every few minutes. The three major parts of Machu Picchu are known to be the worship area, agricultural area, and urban area.
We have one more (hopefully less rainy) day in Machu Picchu, but tonight we take the train back to Urubamba where we will depart for Cusco, the last visit of my Senior Project.