"Being together is like catching a sunbeam; each new memory we make reflects light hinting there is more to see and know."

June 7, 2016

Week 66 and 67 ~ The Sacred Valley

There was lots to see traveling through the Sacred Valley. It’s called that because the weather is so wonderful located between two mountain ranges. The ground is fertile and the weather perfect for farming. We visited the little town of Chinchero. While driving through town, there was a real wedding parade that was so cool to see with the bride and groom at the front with half the town marching, singing and dancing behind right down the main street. We drove up the hill to a local home/tourist stop and from that location, we could look down the hill and see the wedding celebration and hear the music in the courtyard of the little church.

 Here we were shown the ancient technique of how the llama and alpaca hair was washed with a natural root soap. It was amazing to learn how to dye the llama and alpaca hair with natural colors from plants and rocks. The baby was in the knapsack on the back of the mother. She was so cute and happy to see us when she woke up.

On our journey through the Sacred Valley, we visited the Moray archeological site which are huge experimental agriculture terraces built to take advantage of some natural depressions that sunk like funnels below the level of the hot, semi-arid plain. Each of the holes had seven terraces, a special and significant number in their belief of completeness and perfection, both physical and spiritual. As with many other Inca sites, it also has a sophisticated irrigation system.

Moray Agricultural Site

Here is a picture sample of the way of life in the Sacred Valley

Below, a beautiful canyon for salt mining called the Saltflats of Maras. Water comes out of the mountain loaded with salt and is channeled to fill thousands of small shallow pools that look like miniature terraces built onto the side of the ravine. When the salt dries, it is harvested by scraping the salt with two wood slats, carried out of the canyon, cleaned and bagged for export, all still done by hand by a combination of about 35 families.

We visited the sanctuary complex of Ollantaytambo that is one of the finest in all of Peru.  The terraces climb up the mountain like any of the great pyramids and from a distance, the whole complex is built in the shape of a llama. It was of religious and astronomical use mostly with areas for agriculture and livestock. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Inca Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region and built the town and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru in 1536, it served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance, because it was surrounded by the mountains and natural defenses. It finally fell to the Spanish in 1540.

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