06/23/2010 - 06/25/2010 80 °F
Thursday June 24th
At 10am we take a small van down the dirt road a bit to get dropped off at the bottom of a hill. Today our wall/climb is up about 45-50 minutes to salt mines which layer the lower part of this mountain side. The walk is hard, and it is hot, hot, hot in the Sacred Valley.
When we reach the salt mining area, it is amazing. The farms cut and terraced the hillside in uneven squares, which they flood and then allow to dry from the sun’s heat. The water extracts the salt from below, and as the liquid dries, all that is left is the salt crystals- which the farmers than rake and package to be shipped all over southern Peru.
We explore these mine’s for a little while, careful not to fall between the 6 inch dirt barriers we are balancing on, or over the steep cliffs edge. We then make our way down, walk down the flat dirt road for awhile and re-boarded our little van.
The van takes us to two pit spots, the first being for “Chicha”. Homes in this area are marked by long poles topped with red flags indicating their home-brewed fermented maize beer. We spot at a mall dusty farmhouse, and enter into a small room with a dirt floor, one large barrel of pale yellow liquid to taste the infamous Chicha. This, I would call, an acquired taste. In my opinion it tasted like warm vinegar mixed with corn juice…
The second spot was a busy center where we explored the even busier market area in search of picnic food, and watched a parade of religious people with statues of saints’ march near the Catholic Church. Ice cream was also a must on this warm, sunny day.