Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

MAR-APR 2013

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Te Maras salt mines. A Paso horse show accompanied lunch at Wayra Ranch. lush tropical environs in which we���d found ourselves just a day earlier. After breakfast we were reunited with Rossio, our guide in Cusco, for a full day of exploring the Sacred Valley. Our frst stop was Inca Pisac, an impressive and expansive set of hillside ruins that encompass military, religious, and agricultural structures. Clear societal and functional delineations, evidenced in the layout and styles of architecture, provide a comprehensive overview of daily Inca life. Pisac is considered the regional center of artisan silver jewelry production, and in the colorful, bustling market, Rossio steered us to the most reputable artisans (should you be so inclined a two-hour hike leads from the aforementioned ruins to the market). An abundant al fresco lunch of grilled meats, empanadas, and the like served family style at Wayra Ranch was accompanied by the thundering hooves of Paso horses who ���danced��� to the rhythm of ���la merinera���, the national dance of Peru, in unison under the direction of their Peruvian caballeros. Te exhibition culminated in a beautiful duet between one of the riders and a lovely senorita. A long trip down a dusty dirt road led to the Maras salt ponds, operated communally by local villagers since pre-Inca times. Te intricate mosaic of several hundred collecting pools, terrace down the hillside along with a carefully controlled fow of water from a nearby natural salty spring. As water evaporates from, the salt crystals form on the inner surfaces of the pond���s wall and foor. When water fow is shut of, the pond goes dry, the salt is harvested, and the process repeats itself. The most amazing spectacle is observing men of small stature hauling bags of salt weighing in excess of 100 pounds up the hillside, balancing on pond sidewalls so narrow I had trouble staying upright unencumbered! As we headed to the day���s fnal destination, the Moray Incan Ruins ��� a series of enormous concentric terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is 98 ft deep, creating a temperature diference of as much as 27 degrees from top to bottom ��� our driver took a number of ���shortcuts��� on dirt paths through miniscule towns way off the tourist grid. Children in school uniforms herding sheep, sleeping babies wrapped in slings while their mother���s tended to the felds, and a man with a time worn face taking an afternoon siesta in the doorway of his adobe home ��� these moments of exploration provided a memorable glimpse of a robust culture whose daily lives are so diferent from my own. sl Sources Kensington Tours, kensingtontours.com, 888.903.2001; Palacio Nazarenas, palacionazarenas. com; Hiram Bingham Train, perurail.com; Hotel Sumaq, machupicchuhotels-sumaq.com; Hotel Rio Sagrado, riosagrado.com; Wayra Ranch, wayrasacredvalley.com slmag.net 45

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