Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Salt Terraces and the Alien’s Launchpad

I love salt. I drizzle salt in fries, egg, peanuts and what-nots.

It affects my cooking. Sometimes my “dash” of salt results to a teaspoon. ^____^ My hot chocolate becomes a salted hot chocolate.

Throwback photo. Merrily sprinkling the salt.

Salt is the reason I wanted a stop in Ollantaytambo.

Eduardo, my guide from the previous day offered this tour of the three spots for 150 soles. I know I could have haggled for something less but we already had a rapport. I read that you can haggle for as low as 120 soles. Booking via the hostel costs an arm and leg and I did not have the time (nor patience) to navigate using public transportation – the combi (waaaaay cheaper).

The combi and their version of tricycle

I just told Eduardo that I have to be back at Ollantaytambo before my train going to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town) left at 3:37PM that day and I had to be at the train station 30 minutes before departure time. 

Eduardo overtaking the bus

I think the ride to Salineras took almost an hour. We stopped along the way. I asked Eduardo to stop along the way. He was also taking calls from his phone and I just didn’t feel too comfortable when someone drives while taking on the phone, even if the roads are clear.

Photo break.

The view is mine mine mine

The landscape reminded me a lot of the Savannah in Mount Bromo. The rolling hills and the blue sky gave a perfect backdrop in every angle.

Entrance fee in Salineras: 10 soles per person. They collected the 10 soles at the entrance. No charge for the driver.

The mountain parted to give way for a road

From  a distance, the world looks blue and green, and the snow-capped mountains white. 

See that piece of white land?

White terraces. Salt terraces. Oh my. 

I didn’t hire a guide for this place. I didn’t think it was necessary. 
Your camera, sublock and sunglasses are necessary. I could not look at this beauty with my sunglasses in place. The "shine" is a lot for the naked eye. 

I managed to snap a couple of photos anyway. Using my monopod. I’ll keep my soles and hone my monopod-handling skills.

No improvement though.

Dear monopod: Someday, I will manage you
 I can always rely on friendly travelling couples to take my photo. Quid pro quo.

Eduardo advised that I should allot forty minutes. Getting up and down the place already took at least 15 minutes a time  - and that was not a leisurely place. If you are not running on a deadline, you could take 20-25 minutes getting down the salineras – per way. Then probably another 30 to 45  minutes exploring the place. There’s not much to do anyway but just take photos. I did not bother walking around. I was getting toasted anyway.
Salt pans

I think I spent 50 minutes in Salineras. I wish I would've spent more time though. A extra 10 or 15 minutes just so I wouldn't have felt so rushed  by the deadline. Not to mention I had to do a quick toilet break (toilet fee: 1 sole).

Off to the quiet town of Maras. I say quiet because I don’t want to say boring. Oh there I said it. Boring.


So moving on. 

The sheep were more interesting that Maras

After 30 more minutes of driving, we arrived in the Area 51. Oh no, that’s not in Peru. I Moray I mean. Where E.T.’s space ship landed. I presented my still-valid General Touristic Ticket when the car entered the compound.


E.T. Phone home.

As pretty as these concentric circles are, the view gets old pretty fast. I walked down the trail to encircle the circle.

There were other spots as well in Moras. But they were just meh spots. My interest for these ruins peaked already when I visited Pisac Ruins and Ollantaytambo. 


I guess I got bored quickly with the sights. So we had enough time to go back to Ollantaytambo and I had time to have a leisurely lunch before finding the train going to Machu Picchu town/ Agua Calientes.

Shopping area in Moray

I was extremely glad I allotted time for the Sacred Valley. The highlight of the trip was Salineras, albeit being a short visit. I was glad I was able to squeeze in this part of the Sacred Valley in my trip. If you are strapped for cash but you have time, then you can explore these areas at a cheaper rate. 

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