Yesterday we took a cab from Ollantaytambo back to Cusco stopping along the way at Moray, which was an ancient Incan agricultural laboratory, and the ancient Incan salt pools seen above. Usually they are a brilliant white, but it has been raining and the soil washing down from the mountains has turned them yellow. The salt pools were created some 600 years ago and are still used today. The local farmers provide the labor on a collective basis each contributing a couple weeks of work every year--in Incan style.
After we went to our hotel in Cusco and tempered the symptoms of elevation sickness with the local remedy, coca tea. Then we took a tour of Cusco which is an ancient Incan city itself and a UNESCO world heritage site. There are hundreds of ruins scattered about and around the city; we hit a handful. We met a lovely Irish woman (who has unfortunately had to work in Tennessee for the last year) on the tour and had dinner together at a great restaurant with the best pisco sours I've had thus far.
This morning we met the owners of our hotel, who were just returning from getting married in Hawaii, to discover that one of them, Melanie, lives part of the year in Oakland just blocks from my office!
We are on our way back to Lima now. I didn't really have any expectations for Peru but it has been marvelous. Next stop Easter Island.