The salt flats of Maras

Maras is a town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, 40 kilometers north of Cuzco, in the Cuzco Region of Peru. The town is well known for its salt evaporation ponds, located towards Urubamba from the town center, which have been in use since Inca times. The salt-evaporation ponds are four kilometers north of the town, down a canyon that descends to the Rio Vilcanota and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Since pre-Inca times, salt has been obtained in Maras by evaporating salty water from a local subterranean stream. The highly salty water emerges at a spring, a natural outlet of the underground stream.

The flow is directed into an intricate system of tiny channels constructed so that the water runs gradually down onto the several hundred ancient terraced ponds.

it was a beautiful sky

Machu Picchu

This has to be the number one sight in Peru. It’s amazing. Honestly worth all the trouble to see it, too. Let me say that when you visit it, it is worth the extra cost to hire a guide. There is virtually no signage, so you need one.

Here’s the Wikipedia page for information. I’m short on time, so will try to add explanations to the photos later.

To get here, you board a train, an hour outside of Cusco.

It’s a nice train, too. It takes you to Aguacaliente. From there, it’s a bus ride up the mountain. But you need to buy tickets for all of it in advance. The other option is hiking 3-4 days from The same location along one of the Inca Trails.

It’s a busy place.
Really busy.
….and really far down, so don’t fall.

Nazca Lines

Ready to fly!

Honestly, the photos from Peru are hanging a bit heavy on me. There are so many and I’m just not going to find the time to go through them all. As I write this, I’m with my dear friend Jeannie in Huntsville, AL. But tomorrow I leave on the next adventure: Nepal! I won’t have much internet access for the next month while I hike the Annapurna Trail. I’ll try to organize a few more posts, but don’t hold your breath.

Today, I’ll skip ahead on the photos and show you the Nazca Lines, located in the desert outside Nazca, Peru. I took a flight over them. In most cases, I’ve had to zoom in and greatly increase the contrast to see the photos. Very fascinating.

My pilot and co-pilot.
The spiral

According to Wikipedia:

The Nazca Lines /ˈnæzkɑː/ are a series of large ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert, in southern Peru. The largest figures are up to 370 m (1,200 ft) long. They were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 km (50 mi) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana, about 400 km (250 mi) south of Lima. Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 500 BC and 500 AD The figures vary in complexity. Hundreds are simple lines and geometric shapes; more than 70 are zoomorphic designs of animals, such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguars, and monkeys, or human figures. Other designs include phytomorphic shapes, such as trees and flowers.

The designs are shallow lines made in the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish/grayish ground beneath. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs but, in general, they ascribe religious significance to them.

Because of its isolation and the dry, windless, stable climate of the plateau, the lines have mostly been naturally preserved. Extremely rare changes in weather may temporarily alter the general designs. As of 2012, the lines are said to have been deteriorating because of an influx of squatters inhabiting the lands.

Contrary to the popular belief that the lines and figures can only be seen from an aircraft, they are also visible from the surrounding foothills and other high places.”

I don’t entirely agree with that last line. There are a few that can be seen by mountain top, but not most.

Here a highway cuts through the upper tail of a lizard on the left. Then the tree of life and the chick to the right.
Chick and tree of life. At the bottom of the photo, you can see the tail of a lizard.
The hummingbird is one of the longest.
The spider.
The monkey and some interesting lines.
A killer whale.
geometric shapes–the triangles
Landing strip on top of a mountain? Who knows?
The spiral.
Maybe a condor?
Baby condor or dinosaur.
The Astronaut.

The blue area in the center is a mine.