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Day Trips in Cusco and the Final Project Begins by Aela Morris

This week has been a bit of a mish-mash. On Monday and Tuesday, we went on tours around Cusco. One to an Inca archaeological site and some salt mines, and the other to Rainbow Mountain. Then, we packed up and took the bus for about an hour to arrive at the Tierra de Los Yaques project.

The Inca ruins and salt mine were only a half day trip. We left around 8 and met our guide in the Plaza de Armas. He was a bit of an eccentric guy; big fan of giving pop quizzes at the end of his spiels. He walked us around Cusco, pointing out Inca and Spanish architecture, and then we got on a bus and drove out to the archaeological site, where the circular terraces

are. The site was used by the Incas as a test facility for growing crops, as they could control the amount of water that went into each terrace.

Then, we went to a nearby town where we were given a weaving demonstration (and of course, the opportunity to buy something).

Our last stop of the day was a salt mine, which was very cool, and can only really be described with pictures.

Tuesday morning was a ridiculously early start (4 am) to leave on the bus to Rainbow Mountain. I was still a bit groggy when we started the hike around ten. Going up was… rough. It was about a 2 hour hike, and even though it was nowhere near as steep as Colca, the much higher altitude made it a tough hike. Sadly, the view is not that impressive from the first base you come to when you reach the end of the trail, you have to commit to walking up a bunch of stairs to the very top to actually see the rainbow effect.

I enjoyed both tours, though hopefully I'll have time to do some sight-seeing in the City itself on the next few weekends we are there.

We got quite a welcome when we arrived to our final project. A conch was blown and flower petals were thrown on us, before we were dressed in traditional Peruvian outfits and introduced to our hosts for the next 2 weeks.

We have only done about 2 days of work so far, but it has been interesting. We helped make the clay that they use for handicrafts, fed an entire shed full of guinea pigs (rip, probably) and prepared the land for planting in September.

Will we become expert farmers by the end of this? Probably not. Stay tuned.

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