The Weekend Excursions

By Farah Ahmad – Guest Blogger from Cusco SALUD
The rafting trip was great. I'd only gone once before but our guide knew what he was doing. It was a full-day trip ending with a much-appreciated lunch of chicken and fries. The next day, I hopped a bus with a friend from school and we headed off towards Urubamba intending to spend the day visiting Moray and Salinas. We sort of missed our stop to Maras. I had completely forgotten that we were supposed to be looking for a “junction” of sorts rather than the actual town. Backtracking it in a cab from Urubamba wasn't the end of the world and actually, the landscape in Peru is so wonderful and beautiful that half the time I wish the trips would last a bit longer so I could stare at the mountains and the hills a little more.
We went to Salinas first which are “pre-Incan…salt pans” according to my Footprint guidebook. There are about 3200 of them (again, from the guidebook…I was definitely NOT counting them while I was there!) While we were there, people were working on a salt pan a few levels below us. I can't even describe what they looked like; perhaps a winter wonderland because all the salt looked like snow! Our taxi driver picked up a man who worked there and was heading in the same direction as us. He mainly spoke Quechua, the other main language in Peru, but we understood his appreciation for the ride when he handed us tiny bags of salt for us to “recuerde” our trip. We headed off to Moray which it seems was used as an agricultural testing grounds of sorts with each terrace being a different type of “microenvironment”. Both the Salinas and Moray were beautiful especially because we were there later in the day and had both to ourselves. The blend of city-time and time for weekend trips to ruins is perfect. I was glad to spend enough time in Cusco where I actually get to go to more of the places that probably are missed if you're only on your way to Macchu Picchu. This week has been the first week where instead of morning classes with the others, I have afternoon classes with the batch of medical students in the Salud program. I do miss my afternoon wanderings in the city but things should get even more interesting next week when we head to the clinics! I am happy that I added an additional two weeks on to my program and would recommend that to anyone for the extra Spanish practice as well as the freedom to really enjoy the city

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