This week I am blogging about the trip I just took to Peru with Adventures by Disney. Epic and educational are two words that come to mind as I chronicle the journey day by day.
On day 3, we started out at Moray, an archaeological site in Peru… just a bit away from our hotel in the Sacred Valley. The ruins of Moray are visually amazing… Unique circular stone terraces that are enormous, and look vaguely artistic.
The deepest one of these stadium like patterns goes is 98 feet, which can create a temprature difference from top to bottom of 15 degrees. The purpose once again, was for the Incas to experiment with the effect of climatic conditions on crop growth.
The agricultural terraces are characteristic of the Incas. Terracing crops achieved different micro-climates for various growing conditions . I marveled at how much the Incas were so in tune with nature and astronomy, and smart about farming for abundance.
As you can see in the photo, it was a horribly cold day…. Thank goodness our Disney guides had rain ponchos, but here in Peru, it was easy to find rain ponchos for a mere $5, as street vendors flocked any tourist site.
***TIP: At a location this close to the equator, and this high altitude, you need to wear sunscreen even with complete cloud coverage!
From here, we visited the salt pans, where local families have been mining salt for more than 500 years, beginning in Inca times. The enormity of the project is mind boggling – there are about 5000 baths from which salt is mined after the water evaporates.
This area is especially salty – just put your finger in and taste. Nearby you can buy the salt produced here, which they say is super saturated…the pink salt is high quality - I bought some and can’t wait to try in my cooking!
The kids found some fun things at the gift store here, and liked the salt mines more than Moray’s agriculture terraces. You can’t hit a home run at every attraction, but if the kids walk away with one nugget of inspiration or new information, I am happy.
The good news about Disney though is that they realize this, and so they balance the fun with the educational. After lunch, the guides took us to the studio one of Peru’s most famous ceramicists, Seminario.
We got a first hand glimpse at his studio, and met him in person. His work is in the Chicago Field Museum.
This is the type of experience you would not get to plan on your own, and where having a connected tour operator can enhance your trip tremendously. When you are spending this much money, you want to maximize your bang for your buck.
While we adults learned about the artist, one of his apprentices took the kids and made some clay figurines and plaques with them. Their energy was so relaxed, and they really enjoyed the art project. This is the balance of the day – fun mixed with culture – to which I was referring that Disney did so well.
At the studio, parrots roamed freely… and monkeys in cages loved flirting with visitors – the kids were enchanted. There was something for everyone here.
More fun to come: Pizza night at the hotel. The kids donned chef’s hats and aprons, and made their own pizzas! They welcomed the “comfort food, ” after trying so many Peruvian dishes.. which is just another great perk of travel.
Tomorrow: The thrill of a lifetime: Visiting Machu Picchu.