To get to the Inca agricultural research area, one has to pass through the village of Moray. It is an interesting drive down the very narrow streets lined with tightly packed houses, with vehicles occasionally passing by on cross streets in front of you without any warning. You might be playing a game of chicken, except that when you play chicken you can actually see the other vehicle! The bus barely fit in the narrow street, and making a 90 degree turn into another narrow cross-street in the middle of town required some dexterity and a light touch from Cesar, our bus driver.After passing town, we drove down the dirt road towards the hills.Here is a patch of red quinoa that we saw on the way. We saw quinoa in many places in Peru. Quinoa comes in many different colors.The fields looked fertile. Winter will soon be coming to Peru.At the agricultural center we encountered some dry desert vegetation.We were told that the agricultural terraces at Moray were used by the Incas to develop varieties of crops that could be grown all over the country. Because of the levels of the individual terraces that you can see in the picture below, the temperature difference between the bottom-most level and the top was about 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Each level of the terrace is at a slightly different temperature from the ones above and below it, and experiences its own micro climate. The temperature at the bottom is more in keeping with the temperature at sea level, and the temperatures at the top correspond to those in the mountains. By slowly moving plants through different levels of the terraces over long periods of time, the Incas got them to adapt to the micro climate corresponding to that level. The modified plants could then be grown in other parts of the country. (FYI, the Inca empire covered an area greater than that of the Roman empire at one time in history.)FYI, Potatoes originated in Peru, and there are over 3000 varieties of potatoes that grow all over the country.
We hiked to the bottom of the terraces and walked across to the other side. This is at an elevation of 11500 feet. We had to take it easy! FYI, there were a few of these terraces in the area, but the one shown in the picture is the only one that has undergone restoration.
I found the dogs in the picture below taking a nap when wandering around looking for a restroom. We found dogs everywhere we went in Peru. They looked clean, and I suspect that they are all owned by people. They were not aggressive. The only downside is that you had to watch your step to avoid the dog poop, even in big cities like Lima.We saw tour groups on ATVs on the dirt roads during our visits to Maras and Moray. This is a different way to see Peru!I snapped this picture as we were descending back into the Sacred Valley and Urubamba, on our way back after our morning trip.Here is the bridge under construction over the Urubamba river.Here is a picture of another very common form of mototaxi in Peru. It seems to be a modified motorbike.Next blog in the series here.