Our speakers this month, Lynn and Jim Miller, talked about some of the highlights of their trip to Machu Picchu, the 15th century Inca Citadel located in the mountains of Peru. He also mentioned the unnerving experience of flying into the downtown airport at Cusco located between two mountain ranges. Jim also described the amazing workmanship involved in constructing the sacred site of Machu Picchu. He said the large stones used to build the walls fit so closely together that you couldn’t slip a piece of paper between them.
Both Jim and Lynn agreed one of the highlights was visiting the Parwa community restaurant in the Sacred Valley. It relies on local produce featuring a delicious ‘farm to table’ menu. They also talked about the salt mines in the area. Salt is collected in hillside terraces or paddocks and simply scooped up. The salt appears in various colours with the colour determining its selling price.
Jim pointed out that the most physically challenging part of their trip was adjusting to the altitude. Cusco, the Inca capital, is at 11,800 feet above sea level. Hugh Gayler, who had just returned from a trip to Machu Picchu, pointed out that Cusco, with a population of about 500,000, has no official public transit and is becoming clogged with cars. He also mentioned an exclusive hotel in the area that visitors must scale a sheer cliff to reach and can then spend the night in a room that hangs out over the edge of the mountain.