This training culminated last week as we did a three-day test trek in the Zagoria Valley near Permet in Southern Albania
Shorter trips taken within my longer sojourns–sometimes guided, sometimes alone.
Raul grows the native Chuncho cacao, whose fruit is smaller than the more prevalent hybrid varieties. Cacao is ripe when the fruit turns yellow.
The coffee here is shade-grown—a growing method which encourages the farmers to nurture the forest as a whole.
I was fascinated with this ancient site where salt has been harvested for over 500 years and maybe even for a millennia. So, on Thursday I decided to again hike up to the salt farms—a beautiful and tough climb from the Sacred Valley.
The hike up seemed to get longer as we got closer to the finish. The last 15–20 switchbacks seemed interminable. I was stubbornly refusing to ride the horse and I made it to the top on my own—worn out but thrilled at the accomplishment.
Choquequirao means “cradle of gold” in the Quechua language. After another filling lunch and a rest, we started up the trail to visit the Choquequirao ruins.
Choquequirao is considered to be a sister-site to Machu Picchu, but few people know about it. Researchers believe the site may be even larger than Machu Picchu. A very difficult 4-day trek in and out is required to visit these remote ruins.
The tienda faces the plaza and there were some young men outside on the steps. Meliza and I moved outside to sit near them. I asked if they could spin. Freddie, sitting next to me smiled broadly and said yes, and he started using the little Turkish spindle while his friend tried out the one that Ben made me.
I decided to take a little tourist jaunt to the island of Amantani in Lake Titicaca. You can purchase a tour from one of many agencies in Puno, but if you go to the pier in Puno and pay the captain directly for the trip and then pay your host family directly, the families receive more of the proceeds and don’t have to wait for the agency to send the money.
The south of Peru reminds me of some of the landscapes you see in the Southwest. Miles and miles of open desert country, with an occasional river running through.