After the successful start in Lima and Ica, the journey was continued. On the program was a viewing of the Nazca lines. This remarkable mystery, figures made between 500 BC and 500 AD, can be viewed from a great height.
With small planes we flew above the ancient figures and had a good view of these very old drawings.
Thursday afternoon the group had time to recover and prepare for an early morning flight to Arequipa. Once arrived here and after breakfast we went to visit an onions and potato grower. This grower, James, also has a large test field of new pink and red varieties of Hazera. Arequipa is a huge growing area with more than 9000ha onions. The group was given an explanation of its cultivation, in which the onions sometimes remain on the field for 2 weeks and are manually turned over each day to get the best quality. Later he also showed the harvest of the potatoes to the group. James is more mechanized than most growers in Peru, the harvesting of the potatoes happened with the tractor. The potatoes are then sorted and packed on the field.
In the afternoon there was a tour of the Santa Catalina monastery in the historic center of Arequipa. After this tour, a number of people visited a small alpaca farm, after which they were given the opportunity to buy alpaca clothes.
At night there was a buffet ready for the group in a local restaurant. Here we enjoyed delicious food and 7 traditional Peruvian dances. Arequipa was a lightning visit, on Saturday morning we flew to Cusco. Cusco is at an altitude of more than 3000 meters, for different participants this height was very noticeable. Saturday was spent visiting several Inca temples (temple of the sun, Kenko, Tambomachay and Puca Puchara temple) and a tour of the historic center of Cusco.
This city was the core of the great Inca empire, stretching from Santiago in Chile, to Mendoza in Argentina and to Quito in Ecuador.
On Sunday, after a visit to the Sacred Valley, where there are a lot of production terraces of the Incas, we went by train to Aguas Calientes (the tourist village of Machu Picchu).
Monday morning the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu were on the program. These ruins are situated at 2400 meters between the Andean peaks and from here you have a spectacular view of the Urabamba valley. The guided tour of the ruin showed us how more than 1000 people practiced agriculture, realized their religion and how the people lived here in the 14th century. The terraces were used to produce their food. In the higher buildings were the most important religious of this society.
Tuesday was the last full day with the group in Peru. The day started with a very interesting visit to INIA, a national institute that maintains wild potato varieties and also develops new varieties. After a tour of this institute we were taken along the fields. With a fantastic view we were told what kind of new breeds, disease resistance and climate stress they were working on. In short, very interesting!
Then we visited the Salineras, large salt baths where we use salt evaporating.
Finally, there was a visit to Moray on the program, huge circular terraces where the Incas in the past had a lot of their productions. An ingenious system that we can still learn a lot from nowadays.
On Wednesday it was time to pack up and take our flight home. This unforgettable, instructive journey was one for the books. In short, very successful!