Moray: The Texas A&M of the Incas

Yesterday I went to Moray. It's a place I've wanted to go to ever since I heard about it. It's a huge valley in the middle of the mountains that's layered with circular terraces. It's deep enough that different layers have different microclimates, and people think that the Incas would use the different climates in the bowl to determine the best growing conditions for various crops. Very cool stuff.

Getting there was exciting, as it often is. Someone told me that I could catch a bus in the right general direction on this street Avenida Grau. I went there and waited at the bus stop on the street, but no busses going to the right place (Urubamba) came by. Finally, I saw a bus with a sign for Urubamba pulling out of a tiny side alley on the other side of the street. I walked over there, and squeezed into this dark back alley, and it turned out that it was the bus terminal to Urubamba. I caught the next bus out, and was on my way.

Urubamba and the surrounding area is absolutely amazing. I know it's terrible to think this, but the only thing I could think of as I looked out at the countryside on the way there was the default wallpaper for Windows XP.

As the bus was speeding along, I saw a sign on the rode for Moray and asked to be dropped off. It's about 13 km off the main road, so I started walking, taking pictures of everything I saw as I went. I know I keep saying this, but this is one of the prettiest places I've ever been.

After I had walked for a couple miles, I realized it was a little late in the afternoon, so I caught a taxi the rest of the way. I don't know if I can really describe moray, but the pictures do a pretty good job of it.

My taxi was waiting for me after I had hiked out of Moray, with two other Austrian tourists in the back. We started back. This taxi driver was pretty exciting. The roads were poor, bumpy dirt roads, often with huge rocks inexplicably sitting in the middle of them and four-hundred foot drops on the side, but he would roar down them at 60 kph, gunning it up hills and then turning the engine off at the top and letting the car fly downhill by itself. At some point, another taxi was coming in the opposite direction, and the driver violently motioned for the tourists in the back to get down. They flattened out of sight against the seat, and the taxi went past. After some confused spanish, I learned that they had asked the other taxi to come pick them up, since they had hiked to Moray from another city, but they got tired of waiting and took this taxi instead. Near the highway, the driver saw a bus heading back to Cusco(where the austrians were headed, too) about a mile or two off and floored it. "Pay me, quickly! There won't be any time once we catch the bus" He said in Spanish. We all thrust bills at him, and then he pulled up alongside the bus and honked, waving his arm out the windows until it stopped. We hopped on, unperturbed, and enjoyed the pretty ride back.