After returning to our bikes we had lunch before moving on. We have taken a bit of a family decision that whenever we go out for the day in future we're taking our own chef with us. There really is no other way to travel!
Back to the bikes and we soon turned off down this steep dirt track towards the salt ponds of Maras. The track got steeper and steeper and more and most twisty with a sheer drop off on one side until Jane decided that enough was enough and she would cycle no more. We waited for the van to come back up to collect her and we finished our ride that I admit was a tad hairy. Tilly and I did look back up to see the van jane was in edging past another vehicle at a particularly narrow spot and wondering if we were about to watch her death. She did say later that their windows were open and the conversation in some obscure language was on the lines of "pull over a bit further to let me passed you £&,!" And the reply was "I could get a London bus through that gap sideways, learn to drive!"
t the bottom though was the most amazing sight. The salt ponds have been there over 500 years and are fed by an underground stream that passes through a n underground salt lode. The result is water with over 20% salt content which is about twice that in salt water. Many hundreds of ponds have been built with little streams between them and the water is fed in the locals every morning to fill the ponds and let the water evaporate. Slowly but surely the salt level in these ponds rises and is harvested once or twice a month. The ponds cascade down always slightly lower than the ones above so the flow is always natural. You can buy salt very cheaply with some being white and others pink where there is a higher iron content.
We explored the lakes and then loaded up the bikes to head for Ollantaypambo for yet another hotel.