When in Cuzco, everybody visits of course Macchu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Smelly busloads of tourists make the latter, at least for me, not a fun place to be. What else can you do here, that is more genuine? away from the crowds? Easy! book a trip or even overnight stay in the Potato Park in the Valley. Here on 8000 hectares of green, lush and very quiet valley live almost 6000 farmers with their families. They grow almost a thousand of indigenous potato varieties. Thanks to a visitors program you can go and visit, eat there and sleep even with local families. Our family was preparing lunch, peeling fava beans while inside the potatoes were cooking away. We got greeted by the lady of the house throwing gloriously smelling flower petals over our head. This is a part around Cuszo were barely no other tourists come. Small rivers run across the roads and supply lots of fresh and clean water for the crops. Lakes at 4100 meters altitude and a backdrop of towering mountains. Friendly people not yet ruined by tourism. And you learn more about probably the most important and famous ingredient in the world: the potato. Our famous, Belgian chef Jeroen Meus should have come here for his “De Patat” television program when he was exploring the roots of the potato. Because the roots are here, with the Inca’s, in the very rich earth of this sacred and above all fertile valley.
© 2012 Debbie Pappyn. All rights reserved.