November 22nd, 2008 – by: alyssa_ob
braids and bambino
We slept pretty well but the stupid rooster woke us up at 4:30. We had breakfast at 7 in the garden. We then caught a taxi to Ollantaytambo and got dropped off in the plaza. We hoofed it down to the train station to get our tickets to Aguas Caliente and to stow our packs. The guy at the train station informed us we would have to pay for each kilo over 11 that our packs were. “You must be very strong girls” when he saw how big our bags were. We had no choice, really, so we paid and left our bags. Back up in town we went to the ruins (included in the Cusco ticket). Again, no guide, but this one didn’t seem to have as much that needed explaining. Right up front were the terraces so lets get going! Huffing and puffing we made it up to the top.
We saw some huge pink rhyolite stones that were hauled up from 5 km away. Wow, and we could barely make it up with our little day packs.
us by the terraces
The stone walls went way up the mountain and a few people went up to the top. They were whistled down by one of the many Securidad people roaming around. They like to whistle and you never really know how is getting the whistle so I’m not sure it is a good system. We walked along the terraces over to a little house thing and then back down. We seemed to find a little residential area with doorways and windows but no one was home. Someone had channeled the little stream and made it into a “bath” - must have been those Incas.
We stopped at the Hearts Café for lunch and enjoyed great people watching from the sidewalk tables.
This sweet old English woman moved here to save the world so we ate here. I had a really tasty meal, maybe one of the best I had in Peru. It was an English veggie pasty with mashed potatoes and cooked broccoli. So delicious. But I got so sick off of it. But that came later.
knobs to help move the stones?
After lunch we sat in the plaza until the museum opened back up from its siesta. While we sat there a taxi driver came up and asked if we needed a taxi to Cusco. Do we look like we need a taxi? We're relaxing in the shade and have no luggage and its the middle of the day. If we wanted a taxi we would be standing on the curb trying to flag one down. At least he didn't honk at us.
We went over to a little museum where we read English translations on wooden paddles for the displays written in Spanish.
It was pretty interesting, covering the history of the area, the crops and the culture. But it was small and we still had plenty of time to kill before our train. So we walked up behind the museum, following the little stream that ran down the sidewalk. It still amazes me that you can have an open channel of water flowing down the middle of a sidewalk and people just step over it, no big deal. People were using the water to wash clothes and dishes, but I don’t know if it is drinkable water. Its these little differences that I notice and love about other countries. I took a video of the traffic director with the little stream babbling in the background.
Peruvian women and kids
Finally it was time for our train.
We collected our backpacks and stopped for a drink by the train station. Our train was a Vistadome, which means it has windows on the ceiling so we can look out at the mountains above us as we head up the canyon. It was very comfy and we even got a little snack of a sandwich and cake plus a beverage. Yay! We followed a river and it was very scenic but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have due to a disagreeable lunch. It made for a very long train ride and a long night in town.
landslide on far hill
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