Ollantaytambo and the Sacred Valley


Advertisement
Peru's flag
South America » Peru » Cusco » Ollantaytambo
September 27th 2012
Published: October 19th 2012
Edit Blog Post

September 27th, 2012

Elevation 2800m, 9186ft



After an amazing time in Puno and Lake Titicaca it was back on a bus and heading to Cusco, launch point of the Sacred Valley and our final destination before the Inca Trail: Ollantaytambo...

Took the better part of the day to get from Puno to Cusco, with a stop along the way at the highest elevation of the tour, 4338m (14232ft), hard to believe...it was a brief stop in Cusco, spent a number of days there after the Inca Trail so will talk more about it in a future post...basically arrived, got some laundry together, grabbed a bite to eat and a couple of pints and that was about it...

It was this night that we first met our guide for the Inca Trail, David. Seemed very knowledgeable and passionate, gave us some insight on what to expect on the trail and of course what we could/should bring for the four day excursion. Identical black duffle bags were distributed to all us hikers, with firm instructions that we could bring what we wanted but the bags themselves could not weigh more that 6kgs (and as that included the
The gals...The gals...The gals...

...spinning away at the artisan collective...
sleeping bag-2kgs- and air mattress-1kg-we were left with 3kg's worth of space...). The trekking industry is pretty heavily regulated, with each porter allowed to carry a maximum daily weight (and the authorities would weigh the packs each morning at the checkpoints to ensure compliance...very cool). We also had to take into account the extra day in the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo as we were leaving our main packs here in Cusco...was quite funny watching the gang going back and forth to the front desk to borrow scales and weigh their packs, took me a few trips to get it down to the right weight!

Following morning we were up and back on the bus, with a full day exploring the Sacred Valley as we slowly made our way to Ollantaytambo, launch point of the Inca Trail...yikes!

Sacred Valley was beautiful, and every now and then the bus would stop so we could get out and soak up the scenery (and take some pics...). David would then give us some history and cultural background of wherever we were which was great...it was actually quite amazing the amount of history and knowledge David had about his country, and the pride
TerracesTerracesTerraces

...man these were cool...
he took in it was fantastic...

Our first big stop was an artisan collective sponsored by G Adventures, although unfortunately the name escapes me...there were many women spinning wool, with booths set up selling their wares...David explained to us the dying process, and more importantly how they made the dyes from natural resources, very cool...there was a pen with both llamas and alpacas, and saw my first guinea pigs of the trip, still strange to think of eating them but did plan on trying it...sometime...haha...

Splurged and bought an alpaca toque and gloves; already have a bunch of similar ones at home but these were so soft and comfortable, couldn't resist! Lee picked up a toque as well, had some good laughs over the next few days with them..."Flaps are down, out of town" and "Flaps are up, giddy up!"...inside joke but man it was funny...

Back on the bus and after a couple of photo-op stops we arrived at these beautiful ruins...whose name also escapes me, gah! Plenty of tourists but we managed to find a quiet spot for the history lesson from David, and then had some time to explore, cool spot...the terraces were quite something to see, but it was the tombs set into the mountain behind the ruins that blew me away; all these holes in the side of the hill, and really the only way to get to them would be to rappel from the top, man it was steep...started to rain a bit but no big deal, I was just happy to be climbing a bunch of stairs without my lungs exploding, started to feel a bit better about the Trail which was to begin the following day!

A little further down the road we stopped for some lunch at this really nice buffet place, had some good food and relaxed...then it was on to our final stop of the day: Ollantaytambo! Dominated by two really cool Inca ruins, Ollantaytambo is a quaint little town and the gateway to the Inca Trail...checked into our hotel and then it was off for a tour of the Ruins, couldn't wait...

A lot of people again but our guide was great at steering us to quieter spots and again giving us the detailed history of the place. We slowly made our way to the top where there were some great vistas of the town below...the stonework was simply brilliant, seams between each of the rocks were perfect, no signs of daylight...hard to believe the workmanship in a lot of the ruins we visited, probably couldn't be duplicated today even with all the technology available...

Made our way back down and had some free time to explore before dinner...everyone had a last minute thing or two to pick up (I was missing bug repellent) so we hit some shops and the local market, good time...stopped for the obligatory pint and then we all packed up and headed out for dinner...and my first Pisco Sour, not bad!

Everyone was in great spirits and looking forward to starting the Inca Trail, hard to believe we were leaving the following morning! I really liked Ollantaytambo, thought it was a cool town with a great vibe...wish we could have had an extra day to poke around here...


Additional photos below
Photos: 58, Displayed: 25


Advertisement

Cusco from on High...Cusco from on High...
Cusco from on High...

First stop as we were heading out to the Sacred Valley...beautiful...
Plaza de Armas...Plaza de Armas...
Plaza de Armas...

...from on high...
Christ...Christ...
Christ...

...overlooking Cusco..
Young lad...Young lad...
Young lad...

...man the kids in this country are cute!
Spinning the wool...Spinning the wool...
Spinning the wool...

...they would do this non-stop...even while walking...
Shopping...Shopping...
Shopping...

Dominik and David looking for goodies...


Tot: 0.087s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 28; qc: 134; dbt: 0.0258s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.7mb