Monday, March 12, 2012
We left Chinchero on Monday morning after saying goodbye to Zac and Milka the previous evening (they don't have the luxury of holidays while I'm here) and headed for Ollantaytambo (pronounced O-yan-tay-tam-bo).
Our plan was to head to the main road and catch a collectivo or taxi to Ollantaytambo... After some negotiating we accepted a taxi's offer to take us as far as Urubamba (part of the way) after telling us that we wouldn't get a collectivo and that buses were too dangerous. His fare started at s/50 and we got him down to s/20 but missed the part where he said (in Spanish) that for that he would be taking an extra passenger... After I refused to let the extra passenger in beside me in the back seat (it was only then that we realised what we'd agreed to), the driver got out, opened the back door of the small station wagon and the extra got in and sat in the back.
From Urubamba we went into the bus station intending to find a collectivo or bus to Ollantaytambo but again ended up in a taxi - this time for s/10. I should explain that these taxi rides are between towns and were about half hour trips - the equivalent of a $80 - $100 fare in Melbourne. We paid between $3.70 and $7.50 and refused to pay the higher price of $18.50 - it's the principal.... if we accept the higher fare then the prices will go up for everyone.
Ollantaytambo is in the Sacred Valley and is an access point to Machu Picchu. The old part of town is made up of Inca buildings and is thought to have some of the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in South America (dating from the late 15th Century).
There is also water flowing through much of the town in Inca waterways that seem to manage water so well. In one place there appears to be a drain on one side of the road, and then on the other there is another where the water continues to flow.... the water actually reaches the drain, goes under the road, and comes back up on the other side!
There are a number of ruin sites surrounding the town and we decided to explore the lesser visited (and free) sites up on the mountain beside the town... the views were spectacular and the stone construction is still inspiring!
And the fact that I was able to walk up that hill/mountain is also impressive!! Walking at altitude just doesn't seem to get any easier!
at 11:53 am