Names of settlements themselves conjure up emotion by their very mention. Even just saying Beirut or Baghdad for instance may conjure up images of war, despair and death. The mention of Sydney or Paris conjures up glamour and richness. So what to make of those excellent wee names that often are forgotten. Ollantaytambo is one of such intrigue. Just let your mind drift. If you’ve ever been to Ollantaytambo, then you have been to Machu Picchu. And why would I be so certain of that??
The reason being Ollantaytambo is the nearest village with any decent shops/cafes before starting the Inca Trail. Nobody in the right mind would go all the way here and then head back to Cuzco. Indeed only illness could be an acceptable reason for having visited Ollantaytambo, but not having stepped foot in Picchu.
So after the bus trip, we were given just over an hour in Ollantaytambo. Some mingled with the crowd and got to know each other. Some headed to the foot of the mountains admiring the views in the valley and the Inca Ruins.
I went to the shop, bought a few supplies and also decided on a cup of Coca Tea. From the wee cafe.
The shop.So many supplies to be bought for the days ahead.
Souvenirs in the shop. Men with big willies. These are actually souvenirs but first you consume the Coca leaves within. Then your penis gets bigger and you can become an Inca.
I chose my fix of “Coca” related products, plus to add spice I went for Jalapeno Pringles – these are my favourite Pringles and I have yet to see them in Australia or Europe. I could be wrong.
I had already bought Inca Kola – a yellow energy drink made from Coca leaves. Here, on route to Ollantaytambo we passed the delivery lorry for it.
That’s my bottle of the stuff.
Ollantaytambo also had ATMs, toilets, internet and telephones. This would be the last chance to make a call to the outside world for 4 days. I was loving the nature far too much to bother logging into bakebook to say “here i am at Ollantaytambo about to start the Inca Trail” People have families, jobs and lives to live at Christmas. They don’t want to hear things like that. This was my first Christmas off work from choice since 1997. (I didn’t work in 2007 at Christmas due to my broken foot, and in the other years, I took 2 – 4 days off maximum.).
I went into this wee cafe for a Coca tea.
A strange location for a Police Station, right in Sacred Valley in this small settlement at Ollantaytambo.
Relaxing in Ollantaytambo. This photo was taken by Roberta from Brazil, who I met in the square in Ollantaytambo. She would become a good friend during the hike.
OK so we boarded the bus, said our byes to Ollantaytambo*, and the next part of the journey (by bus) was the last transport we would use for the next 3.5 days.
* Although it felt like final ever goodbyes to Ollantaytambo, history will show that in order to return to Cuzco, we later changed from train onto bus at Ollantaytambo again, after the trek. So in essence I was actually there twice, but prefer to maintain this memory and forget the second visit, as the magic belonged only to the Inca Trail itself and the journey which took me there…
What – Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo is a town and an Inca archaeological site in southern Peru some 60 kilometers northwest of the city of Cusco. It is located at an altitude of 2,792 meters (9,160 feet) above sea level in the district of Ollantaytambo, province of Urubamba, Cusco region. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region, built the town and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru it served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance. Nowadays it is an important tourist attraction on account of its Inca buildings and as one of the most common starting points for the three-day, four-night hike known as the Inca Trail.
Strange Currencies – Peruvian Soles
Nationalities Met – Peruvian, Brazilian
MORNING TEA AT OLLANTAYTAMBO:
PRE TREK WALK IN OLLANTAYTAMBO SQUARE:
BUS FROM OLLANTAYTAMBO TO Q’UORIHUAYRACHINA: