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Old 01-25-2013, 07:05 PM   #28
huzar OP
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Location: Bellevue, WA
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Saturday, January 19th, 2013 – Ollantaytambo to Santa Teresa…. Errr, Ollantaytambo

We had the best of intentions of hitting the road to Santa Teresa this morning, so that we could catch a bus to Agua Caliente tonight. We would spend the night there, and have Machu Picchu mostly to ourselves before the hordes of day tourists arrive.

Right next to the hotel we stayed at was a nice place called the Hearts Café, which through its Living Hearts foundation does a lot of good work here. They also had a nice menu and good wifi. So we lingered. It got hot. We were dressed to ride, but the magnificent ruins that tower above the town would not be denied. Eventually we hatched a plan that would have us stay one more night in town, do the run to Santa Teresa tomorrow, and today see the ruins.

The market below the ruins:

IMG_2422 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The pre-Inca terraces leading up to the Inca temples at the top:

IMG_2425 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

IMG_2432 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Looking down at the town and ruins across the other side. Also, note the "face" just up and left of center of the picture. That's a natural formation supposedly representing the face of Wiracocha, the Quechua god:

IMG_2457 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Tight fit and polish. The knob sticking out was for tying ropes to the stone for transport:

IMG_2466 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

IMG_2472 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The stones of the Temple of the Sun. They weigh 70-80 tons each, and were transported over 4 miles from the quarry up the hill to here:

IMG_2474 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Someone's taking all of this lying down:

IMG_2476 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The terraces at Ollantaytambo were only used to farm produce for use by the priests and for sacrifices, not for commoners' food:

IMG_2483 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

A storehouse, undergoing reconstruction:

IMG_2493 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

A restored storehouse roof:

IMG_2496 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Stones carved for baths, where people would purify their bodies before entering the temples:

IMG_2502 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The "Princess" baths:

IMG_2507 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Oh, hello again Mr Dog:

IMG_2508 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Young Quechua women in costume:

IMG_2520 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

I’m glad we did that. The ruins are meant to be the second most impressive ruins in Peru, right after Machu Picchu, which means Machu Picchu is going to be jaw-dropping, ‘cause these were very, very imposing. We got tickets for 70 soles each just for this site (they also sell a ticket for 130 soles that gives admission to this place, Pisac, and two other ruins, but is only good for two days). They don’t take plastic, but there’s a BCP ATM that dispenses up to 700 soles at a time, rather than 400 soles for the GlobalNet ATM in the plaza, so this is a reasonable place to stock up on cash. We also sprung for a guide for the two of us – an hour and a half-long completo tour cost S70, and I thought it was well worth it.

My knee was tweaking after the tour – it feels unstable, and my muscles are having to work overtime to stabilize it, so I lay down for a while, and now I’m back at the Hearts Café, as the Hotel has really crappy, on and off internet with almost unusable wifi. Hewby is exploring the town, and she’ll probably come back in an hour all excited about the people she met and the new friends she made.

Hewby makes a new friend:

IMG_2444 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

We’ve got a chill evening tonight, and tomorrow we ride to Santa Teresa. I will stash my stuff and the bike there and catch a bus to Aguas Calientes, and Hewby will ride on to Hidroelectrica and walk the train tracks. The luggage will come with me. I wish I could join her on the walk, but I don’t think my knee would like it and I want to conserve it for the expected walking around Machu Picchu.

huzar screwed with this post 01-25-2013 at 07:28 PM
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