Ollantaytabo, Sacred Valley, PeruNovember 14, 2019 in Peru ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C
Sacred Valley. House: Casa Killaunu Ollantaytambo.
Today we planned a trip to another Inca archeological site, Ollantaytambo. Our driver, who spoke no English, picked us up in the morning and headed to the site. Along the way we spotted some structures high up on a cliff. The unique “hanging” hotel, which is made up of four transparent pods suspended by cables, 400 metres above the ground. You can only get there after you climb 400 meters up the rock face or hike a challenging trail featuring a zip-line network. Check out Skylodge Adventure Suites Peru. Our driver stopped and we got out to take a closer look. It sure is not for anyone who does not like heights.
While we were parked a little girl came along and showed us some woven bracelets, of course I had to buy some.
We arrived at the Ollantaytambo site and while we were checking in several guides came to offer their services. We declined as we were prepared to do this on our own. Mike did not want to climb, and Don wasn’t sure he wanted to go very far up either. Gary and Karina were keen to go so they started, and Judy and I said we would just go a little way at our own speed. As it turned out Judy and I made it to the top and said that was it for us. We took our time coming back down as the steps were very steep and nothing to hang on to. Gary and Karena continued on across the top and came down further over and met us at the site base. We wandered around the market and bought a few Peruvian woven placemats and table runner. I enjoyed bartering and the rest left me to get the price I wanted. From there the four of us took a taxi back down to the town and enjoyed browsing the large market there. Gary and Karina decided to walk back down to the town and really had an adventure but said that they were glad that Judy and I had not gone with them. It was far longer than they anticipated and quite difficult. Once they arrived in the town, we headed straight for a shop selling “helado”, ice cream, and sat out on the sidewalk and heard G and K’s account of their descent.
A little history about the town: In the middle of the 15th century, Emperor Pachacutec conquered the region, in the Sacred Valley of south Peru, set on the Urubamba River amid snow-capped mountains. He destroyed the existing town and settled there to found Ollantaytambo and incorporate it into the Inca Empire. Pachacutec ordered the construction of the main buildings of the current archaeological site of Ollantaytambo to be his royal estate. These structures were used as astronomic observatories, agricultural, urban and administrative purposes. Major sites within the complex include the huge Sun Temple and the Princess Baths fountain. The fortress was the site of the greatest Inca victory over the Spanish during the wars of conquest. The Manco Inca fled here in 1537 with a contingent of troops after the disastrous loss at Sacsayhuaman and routed the Spanish forces led by Pizarro. The victory was short-lived and Pizzaro regrouped and took over the fortress.
The village's old town is an Inca-era grid of a walled city block each with one entrance leading to an interior courtyard surrounded by a collection of houses and adobe buildings. A central square and cobblestoned street finish off the very quaint and pleasant town. The village stands very much like it did 500 years ago. Most of the walls are still intact due to the clever building knowledge of the Incas.
We all wandered around the town, bought some cheese and bread for our hors d’oeuvres, then went separate ways each exploring on our own. Gary bought a hat during his explorations that Don really liked so Don and I headed back up one of the steep side streets, found and bought a hat, much like Gary's. We enjoyed sitting in the town square watching the children playing and the Peruvians going about their daily business as well as the street vendors selling their souvenirs. Our driver arrived to pick us up around 4:00pm and drove us back to our house Casa Killanau. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed a lovely time outdoors, planning what we would do the next day. Our chef and his assistant arrived to create a feast for us of trout and many vegetables including a delicious squash soup, with enough leftovers to have another meal later. We played cards and headed to bed for another well-earned sleep.Read more