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213 travelers at this place

  • Day46


    February 29 in Peru ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

    Mountain biking at 3000 metres is hard! Our guides, Ronald and Oscar, took us on an awesome trail around the Andes mountains. At 3600 metres, thats 2000 meters higher than Ben Nevis, which is the highest peak in the UK. At that altitude, breathing was a great difficulty and I forgot how to breathe at one point! Going down the hill was really hard as we had to be super technical with our bike handling, it was narrow and very rocky and I had to concentrate very hard to get down safely and not fall of the side of a cliff. When we got to the bottom of the trail, there was a major landslide so we had to carry our bikes over the mound!

    Next, we went for lunch in the middle of a field! There were 2 dogs and one looked like a racoon, and one was very naughty and kept biting the other dog when we gave him attention, and 3 donkeys! There were 2 foals (baby donkeys) and a mum donkey! (Move over baby sea lions because the baby donkeys have taken the #1 spot in the cuteness contest). The foals were so adorable and fluffy we just wanted to squish their faces! There were also sheep.

    After lunch we went to visit a place called Moray and it is a big hole in the ground with lots of terraces and the Incas (ancient indigenous people) used it to grow various plants from the Andes, including Coca leaves. It was a high altitude but the centre ring is the same temperature as where the plants can grow, and the next layer is a bit colder and so on, so they would test and modify the plant seeds so they could stand lower temperatures.
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  • Day48


    March 2 in Peru ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    The Incas really loved their steps! The Pisac ruins in Peru were super cool, but really hard work to get to! It was built on top of a really high, steep mountain with LOADS of steps.

    They built lots of terraces into the side of the mountain for growing food, but these ones were for food production, not for experiments. They also hadn’t invented the wheel yet, so they had to use humans and animals to transport everything up to the settlement. The highest point in the settlement was for religious ceremonies because they felt closer to the sky and the gods.

    After Pisac, we went for lunch at Kantu Wasi in Amru. The house was owned by a lovely lady called Angela and she and her neighbours made lunch for us including Trout fish and Guinea Pig!Angela and her neighbours dressed us up in traditional Inca clothes! They are so warm!

    After we finished our lunch, Angela and her neighbours showed us how their textiles were made, all the way from the sheep to the finished product! This is how string is made:

    1. They cut some wool from the sheep
    2. They shampoo the sheep wool with a natural plant shampoo
    3. Once it is dried they spin it into a string
    4. They repeat again and now they have 2 sticks of string
    5. Now they spin the two sticks of string into a ball
    6. They then wrap it around their arms in a criss-cross
    7. Then they put the string in the natural dye
    8. They leave the string to soak in the dye for a few hours
    9. It is ready to be made into textiles!

    It takes 3 months for them to make enough string to make 1 poncho!

    After lunch at Angela’s house, we went to a huge market! There was a girl from the mountain making money from tourists by having us take photos with her ADORABLE animals! There was a super fluffy baby Alpaca and a cute goat with small horns!
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  • Day15

    14. Tag Peru/ Ollantaytambo

    September 21, 2019 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Nach einer wundervollen Nacht und einem ausgiebigen Frühstück in unserem Luxus-Tempel haben wir uns auf dem Weg nach Ollantaytambo gemacht. Dort haben wir die nächste Inka Stätte besichtigt und mussten hierzu ca. 350 Stufen erklimmen. Diese haben wir mit Leichtigkeit getan. 😂😂 Der Ausblick von diesen Terassen war gigantisch und man konnte auf die ganze Stadt gucken. Ollantaytambo ist sehr touristisch, da es quasi die letzte Station vor dem Machu Picchu ist und hier der Zug oder der Trail dorthin starten. Die Terassen waren auf 2800m Höhe und gingen steil hinab. Dann liefen wir über einen schmalen Weg den Berghang entlang um an die Lagerhäuser zu kommen. Diese haben die Völker benutzt um Ihre Ernte dort zu konservieren, da diese durch den Wind gekühlt und somit länger haltbar war. Die Stätte hatte auch einen Sonnentempel, der jedes Jahr am 21.06 (Sommersonnenwende) im Fokus steht sobald die Sonne aufgeht. Die Stätte war sehr interessant, da man hier auch gut das "Kastensystem" der Bevölkerung sehen konnte. Den restlichen Tag haben wir Ollantaytambo erkundet und uns für den morgigen Trail ausgeruht. Morgen erwartet uns der Regenwald, dort können uns Schlangen, SPINNEN und andere Tier begegnen. 😳😳 Es erwarten uns 12 Kilometer davon 6km bergauf, 4km eben und 2km bergrunter. Ziel ist dann das Sonnentor des Machu Picchu und dort werden wir ihn das erstmal zu Gesicht bekommen. Wir können uns es noch gar nicht vorstellen eins der Weltwunder zu sehen. 😊
    PS: Wir haben gestern einen wunderschönen Sternenhimmel gesehen aber leider kann ich dies bildlich nicht ganz wieder geben. Aber das Kreuz des Südens und einen leichten Schweif einer Milchstraße waren zu erkennen 😊😊😊
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  • Day6

    Ollantaytambo, Pérou

    December 10, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Quel bon moment passé au milieu de la vallée sacrée des Incas. Une fois avoir gravie les plusieurs centaines de marches de cette imposante forteresse qui surplombe le village, le paysage est juste à coupé le souffle !Read more

  • Day20

    The Day of Reckoning

    May 17, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    Today has been our most challenging day so far. It started with the wake up alarm at 5.00 am, followed by breakfast at 6.00, then packing the bags and preparing for a long day on the bikes.This time we headed north out of Cusco, in the direction of Ollantaytambo (the stepping off point for any trip to Machu Picchu).

    After an preliminary visit to a alpaca textile factory we met up with the cycling support team. Although there are only 13 of us, there are almost as many support staff. As well as Jaeko, who is our main guide, we also have Diego and Jimmy as our two cycling guides. Then we have three drivers for the vehicles, a cook and assistant for the meals. There is also another guy who has been following us with a drone to make a movie, although we hated the drone and discussed various ways to knock it out of the sky. I think he got the message and there has been no sign of him today.

    Straight after getting on the bikes we were out in the rural highlands, surrounded by towering, rugged and often snow capped peaks. The skies have continued to be clear and the weather mild. Today we had an early cool breeze to make the cycling conditions absolutely perfect. Now that we had gained some experience on these bikes, we felt ready to tackle some of the much more technical riding we had today.

    After three days at this altitude we found ourselves still struggling for air as our ride took us up to near 3900 metres, but it is amazing how the human body adapts and our recovery periods are getting progressively shorter and shorter. There is absolutely no way that we could have even attempted this a couple of days earlier.

    We stopped for a late lunch by the circular terraces at Moray. This place was built by the Incas to grow and experiment with different types of crops. It consists of an enormous natural depression in the ground which has been developed into a descending succession of circular terraces. Each progressively lower terrace has a warmer climate and can be used for a different crop. The construction is a staggering example of the technical brilliance of the Incas.

    After lunch we had our first taste of exciting downhill riding as we descended 100's of metres down to the sacred valley. Our final stop was the breathtaking ancient salt mines of Marais.

    We finally rolled into Ollantaytambo well after dark,exhausted but all very happy that we had experienced one of the best cycling days in our lives.
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  • Day24

    Closer to the Lost City

    May 21, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    After another early start (but not quite as early as the previous day) we proceeded to follow the Rio Urubamba through the Sacred Valley. On our right hand side towered the huge Mount Veronica. At 5900 metres in height, it's ice capped summit dominates the surrounding peaks. This mountain was to be our companion for the rest of the trek.

    The trek itself was undulating. The path never seemed to be horizontal and by noon the heat of the sun was quite overwhelming. Each time we reached a patch of shade we rejoiced at the temporary respite. Looking down we saw the turbulent waters of the Urubamba, seeming to show the way to Machu Picchu.

    After another challenging day's walk we were very glad when we arrived at the permanent campsite at Apu Veronica. I had stayed there before on my previous trek in 2010, so the place had a familiar feel to it.

    To protect from the howling winds at this point, the tents are covered by straw shelters. I am sure that the cooking staff were also glad to have something resembling a real kitchen to prepare our food in. There was even a sauna for those brave enough to face the searing heat inside. I certainly wasn't.

    By this time in our trek we were all excited that the goal of reaching the Lost City of the Incas was due to be achieved the following afternoon, however in South America plans are apt to change at the last moment. And they did.

    We had originally planned to travel a short distance in the train and then resume our trek a little further on. Without reason the train company decided that it would no longer stop at Apu Veronica and, unless we were willing to jump on a moving train, this plan was no longer possible.

    The only alternative was to hire a bus to take us all the way back to Ollantaytambo and catch the train there. This meant a 4.00 am start to the final day ! Oh well, some things were never meant to be easy.
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  • Day97

    Machu Picchu - mehr schlecht als recht

    January 14, 2019 in Peru ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    Von Cusco aus fahren wir in das „heilige Tal“ der Inkas bis nach Oallantaytambo. Dieser kleine Ort ist der Ausgangspunkt der Peru Raliway zum Machu Picchu. Da wir insbesondere zur Regenzeit nicht den viertägigen Inka-Trail nach Machu Picchu laufen wollen, haben wir vorab Tickets für die Bahn und für die Inka-Festung gekauft. Die Bahn soll uns kurz vor zwölf mit einer zwei stündigen fahrt nach Agua Caliente (Bahnstation beim Machu Picchu)
    bringen, von wo aus wir die letzten Kilometer zur Inka-Festung per Bus zurücklegen wollen.

    Auf dem Weg zum Zug kommt bereits zum ersten mal an diesem Tag Stress auf, denn wir haben vergessen die Lenkradkralle und die Wegfahrsperre zu aktivieren. Wir drehen sicherheitshalber nochmal um und korrigieren unser Versehen. Der Weg vom Parkplatz zur Bahnstation ist weiter als ursprünglich angenommen. Wir hasten zum Bahnhof, an dem uns dann aber Entwarnung gegeben wird, denn unser Zug ist noch nicht da. Schließlich steigen wir mit 30 Minuten Verspätung in den orientalisch anmutenden Zug ein und tuckern los. Wir freuen uns, dass es nun losgeht und sind voller Vorfreude auf die Inka-Festung. Die Fahrt, in dem mit Panoramafenstern ausgestatteten Zug, führt durch eindrucksvolle Natur. Wir fahren durch den saftigen Regenwald Perus, vorbei an hohen, grünen, steilen Bergen und einem reißenden Fluß. Die Vorfreude weicht mehr und mehr einer inneren Unruhe, als die Fahrt bei strömenden Regen, zunehmend ins Stocken gerät. Um 14 Uhr hätten wir schon längst angekommen sein müssen, stecken aber nun, noch weit entfernt von unserem Zielbahnhof, wegen eines Erdrutsches auf den Gleisen, fest. Unser Puls steigt an, denn unser Besuch der Inka-Festung droht ins Wasser zu fallen, da unsere Eintrittskarten für die Festung nur von 14 Uhr bis 17:30 Uhr gelten. Die Gleise werden schließlich aber doch noch freigelegt und wir kommen um 16:20 Uhr mit 2,5 Stunden Verspätung am Bahnhof in Agua Caliente an. Eine Besichtigung der Festung erscheint uns heute zeitlich unmöglich und so eilen wir im Bahnhof zum Ticketschalter um dort unsere Optionen zu besprechen. Da die Zuggesellschaft wenig kulant ist, eilen wir quer über einen Tourimarkt zur Bushaltestelle, wo es uns mittels unserer Überredungskünste gelingt, ohne Fahrschein in den letzten Bus zur Inka-Festung einzusteigen. Oben angekommen, kaufen wir die Busfahrkarten und können mit etwas Glück, den Eingang zur Festung, als letzte Gäste des Tages, passieren. Da uns bis zur Schließung um 18 Uhr nur noch 45 Minuten bleiben, eilen wir im Regen die vielen Stufen zur Festung hinauf, um von dort die atemberaubende Kulisse zu bestaunen. Wir machen viele Fotos und sind sehr gestresst aber auch glücklich, dass wir unser Ziel, die Festung zu besichtigen, heute doch noch erreicht haben. Mit dem letzten Bus fahren wir anschließend zurück zur Bahnstation, wo immer noch Chaos herrscht, da viele Reisende aufgrund der verschütteten Gleise auf Alternativfahrten warten. Wir stürmen vorbei an einer langen Schlange am Eingang des Bahnhofs, zeigen unseren Fahrschein vor und werden durchgelassen. Wir werden darüber informiert, dass unser Zug bereits abgefahren ist, dann aber promt in einem anderen Zug platziert und treten die Rückreise an. Es scheint als hätten wir ein Upgrade bekommen, denn uns werden Getränke und ein Sandwich serviert. Zudem wird uns noch eine traditionelle Tanzeinlage und eine kleine Modenschau mit anschließender Verkaufsveranstaltung dargeboten. Als wir zurück im Sprinty ankommen, sind wir, aufgrund der Strapazen des Tages, sehr geschafft, aber auch froh, dass es schlussendlich mit unserem Tagestrip zum Machu Pichu doch noch geklappt hat.
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  • Day20

    The Ghostriders Conquer the Urubamba

    May 17, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    The Urubamba River is the river that made the sacred valley of the Incas. Over millions of years it has carved this amazing valley which has become one of the cradles of civilisation. It not only flows past the famous site of Machu Picchu, but it later joins the mighty Amazon and eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Today's ride plan was simple - to follow the river along a rough side track for about 3 hours. It sounded quite easy. Actually it wasn't.

    The hardships for two of our group actually began the previous evening. After dinner Steve and Gil decided that they needed to augment their dwindling cash and visited one of the only two ATMs in Ollantaytambo. They inserted their card and waited. And waited. Nothing happened and the machine decided that they had no right to get their card back. Considering their misfortunes of the previous day, one could be forgiven for thinking that these poor folk were destined to have bad luck throughout the trip.

    Apparently they then spent more time on the Internet cancelling the card and making other arrangements to survive for the next few weeks. It was certainly an inauspicious start to their trip. However more trails were to lie ahead for our group.

    We began the day by driving upstream along the Urubamba River for about 60 km from Ollantaytambo. The plan was then to ride along a rough track along the far side of the river, downstream for several hours. It sounded simple.

    We began in glorious conditions under another clear sky and were soon bouncing along over rocks and huge culverts in the path. The bikes did a sensational job in coping with these conditions. It is little wonder that they cost an eye watering $2800 USD each. They certainly are very well adapted for this type of riding, although it was a pity that my body was not equally as well adapted as the bike I was riding.

    I had not ridden very far before I started to feel like my nether regions were being scraped with sand paper. This is every riders worst nightmare. I wriggled in the seat. I lifted my backside off the seat. I moved forward and backward. Still sore. I was not looking forward to another 3 or more hours of this posterior torture, but there was nothing I could do but grin and bear it. Why oh why hadn't I used some of that magic cream that was hiding somewhere in my suitcase ? Good question.

    The path itself undulated up and down and the rough surface certainly challenged most of our riders who were not experienced mountain bikers. David suffered the first puncture of the ride when a tack lodged in his rear tyre. A short time later it was my turn when my front tyre went down. I ended up swapping bikes with Jimmy (one of our cycling guides). This was most kind of him. The only problem is that Jimmy is about a foot shorter than me and his bike was about the size of a midget BMX. I was therefore quite relieved when we reached the lunch spot at a rather late 2 pm and was told that the riding was over for the day.

    We then transferred to a restaurant for lunch. A pan pipe player was playing El Condor Pasa. Actually someone has been playing this same song almost everywhere we have been since we arrived in Cusco 4 days ago. I think we will hear it a lot more before this trip is over.

    We finally arrived back in Ollantaytambo about 4 pm . After showering and changing we were able to spend some time exploring this fascinating and very much frontier town. Then it was time for a coffee and snack. We found a lovely cafe that had been started by a young American girl who had been working for an NGO organisation before settling in Ollantaytambo. She loved the place and decided to start a business here. I really admire such people who have the courage and imagination to live a remarkable life. I hope her business succeeds. She deserves it.

    It was also soon after arriving back in Ollantaytambo that a remarkable coincidence took place. I knew that Liz and Priscilla Kwok were travelling in South America on another World Expeditions trip at about the same time as us, but we were not prepared to see them actually book into our hotel ! What were the chances of what ? We felt a little like that famous meeting between Stanley and Livingstone as we welcomed and embraced out two Australian friends who were so far away from home.
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  • Day21

    Cycling the Abra Malaga Pass

    May 18, 2018 in Peru ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

    The country of Peru is roughly cut down the middle by the mighty Andes mountain range. To the east is the hot and wet jungles of the Amazon region and to the west are the dry highlands that formed the major part of the Incan Empire. The Abra Malaga Pass at 4500 m is one of the major connecting points between these two disparate regions.

    Our major task for today was to cycle the Abra Malaga Pass. I guess if I was 20 years younger, 20 kg lighter and 20 IQ points more stupid, I could have tried to peddle up this mighty mountain, however our plan was to do the reverse. It is still something of a mental and physical challenge.

    After spending the first hour of the day climbing the amazing stone terraces above Ollantaytambo, we then boarded the bus for the 2 hour drive to the pass. Although the weather in Ollantaytambo was already quite warm, at the pass itself it was absolutely freezing. We all donned thermals, jackets, vests, scarves and anything else we could find.

    There is no much at the pass apart from an interesting little church. There was also the twisted ruins of a vehicle which had presumably missed one of the many precipitous switchbacks on the road. Since this is such a strategic connecting point between Cusco and the Amazon there were also a steady stream of buses and trucks making their way over the pass.

    After a photo at the summit we were off. Many hearts were in a state of panic at the thought of the vertiginous descent that lay ahead, but to my delight, every one in the team decided to go ahead. Soon we were snaking our way down the road, taking care to make sure the speed was kept under control.

    I had not gone far before I realised that all was not well with my bike. Each time the front wheel rotated, the handlebars bumped alarmingly. This was the tyre that had been repaired the previous day and obviously it had not been replaced correctly.At first I thought I should just grin and bare it, however I worried about the safety if the tyre came off the rim. I called ahead for the team to stop. The guides tinkered with the bike for some time but could not fix the problem. That meant I had to complete the rest of the 38 km descent with a front wheel that was vibrating alarmingly. Oh well, it certainly added to the excitement.

    I won't try to describe the scenery, other than to say it was absolutely spectacular. Some things can never be described, they just have to be experienced. I can assure you that everyone made it safely to the bottom of the mountain at Ollantaytambo and the exhilaration that we all felt was amazing.

    Tomorrow we begin the 4 day trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, meaning that we will be out of all contact until we get back to Cusco in 5 day's time.
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  • Day22

    The Track to Machu Picchu

    May 19, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    We all knew that this was going to be a long day - and it was. It began with an early breakfast and a complete repacking of our trekking gear into a lightweight duffel bag. But before we could begin the trek, we still had some awesome cycling to do.

    Our cycling guides took us back up the sacred valley along a potholed dirt track, until we were back high in the mountains. Unlike the previous day's ride down the Abra Malaga Pass, this one was going to be a real test of our ability to handle mountain bikes on a rough descent at relatively high speed. Several of our riders decided that discretion would be the better part of valour and decided to stay in the vehicle instead. The rest of us donned knee protectors, elbow protectors, helmets, etc and prepared for an exciting and challenging downhill thrill ride. We weren't disappointed.

    We were soon descending rapidly, while at the same time concentrating on letting the bikes do the lion's share of the work. It was hardly ever necessary to pedal, but it required constant concentration to keep the bike under control. At each switchback corner the surface of the road was covered with a treacherous layer of fine dust, sometimes several cm thick.

    In spite of the dangers we all managed to stay upright and reach Ollantaytambo safely. We then sadly packed the cycle gear for the final time and bade farewell to the tremendous cycling support staff. Because Diego, Jimmy and the rest of the crew really had done a fantastic job in looking after us.

    After a flying visit back to the Tikawasi Hotel to change into our trekking gear, it was time to return to the bus for another drive far back up the Urubamba River to begin our trek. The destination for the first section of the trek was the hamlet of Marcacocha at 3400m above sea level.

    Although the elevation was high, the temperature certainly was not. Once the sun disappeared behind the mountains, the temperature plummeted to around zero. Everyone started looking for extra clothes to pile on to avoid freezing solid.

    As the night descended a number of us stood outside to gaze at the incredible night sky and some unfamiliar constellations. While we were standing staring at the heavens we all witnessed the most incredible astronomical sight that I had ever seen. Right where we were all looking a huge fireball appeared and proceeded to carve a line across the sky, parallel to the ground. Trailing behind the fireball was a tail of glowing debris. We stood in amazement and I held my breath, waiting for the explosion as it hit the ground. In a lifetime of watching the stars, I had never seen such a dramatic and prolonged example of a large meteor. Fortunately there was no explosion and it died before hitting the ground. Nevertheless, it is something that none of us will ever forget.

    After the fireball we made the first difficult foray into our sleeping bags. I know that the older I get the harder this process becomes. After a painful series of contortions and spasms I manged to partially insert my body into the confines of the bag, although my top half would have to take its own chances with the icy conditions. I then set about trying to manufacture some sort of pillow out of cast off clothes and other oddments.

    If getting into a sleeping bag is hard, then getting up in the middle of the night for a "nature break" is at least two orders of magnitude even more difficult. First you have to fumble about in the dark for the torch that should be there somewhere. Then you have to don enough clothes to ensure some degree of decency and protection from the frigid conditions. Finally come the shoes and the fight with the tent zipper to make an escape into the outside world.

    You then stumble across the campsite under the stars, do the deed and then repeat the whole process in reverse. It's certainly not easy.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Ollantaytambo, オリャンタイタンボ, ოლიანტაიტამბო, Oljantaintambas, Олантајтамбо, Ullantaytampu, Ольянтайтамбо, 奧揚泰坦博

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