With the train not running between Cuzco and Machu Picchu, the only place to catch the train to Machu Picchu was from a tiny town called Ollantaytambo. The name is long and complicated, so I said it over and over to myself as my dad and I traveled via combi from Cuzco… to Chinchero… to Urubamba until we finally arrived in Ollantaytambo. O-yan-tay-tam-bu. O-yan-tay-tam-bu. O-yan-tay-tam-bu.
We got our first glimpse of Ollantaytambo on the first of March when we arrived there on our way to Machu Picchu. But we only had a couple hours there, so we didn’t take the time to explore the ruins that tower over the city. Instead, we ate some food at Heart’s Cafe, which is located off the main plaza in the tiny Sacred Valley city, before jumping on the train to Aguas Caliente.
After visiting Machu Picchu, however, we took the train back to Ollantaytambo from Aguas Caliente and it was then that I finally got a chance to explore the Ollantaytambu ruins. My dad was too tired to climb the ruins with me, so he opted out while I tightened my hiking boots and climbed up the steep stone staircase leading up to the Inca ruins that overlook the city.
As soon as I got to the top of the ruins it started to rain and I made shelter under a stone doorway for several minutes until the rain withdrew enough that I could walk around without getting totally soaked. (Did I mention previously that the rain jacket I brought with me to Peru isn’t really a rain jacket. It absorbs water like crazy! Not a good thing when it has been raining just about every day for the past month and a half.)
On a giant slab of stone at the top of the ruins was this elaborate Inca cross carved into the rock. There were a number of other carvings nearby, but none were as impressive or as noticeable as this.
I walked around the ruins for a while, took a few photos, and then eventually strolled back down to the center of Ollantaytambo and joined my dad at Heart’s Cafe where I devoured some delicious banana pancakes.
The ruins at Ollantaytambo were impressive , but after several days of exploring the Inca ruins in and around Cuzco, Peru… and after having spent an entire day at Machu Picchu the day before, I was a little tired of looking at stone ruins.
From Ollantaytambo, my dad and I took a short combi ride to Urubamba and then hitched a much longer ride from there back to Cuzco. Upon arriving in Cuzco, my dad and I hiked back up to our hostel and crashed for the night. After two days of traveling, very little sleep, and a full day of walking around at Machu Picchu, we were both totally exhausted.