Ollantaytambo Is More Peaceful Than Cusco And Their Ruins Are Incredible!
Most tourists on their way to Machu Picchu make the larger, bustling town of Cusco as their home base. Since my South American journey was coming to an end, I wanted my last days to be in a more peaceful setting. The village of Ollantaytambo was the ideal place to achieve the tranquility I so desperately desired. Believe me, after another 24-hour journey with 2 taxis, 2 buses, and a shared van ride, I could use a place with few people and little noise. I splurged and spent three nights at the luxurious Hotel El Albergue, which is built within lush gardens along the Patakancha River. After staying in cramped hostels rooms, it was lovely to sleep on beautifully pressed white sheets covering a firm and large mattress – an ideal spot to acclimatize to the high elevation (2,792 m.a.s.l.).
In the mornings I strolled through the colorful, cobblestone village of Ollantaytambo observing the many local men and women carrying bushels of ‘leaves’ on their backs. I wandered into the shops and happily conversed with the owners about their products. They were friendly and curious about where I was from and what brought me to this ‘far away place.’
In the late afternoons, I explored the many Inca Andenes (terraces) that ascend above Ollantaytambo. Climbing the uneven steps it took to reach the terrace summits proved to be a challenge in the higher elevation. When I finally made it to the top, the views were well worth the huffing, puffing and slight dizziness. Without getting into too much detail, the same ‘issue’ I had in Rome (see Story 2) happened to me at the top of one of Ollantaytambo Terraces. Luckily there were a few walls still standing and dogs roaming around to take the blame. Not my finest hour, again.