Tuesday — April 7An uneventful drive brought us from Salineras to Ollantaytambo — the end of the road in the Sacred Valley. Well, OK; the road does continue for a bit from here into some of the nearby villages, but for the average visitor, this town is literally the end of the road. There’s only two ways out from here — you can take the train or you can hoof it out of town. We'll be using the train, thank you very much. But that's a story for another time. Night had fallen and our tummies were signaling dinner time, but we went to Hostal Sauce first to check in. (Hostal simply means a hotel that has less than 50 rooms; in the case of El Sauce, that means 8 rooms.)
Sauce means “weeping willow” in Quechua.As luck would have it, the room that we had requested (13 or 15; with a view of the ruins) was not available for the night and we were temporarily put in room 16. Our spacious room is decorated quite simply. It has twin beds with cozy comforters, en suite facilities, and an electric space heater to break the nighttime chill. On the pillows we found chocolates and miniature clay pots with a note bidding guests a good night; a cute little gift. Although the room is technically on the opposite side from the ruins, the window looking out on the narrow service corridor, which is fronted by large panes of glass, provides us with a direct view of the ruins, but we'll have to wait until daylight to see them.
Good night chocolate with pillow gift.After settling into our temporary quarters, we joined Vidal and headed out to get a bite to eat. It didn’t take us long to walk the short distance to the town square. I had a list of recommended restaurants to pick from and heading the list was Hearts Café, known for serving good, homemade fare as well as supporting programs focused on improving health, nutrition, education, and cultural and natural conservation in the Sacred Valley communities. Nothing like supporting a good cause while enjoying good food. Everything on the menu looked good. Wanting to keep it light, I ordered the lentil soup — it was very tasty and quite filling. Mui opted for the quinoa soup, which he deemed excellent. We topped off our meal with an order of banoffi (banana pie) that was really yummy.
Dinner at Hearts Café brings the day to a close.Afterwards, we wandered around the square for a bit, but the nighttime chill quickly drove us back to the hotel. Tonight we rest … tomorrow we start exploring again. The plan is to take it easy during our two-day stay in this charming town. Will we do that? Wait and see. Next Up: Day 6 — Ollantaytambo: the Ruins