Wednesday — April 8After a good night’s rest, I was raring to go when I woke up around 6:00a. Even Mui, who’d had a bit of difficulty with his breathing yesterday while we were at the highest altitude of our trip, was ready to take on the Ruins of Ollantaytambo. Low-lying clouds were covering the tops of the nearby mountains when I stepped out for a peek at the scenery before breakfast. Patches of blue sky gave hope for a nice morning at the ruins that were visible from Hostal Sauce in the light of day. In fact, except for a few sprinkles here and there, we had a grand morning.
Glimpse of the Inca ruins from Hostal Sauce.Around 7:00a, we met up with Vidal for breakfast, which was set up on the ground floor of the hotel. All of the buffet items were fresh and tasty — I especially enjoyed the fresh, cut-up fruit and the warm crêpes that were served with homemade jam. As we were finishing breakfast, we were joined by a family visiting from our neck of the US — it’s a small world. We chatted with them for a while before taking our leave and heading to the ruins.
Breakfast is at 7:00a unless an earlier time is requested.
(the chullos on the wall are part of the proprietor’s extensive collection)
The ruins of Ollantaytambo from a street in town.
There are over 200 steps to the top — and they’re steep!
Apu Pinkuylluna towers over the town.Although the site did serve a defensive purpose, it was built as a ceremonial center, using stones from a quarry located high on a mountain on the other side of the Urubamba River (about four miles [6.5 km] away). I can’t fathom how they managed to move these massive stones — after all, they didn’t have vehicles to use for transport (the wheel did not exist) or cranes to lift them. I know they had thousands of workers and that they built ramps to get the stones from the quarry to the construction site … still, the effort it must have taken! Combine that with the smoothness of the polished stones and the alignment of their placement, and you have something that is awe-inspiring. Even the fact that construction was interrupted by the Spanish conquest does not detract from the spectacular nature of the site.Ollantaytambo has gone into history books as being one of the few places in Perú to have successfully resisted Spanish attacks. The story goes that after Manco Inca was defeated at Sacsayhuaman, he retreated to Ollantaytambo, where he managed to defeat the Spanish force that was sent to capture him (flooding the plains below the fortress was partially responsible for this success). Alas, his victory was short-lived; the Spanish returned with a much bigger army and defeated Manco Inca, forcing him to retreat to Vilcabamba in the jungle.
Catching our breath at the ruins of Ollantaytambo.
(photo by Vidal)
Vidal demonstrates the tightness of the joints — a hallmark of Inca construction.
Push, Mui, I can’t move this stone slab by myself!
(photo by Vidal)