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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Viva El Peru: Ollantaytambo

After we visited the Pisac market, we stopped to have lunch on our way to Ollantaytambo.  To give a little context to the distance between these places, the Aranwa Hotel is located halfway between Pisac and Ollaytaytambo, so we had to backtrack to get to the second part of our day.  We stopped at a restaurant called Toto's House (phone: (5184) 242037-234312) which was really pretty and had a really pleasant outdoor seating area, but consisted of a buffet lunch - and we were clearly the last ones to the buffet.  Many of the items were low or out and the dressings and sauces looked like they had been sitting out for awhile.  The food was generally good, but it would have been a much better meal if we had arrived a couple of hours earlier.

The great thing about arriving late was that the girls could run around and burn off some steam for a bit.  The stairs kept little Talia busy for quite awhile - I just love this picture of her enjoying herself on those stairs!

One of the more distinguishing factors of Toto's House is the large garden that is located at the front of the restaurant.  It would be interesting to know the percentage of food that this garden supplies to the restaurant (if any, they never explicitly said that the garden provided anything to the restaurant, I just assumed...) because it is such a large and well-groomed plot of land.  It certainly makes Toto's house distinctive to see from the road.

After lunch we hopped back in the car for another 30 minute drive to the Ollantaytambo ruins.  This site was most famously known for it's role in protecting Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance from the Spanish invasion in the 1540s.  Now it is known to tourist mostly because it is the kick off point for the multi-day long Inca Trail hiking and camping path - something that we opted not to try.

When we arrived it was quite a bit cooler than earlier in the day at the Pisac ruins, simply because the sun had dipped below the mountain line at this point.  We each added a jacket, plopped the girls in the backpacks and headed up some more stairs. We had some clothing adjusting to do as you can see in this picture of Gretchen - but after that we were ready to go.

Ollantaytambo consisted of an entire village where the important religious and wealthy members of the town lived up higher than the rest of the population.  It was also a fortified village, when looking down from the higher points you can see the remains of a stone barrier wall around the perimeter. There is also a neighboring mountain that houses some interesting buildings adjacent to the ruins.  It was explained to us that these buildings were for food and supply storage, a great idea, but difficult to imagine having to retrieve those goods from wayyyyy over there.

Like Pisac, this was one of a few sites that we saw that didn't use any sort of mortar or filling between the stones of the construction.  The stone masters were incredible architects and crafted their stones to be perfect fitting to each other.  Incredible.

One of the more distinctive aspects of these ruins were this wall of stones multiple times larger than the rest of the stones used in this construction.  This wall is called the "Wall of the Six Monoliths" for obvious reasons and we were told that each of the six weighs ~190 tons.

At this point in time, Gretchen was just about done with her backpack.  
We got this nice shot right before she had really met her limit. 

And then we had to descend all of these stairs...

And then we were really out of time with the little ones.  We descended the stairs and then immediately took the babies out of their backpacks.  It was an incredible day and an amazing introduction to our Inca Empire experience.

1 comment:

  1. Great blogging Dawn. So enjoying seeing other parts of the world through you and your lens!