Tag Archives: Peru

El Albergue and the Ollantaytambo train station

El Albergue Hotel, Ollantaytambo

El Albergue Hotel, Ollantaytambo

Our hotel in Ollantaytambo is basically on the train platform. It has been quite interesting to watch the constantly changing scene of people, trains, cars and buses. Every trip out brings vast changes.

Ollantaytambo train station

Ollantaytambo train station

At times the street and platform are totally quiet, devoid of all people and traffic. At the other extreme is pure chaos of trains, buses, taxis, street vendors, police, conductors, locals and tourists. The morning starts at 5am with the adventure tourist crowd headed to Machu Picchu and the arrival of the street vendors and local workers.

Ferrocarril Street, Ollantaytambo

Ferrocarril Street, Ollantaytambo

A lull follows until the trains start to arrive from Cusco. Suddenly the street is full of porters humping huge packs of gear up the road and piling it on top of buses. Tourists hiking the Inca trail send their baggage on to Aguas Calientes and I can only gather that this is the first stage for the baggage trip.

The early and late trains are full of young backpackers, staying in hostels and carrying all their possessions in a backpack. The more well to do sleep in hotels, take a train after sunrise and have others carry their baggage should they choose to hike. I admire the former, but find myself at present appreciating te fact that I can make the hike without schlepping a huge pack.

The Hotel itself is quite lovely. It has 16 large and comfortable rooms, though I would try to avoid the rooms directly facing the train tracks. The restaurant is one of the best in town, and a made to order breakfast is included. The hotel is about a 10 minute walk from the heart of town, but is very convenient to the train station.

El Albergue Hotel, Ollantaytambo

Dining room at El Albergue, Ollantaytambo

Dining room at El Albergue, Ollantaytambo

Comments

Filed under Peru

Connections

The world is full of small connections. Ollantaytambo is no exception. I bought two books in preparation for our trip. One a guide book by Ruth Wright. The other a book on the engineering design of Machu Picchu by her husband Ken Wright.
Mike Klinke and I were looking at the water features of Ollantaytambo when we ran into a man laeding a team of students from UVA (my alma matter) who were doing a hydrological survey. The team was being led by none other than Ken Wright – and we were invited to meet him and his wife!

Jeff with Ken and Ruth Wright

Jeff with Ken and Ruth Wright

The next morning at breakfast, who walks in but Ken and Ruth. They had heard about the hotel having some old photographs they wanted to see. We were able to introduce them to the owner’s son whom we had gotten to know.
I of course took the opportunity to have Ruth and Ken sign my book.

Comments

Filed under Peru

More Ollantaytambo photos

Here are a few more pictures from Ollantaytambo. Unfortunately I don’t have a way to download from my good camera, so you are stuck with those taken on my phone.

image

image

image

image

image

image

Comments

Filed under Peru

Moray and Salineras

Yesterday afternoon we hired a taxi to take us from Ollantaytambo to Moray and on to Salineras. The total trip took us about 5 hours over winding mountain roads. Our driver, Carlos, was great and waited patiently while we visited both sites. Total cost for the cab was about $30.

Our first stop was Moray. The following is courtesy of Wikipedia.

Moray is an archaeological site… on a high plateau at about 3500 m (11,500 ft) … The site contains unusual Inca ruins, mostly consisting of several enormous terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is about 30 m (98 ft) deep. The purpose of these depressions is uncertain, but their depth and orientation with respect to wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15 °C (27 °F) between the top and bottom. This large temperature difference was possibly used by the Inca to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops. In other words, Moray was perhaps an Inca agricultural experiment station. As with many other Inca sites, it also has a sophisticated irrigation system.

imageimageThe drive itself was spectaular as we made our way through the mountains above Urubamba.

On the road between Moray and Salineras

On the road between Moray and Salineras

Near Maras, Peru

Near Maras, Peru

Salineras is a vast array of salt evaporation ponds. The local stream Carries salt leeched out of the rocks. The water is diverted to the numerous ponds where the water evaporates leaving the salt.

Salineras

Salineras

Comments

Filed under Peru

Ollantaytambo, Peru

This morning we visited the fortress temple at Ollantaytambo. The site has been occupied for over 600 years. It was here that Manco Inca led the Incas to their only defeat of the Spanish. The site has outstanding religious, agricultural and military sites. We hired a local guide to take us through the site for  S/50 or about $20 which was well worth it. He spent about an hour with us, walking through the site, discussing the architecture, history and culture.

Guide describing the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo

Guide describing the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo Fortress

Ollantaytambo Fortress

Inca stonework at Ollantaytambo Fortress

Inca stonework at Ollantaytambo Fortress

Ollantaytmbo

Ollantaytmbo

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo

Monoliths at Ollantaytambo

Monoliths at Ollantaytambo

Terraces at Ollantaytambo

Terraces at Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo

Water channel at Ollantaytambo

water channels at Ollantaytambo water channels at Ollantaytambo

image

Comments

Filed under Peru

Peruvian food

It has not taken us long to begin sampling the local cuisine. Last night it was alpaca steaks and burgers. This morning it is coca tea and tomales.

image

Comments

Filed under Peru

Trains in Ollantaytambo

No need for an alarm clock. As you can see from the photo the train station in Ollantaytambo is just outside my window.

 

image

Ollantaytambo train station

Ollantaytambo train station

Ollantaytambo Train Station

Ollantaytambo Train Station

 

Comments

Filed under Peru

Peru at last! Cuzco to Ollantaytambo

After a long night and a frenzied dash through the Lima airport we finally arrived in Cusco. The poor driver had waited at the airport since 7am when we finally stumbled out after collecting our baggage at 11:30.

flags in Cuzco

flags in Cuzco

Sacred Valley, Peru

Sacred Valley, Peru

Urubamba River

Urubamba River

Motor Taxis in Urubamba

Motor Taxis in Urubamba

It took us about 1:45 to make our way down the Sacred Valley from Cusco to Ollantaytambo where we are staying. Cusco reminded us of our arrival in Naples, Italy a few years back with its chaotic traffic.
Ollantaytambo has a timeless feeling that I really enjoy. Minus the tourists it seems to have changed little in 500 years. We quickly settled in and had a great lunch near the historic Inca fortress and then spent the rest of the afternoon walking around town.

Bell tower in Ollantaytambo

Bell tower in Ollantaytambo

Colorful clothes in Ollantaytambo

Colorful clothes in Ollantaytambo

Inca stonework in Ollantaytambo

Inca stonework in Ollantaytambo

Plaza de Armas, Ollantaytambo, Peru

Plaza de Armas, Ollantaytambo, Peru

 

Comments

Filed under Peru