Ollyantambo - a magical little town

Trip Start Aug 23, 2008
Trip End Sep 28, 2008

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Friday, September 5, 2008

The entrance to the town of Ollyantambo was lovely.. an ancient cobbled stone road led up the last hill to the entrance to the village and as we rounded the corner it spread into a wonderful tree'd plaza (square)! - sooo good...!

Our bus rolled into the square right on dusk and it was filled with dozens of people sitting around, chatting and just relaxing at the end of their day and all dressed in their colourful minority clothes and bowler hats- it looked like it was straight out of a movie.
(I didnt get pictures of it as it was a bit too in your face when our bus pulled up straight in front of them... sigh...another one for the memory bank)

We dumped our bags at the hotel and all went for a short walk around for Cynthia to give us the lowdown again and then it was an early dinner and bed.

The other 5 in our group were all taking off at 7am the next morning, One would do the Machu Picchu trek and 4 plus Cynthia plus 2 other Aussies Neil and Emma were joining them to do the Lares trek.
Only Kathy was doing the Machu Picchu trek as none of the rest of us had booked the trip early enough and only 400 permits a day are issued - it's currently booked out 4 months ahead.
The option of the Lares was offered - which we passed on as there is no highlight or speciality to this trek.. just a lot of hard work walking..hee
Rob and I were quietly relieved that we couldnt do the MP trek as I would have felt guilty not doing it if it was possible.... this way no guilt was necessary as it wasnt my choice..heee .. and now that we're here Im doublely no make that tripperly..(is that a word?..hee) glad we werent trekking as the altitude can really be felt plus the weather has heated up the last few days so it wont be an easy trek. (and 2 of the group have never trekked in their lives....geez.. good luck.. and Claire is carrying most of her makeup kit with her.. scarey...hee heee

Earl trekked to Machu Picchu a couple of years ago AND carried his own pack!!.. very impressive... but with your own pack Earl??... geez.. how to wreck a good trek Id say..heee hee

This meant that rob and I could have a nice relax with a couple of days on our own.... sounding good.. and Cusco is waiting for us..

Ollyantamba besides being a lovely little town with cobbled laneways to wander in also has an huge Inca Ruin overlooking the town... pretty spectacular really.

So after breaky Rob and I spent a couple of hours climbing the terraces of the ruins.

Then we just wandered around all the little laneways in the village taking looks whenever we were able into the courtyards beyond the cobblestone fences.

We came across the local food market with more wonderful photo ops (wish I didnt have to do just sneak snaps.. Ill love to get some proper shots - but hey would I want a tourist taking a photo of me shopping....?? not..hee)

anyway... finally stopping for a coffee and lots of people watching at the town square.

The town was great to walk around as many of the buildings are still sitting on top of original Inca foundations and is supposedly the best surviving example of Inca town planning in Peru.

Even the original doorways of noblemans houses from centries ago are still there and in use as entrances to peoples courtyards and houses today.. amazing and hard to get the head around.. its as if it is, as it was, 100's of years ago.

Before we knew it it was 3pm and a car was coming to pick us up to take us the 1 1/2 hours back to Cusco.

We took the alternate way from the day before which completed the circle road of the valley. The scenery cant be described and should be listed as one of the best scenic drives.

Arriving back at our hotel in Cusco at dusk and just in time to collect all our clean laundry.. back in business and a couple of nice days to relax ahead.

Skip the following history spiel if your not interested.. I like the story so am putting it in here for my memories in the years to come....Weve been seeing and hearing for days of how the Spanish took over the Americas defeating the Incas and so its good see they lost this time (but as I said.. just skip over..hee)

Ollantaytambo is at the western end of the Sacred Valley (about two hours from Cusco) and is located at the foot of spectacular Inca ruins which were built to protect the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba Valley. Stone used for the buildings was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba river - whcih took the efforts of thousands of workers.

The Inca archaelogical site was the place where Manco Inca retreated to in (1536) to after being defeated near Cusco. The Spanish led a force of 70 cavalry, 30 foot soldiers and a large contingent (1000's?) of natives to capture Manco Inca. But the Inca's forces, joined by neighboring jungle tribes, rained down showers of arrows, spears and rocks on the Spanish troops. Then the Incas in a brilliant move flooded the plains below their stronghold making it difficult for the horses to maneuver. The Spanish retreated which resulted in Ollantaytambo becaming the only place ever to have resisted attacks from the Spanish. -
However, their victory was short-lived when the Spanish returned with four times their previous force. Manco Inca retreated to his jungle stronghold in Vilcabamba and Ollantaytambo fell into the hands of the Spanish..... oh well... they gave it their best shot I guess..
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