Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The long road to Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes

From Urubamba, we drove to Ollantaytambo to take the train to Machu Picchu.  There was time before the train for a short tour of the old Inca town with many original Inca streets and walls.  It has some of the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in South America.  High above the town were remnants of what were described as silos for storage from Inca times.  Temple Hill was an impressive fortress-like structure in town although it was really a temple.  We would be visiting this on our way back from Machu Picchu.  More on this later.

Silos above the town's Inca streets.

Original Inca doorways and courtyards

Not an Inca door but a nice one with the Inca cross
We visited with a local family in this original Inca house and courtyard.  It's a one room home where the family slept, cooked, ate and raised guinea pigs (cuy - a delicacy here) to supplement the household income.  

Guinea pigs raised as a delicacy
The family altar - you can see the ancestors' skulls near the top of the photo

Dried goods

Ancient walkways

Temple hill

The train to Machu Picchu
with the Vista Dome

The train ran along the Urubamba River cutting through the fertile Sacred Valley.  If you are taking it, try to get a seat on the left side of the train as that is the river side.  Lots to see beside the river.

The 4 day Inca trail started at this bridge just a short distance out of Ollantaytambo

The town of Agua Calientes where the train dropped us off and we took a bus up to Machu Picchu.  It was a 25 minute ride on a rough mud road with hairpin bends.  I was surprised I did not get car sick.

Finally, the entrance to Machu Picchu -

and here is the much awaited view...

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