Sunday (Domino) 27th June, 2010
Day 471

Ollantaytambo, Peru
Ollantaytambo, Peru
Miles: 46,769
S 13.26030°
W 72.26139°

Ollantaytambo sits at the junction of two river valleys - the Ria Urubamba is the larger and main valley and the Rio Patakacha is a steep side valley. The small flat area of the town in the Urubamba valley is given over to cultivation and the town itself is inside the narrow steep sides of the mouth of the Patakacha. On the West side of the town are the ruins of an Inca fortress with very steep terracing and many building ruins that seem to simply hang on the sides of the cliff. On the east side there are remains of Inca grain store houses. Surprisingly these also hang on the sides of the steep valley. They certainly did not make things easy for themselves.

The town itself has many remnants of its Inca past. There is only one street in the town that is navigable by motor vehicles (thats the one that continues up the valley to other towns). The rest are narrow cobbled walk ways most of which have a channel down one side in which water from the mountains flow (a traditional Inca water system). The houses are all built as compounds with high walls surrounding both the house and interior garden or courtyard. Many of the houses still have traditional Inca stone work as their base or foundation. It is strange to see a poor, mostly mud building sitting on top of that fabulous Inca stone work.

We had a great day exploring the town and the ruins. It was only luck (Max's presence) that caused us to visit this town - we are so glad we did.

The town was in a bit of a turmoil today as the electric power failed about 9:00 in the morning and was not restored by the time we went to bed. This made it very difficult for the restaurants and hotels in the town that are packed with tourists wanting to drink cold beer and have a meal.