Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ollantaytambo, Perú

I decide to kill 2 condors with one stone and go to the Sacred Valley and Machi Puchu (MP) at the same time. Most of the puriste would not recommend doing so, but I concider myself grey, mixed and borderline enought to do it that way.

I booked my trip from Cuzco, and spend the morning at the PeruRail train station to arrange my trip. I paid US$ 30 for the first leg of my trip from Ollantaytambo-MP and US$ 52 for the second leg of my trip, MP-Cuzco.

Around 1:00 PM on Miercoles Junio 14, I took the first bus from Cuzco to Urubamba and riched the traditionally called the Yucay Valley and most recently Sacred Valley. My 3 hours bus trip was long but nonethless rich in colour and local activities. The 25 places bus was by far exceding by 100 millions people, and my backpack was nothing in term of size compare to their own travelling outfits. After the first bump (4000 meters above sea level) most of the passengers manage to escape from the bus, and I could secure a place close to a window. Like a 5 years old kid looking at an ice cream shop, I spend the remaining part of the journey staring at the magical scenery in front of me. The light was so amazing that I was almost tempted to ask the bus driver to stop and let me do the rest of the 75 kilometers by myself. I never so a light that rich and yet pale. Some sort of retouched photo from the past. Here you could see some local campesinos working on their harvest surrounded by moutains reaching 6000 meters high, there a local bandas march stopping the bus to celebrate a wedding, or even there you could see a National Geographic poster of the entire Sacred Valley. I tried to take some picture through the window, but it was impossible to size the immensity of the thing in front of me. It was around 3PM when we finally dive from the altiplano to the Urumbamba town and I discovered I small town blocked in the middle of a well hand made drawn valley. You know the one you usually draw at school, well the one I usually draw at school then.

Passed the local market, local bull-fight arena (Plaza deToros), and dicover that we were only 3 left in the bus. I did not pay attention to what happen to my motion tank. Strangelly enought, the 3 of us took the next bus to Ollantaytambo, my final destination. We start chatting, and it appears that the girl A. is Canadian from Victoria, and she is in Ollan (this is how cool people called it) volunteering to save some knitting tradition at the local museum. More over, she knows the 2 guys that I met a couple of days before who invited me to their place to save some $ on the MP trip. We gringo-chatted for a while and her novio was prompt enought to time us out on our home sickness. We arrive at sunset and I reach the yellow house after the bridge just on time for a soup and some chit-chat.

The next day (Jueves, 15 de Junio), after a big late breakfast in their backyard (an entire mountain!) I planned to visit the famous ruins of Ollantaytambo (just tolet you know that it is 75 km away from Cuzco and at 2800 meters). I only manage to reach the bottom of the pyramid, and start to fell really sick. I was wondering when it was going to arrive in my trip, and yes I got it just the day before going to MACHU PICHU !!!!! That´s my luck. Must have be a combination of tireness, greacy food and dusty matress. Anyway my throught was on fire and my sinunes started to speak back to me in some wrong terms.


Waht would be a backpaker trip with sickness and stomachache afterall. With some difficulty I manage to climb the terrace of the nearest bar, and drug myself with some Maté de Coca. Do not really remember what happen between my 4th cup mixed 2 Advil and the train but I was stamped and ready to spare the last 1.5 hours with some foreigners who decided to do the same thing as me: going to Machu Pichu. On the train, I was the wagon translator between 4 Irish girls doing a world tour and 2 Spanaird who planned to do it. It is amazing sometime how some people are consumerist even on their approach of travelling, and did not want to learn a least some words of the local, or global language. I was dizzy by the list of places that people went or had to go, and was happy to crash in a not so well bargain bed at Aguas Calientes.

I wish I had some more time in my hands to visit somemore places in this valley, but this is certainly not a place to miss, even if you have to do so on the back of a condor like I did.