When we arrived back to the train station, we found that the tour company had sent a taxi instead of a minibus. We ended up having a great chat with our driver (turns out he’s half Quechua, and ended up teaching Yen some words). We were able to hire him for the next day to take us to the other major ruins we wanted to see, Ollantaytambo.
The trip there was worth the fuss alone. Very nice.
This mountain is called Veronica.
Ah! Here he is, the driver. Much less serious than he looks in the photo. And of course the ruins behind them.
Often when we go… well, anywhere, the routine is this: We roam. Yen stops to take photos. I walk on. I realize I’ve lost him. I retrace. I find him. That’s fine, but sometimes it makes me a little impatient. This day was great, though, because we hired a guide for the ruins, and I got to spend the whole time chatting with her and learning, and Yen roamed all over, never worrying whether I was impatient.
See on the right? This is an example of why the Incas were so successful. Instead of destroying cultures in the lands they wanted, they absorbed them and adopted some of the new ways as their own. These ruins here are from an earlier civilization. The Incas just included them and kept building.
These are an example of the ornamental terraces I mentioned before. They would have been covered with flowers.
Here I am checking out an Inca television.
See the men standing in the circle in the middle of this photo? While we were up there, the town held an earthquake drill. We watched all of the workers gather in the circles. Our guide told me calmly, “We’re much safer up here than down there.” Of course, later on the ground, one of the workers said to our guide, “You’re dead from the earthquake!”
These are store houses. The Incas kept their daily food next to the houses, but the emergency stores were across on another mountain. Like backing up your site, I guess.
“Inca” actually means “king” and refers to the leader, not the whole people. Here’s a photo of the mummy of one of the kings that was discovered here.
And here’s Yen re-enacting it for us.
Outside, Yen discovered that the Inca was home and willing to share his wardrobe.
And I figured, “What the heck?” As I posed, he said to me, “This is for your Facebook page.”
Ah! Here’s a close-up of those protective cows I mentioned earlier.
This little boy hung around giggling at Yen all through lunch.
We went straight from Ollantaytambo to the airport, where we got back on a plane to Lima, then back on a plane to home. It was all too short. But at least we know where to start when we return.