Ollantaytambo, Peru

Peru Part One: Journey to Old Peak

 
Getting to Machu Picchu ("old peak") requires first making the journey to Cusco, Peru (elevation > 11,000 feet). From Lima, most people opt to take a one-hour plane ride, but a very long and windy bus ride is also a feasible option which some prefer because it allows a more natural acclimation to the high altitude. Since we were short on time, however, flying was our only option. Upon landing, all of us felt a bit strange as we tried to acclimate to the elevation. I was still hungover from a Pisco sour (yes, singular!) from the night before and had taken altitude medication the night before, the side effects of which made my arms and chest feel numb and tingly. After a bit of rest, we hired a car that would drive us to the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. From there, a 1.5 hour train ride would take us to the town at the base of Machu Picchu.


The Urumbamba River and the ruins of Ollantaytambo in the distance

Ollantaytambo is a very picturesque little town. It is also the site of some Incan ruins (which were never fully completed before the town succumbed to Spanish conquest).  The stronghold of Ollantaytambo is known for being the only place in Peru to have ever resisted Spanish attack (unfortunately, victory was short-lived as the Spanish came back with four times the force). Today, the town is the best surviving example of Incan town planning.


We were all famished and ended up eating at a pretty terrible restaurant called the "Tasty Garlic." However, it was a true family-owned and operated establishment and we seemed to be their only customers of the day (or maybe even week, it is low season) so I definitely can't feel too bad about it.

Definitely wouldn't have minded spending more time in this cute little town. Unfortunately, we had a train to catch!

The train ride to Aguas Calientes (the town at the base of Machu Picchu) was scenic and pleasant, running along the Urumbamba River. Although I'm no history buff by any means, it was pretty fun to imagine all the history that occurred out there in the jungle centuries ago as we chugged past on the train.

Tune in again tomorrow for the next installment of my Peru Adventure!

5 comments

  1. These shots are stunning. Peru looks AMAZING!

    Alyssa
    The Glossy Life

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  2. I'm adding Peru to my list of places to go on holiday, it looks beautiful!

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  3. so beautiful ! amazing pictures !


    XX Luba

    :: Well Living Blog :: shaggy jacket & flared jeans in my look today
    http://very-well-living.blogspot.com

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  4. Wow! Amazing photos! I've always wanted to go to Peru!

    xo Saretta
    The Lion in Jewels

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  5. I love how colorful it is there!
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