June 3 - heading down into the Sacred Valley. We left our large suitcases in our Cusco hostel and packed a small backpack to head down into Machu Picchu. First stop was Ollantaytambo, a small village that is well preserved from Incan times. We could've taken the train there, but we opted to walk over to a gathering area to catch a combi - a little minibus that just takes off when it's full. Super cheap and much more interesting than a tourist train. It was a couple bucks for a 2 hour trip.
Great blue skies on the drive. Somewhere along the way I think we dropped off a couple nuns. And people carrying lots of good to sell. And maybe a small animal.
Snow-capped mountains in the back.
Pulled into town and while we were walking to our lodging, Meg's boot broke. And then she had a bloody toe. And then she realized she left her jacket in the bus. We walked back to the bus area and luckily found our driver. He'd realized we'd left something and knew we'd be back.
We got checked into our place off this cobblestone road and then grabbed some pizza at one of the many, many woodfired pizza establishments around town.
Then we headed over to see the ruins, just a few steps from the main square and across a little creek.
Lots for sale before you get into the paid area of the ruins.
The weather was gorgeous and sunny and a little bit windy.
I was so impressed by the setting, and we hadn't even gotten to Machu Picchu yet. This town is certainly worth a visit. I could've spent another night there and visited the ruins across the way on the other side of the village. There are some other trails outside the city, too, I think.
After our Inca exploration, we walked around town a bit to see the sites. Near our guesthouse was a place advertising massages. We made an appointment for later.
We showed up for our massages but had to wait about half an hour in a random courtyard. We watched some guys make dinner and made friends with this girls. Of course after I took their photo, they wanted a propina.
Finally, cheap bliss. $20 for 90 minutes, and it was pretty good.
Back to the square for a late dinner. Of course I had more lomo. We were trying to save cash and wanted to pay with a card, as advertised in the window, but the waiter said it'd be a 12% surcharge and we didn't want that. Cash it is.
After dinner we had the best showers yet, though the room was freezing after and I had to try out my new hat to stay warm. Also, we were tucked away in the back corner and the wifi didn't reach. Early to bed, early to rise, I guess.
The next morning we were off to catch the train. Machu Picchu, here we come!
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