Sunday, 3 October 2010

Peru Trip: Sacred Valley - Ollantaytambo

I'm dragging out writing about this particular day on my Peru trip a bit aren't I? I'm struggling to find time to post to be honest. Work was pretty brutal last week as I had to spend 3days at a training course, but of course the usual work doesn't stop, or get pushed back for that matter, so I ditched all thoughts of going to the gym and worked late and arrived early. I was exhausted by Friday and at 4.30pm my team and I left to hit the pub, along with a couple of the other walking wounded from the advertising trenches, and as a result I had to take care of a few loose ends this weekend. I should have just stayed late on Friday really, but I just didn't have it in me.

I don't know how people with legitimately stressful jobs do it, people who are exposed to actual danger, or the evil inflicted by the worst side of humanity on a daily basis or other such stresses. I have to tip my hat to them, because at the end of the day all I'm doing is working out whether we've been successful in encouraging people to read marketing bollocks or if we've managed to sell people shit that they probably don't really need, I sometimes have to wonder whether it's really worth all the stress, but I do need the money.

Ohhhh to be a trophy wife!! Ha ha!! Actually that lifestyle would bore me to tears, but maybe a sabbatical is something to ponder!! I could really do with achieving some semblance of a work/life balance.

I actually told my team on Friday about starting the ball rolling on the move to the west coast - I doubt it will happen for months - and the most common reaction I received was "take me with you." I was soooooo flattered!!

Anyway, Peru!!! So next on the itinerary on our day trip to the Sacred Valley - after the Inca ruins at Pisac, the market and lunch at an excellent ranch style spot where the food was amazing, the parrots were beautiful and the bathrooms were even better - running water, soap, loo paper and a hand dryer. The height of luxury!! - were the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo.

The Inca site of Ollantaytambo is located in the mountains. Of course it's in the mountains, because why place it somewhere flat, like in the valley for example, when you can laugh your asses off 500 or so years later at tourists lungs exploding out of their chests as they labour uphill to peer at farming terraces.

Sorry that was kind of flip of me, but the hills and steps were getting to me that day and I couldn't help but laugh when I overheard another guide say the following to his group.

"When you get back home people will say to you 'how was your trip to Peru?' and you will say, 'it was memorable',

'Why is that' they will ask, and you will respond 'because I suffered a lot.'"

Ha ha, so true. While stunningly beautiful, Peru is not a country for the prissy and weak of heart, since you're ALWAYS climbing up steep hills or lots and lots of steps to visit the various ruins, struggling to catch your breath as a result of the lack of oxygen and enduring bathroom facilities that are little more than a hole in the ground without the benefit of loo paper or running water. Never in my life have I used so much hand sanitizer!!

Oooh I do sound spoiled eh!! What a princess ;-)

The city of Ollantaytambo is thought to have been developed in the middle of the 15th century by the Inca emperor Pachacuti and is thought to have been a fortress owing to it's dense walls and strategic location at the tip of a mountain.

Do you see the face in the rock??? It's to the right side? I'll point it out to you in a few photos time if you can't see it in the photo above.

Oh great, stairs!! Of course we climbed them, not all the way to the top, but almost!! After all the stair climbing I was expecting to have an arse so firm you could bounce tennis balls off it by the time I got back to New York.

The view back to the town.

Old man mountain face!!! Or Viracocha as he's known to his poker buddies, 'the creator of civilization.'

Despite my comments about suffering in Peru, the hotel we stayed at in Ollantaytambo, the Tiki Wasi Valley Hotel, was probably the nicest one we stayed in of all the accommodation organized by Gap Adventures, albeit lacking some of the furnishings we'd become used to, like a TV and a closet, but we found out later that it had only been open a month, so I am sure the arrival of such items was imminent.

After visiting the ruins Melissa and I took a stroll around the small town before dinner at the Blue Puppy.

Ollantaytambo is a living city, built on Inca foundations. It's a pretty little place and well worth a visit.

Restaurants and shops lining the main square.

On the left side of the photo above you can see the original Inca water channels that still remain.

The stick with the red and blue paper you can see in the photo above indicates the establishment serves Chicha, a fermented drink made from corn. Apparently these places are frequented by the male workers of Ollantaytambo. There were lots of such places in the town.


Kitty said...

oh my goodness, I don't think I could go to Peru after all, I have become so lazy. Seriously, the hills and such would kill me.

Love the photos, esp. the one looking back at the city below!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Oh you would be fine Kitty, just take it slowly!!