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Ollantaytambo, Peru

Ollantaytambo (pronounced oy-yan-tay-tom-bo) became a famous tourist spot on account of its Inca ruin terraces and as one of the most common starting points for the three-day, four-night hike known as the Inca trail. We spent the night here before heading out for the start of our big hike the next day to Machu Picchu. The current town is built on top of the foundations of an original Inca town with crisscrossing grids, narrow lanes and open drains with water rushing down them. Ollantaytambo is considered as one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns of South America. 

We made our way to the temple late in the afternoon. The ruins are huge, complete with ground level ruins and terraces leading up to more ruins on the top of the mountain. The weather was perfect for an afternoon hike. The climb was a bit of a workout and it was a great warm-up for the Inca trail. Upon reaching the top, the view looking down the small town of Ollantaytambo was simply stunning.

The spectacular, huge, steep terraces are the best surviving examples of Inca urban planning and engineering. It is admired as one of the few places where the Spaniards lost a major battle during the conquest. During the battle, the Spanish warriors were showered with arrows, spears and boulders from atop the steep terracing and were unable to climb to the fortress.

Chicha, a traditional fermented beverage made from corn

 

At the end of our trek I wandered along some of the village streets. The whole town was very picturesque and historic. I was happy to find some local street food since I was really hungry but the one that I liked most was the barbecue on stick with potatoes on it. That night the group had a candlelight dinner in a local restaurant that served delicious wood-fired brick oven pizza. After dinner, I went straight to bed since we had a 4:30 am early call time for the hike the next day.

 

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