25 May 2008

Day 6: Temple Raiding 101

For today, I woke up, enjoying the last few hours of my perfect stay at my mountain lodge in Urubamba. After having breakfast and taking a shower, I packed, and bid goodbye to Chalo and the rest of the people in my mountain lodge. I then caught a mototaxi which took me to the town terminal.

From the terminal, I then caught a colectivo heading to Ollantaytambo. A colectivo is a shared taxi, and so I tied my big backpack on the roof, next to the baggage of the other passengers, consisting of sacks, bicycles, and other boxes. Inside, I shared my seat with some chickens.

Anyway, after about thirty minutes of enduring the ride, driven by a driver with a death wish, I arrived in Ollantaytambo. I immediately spotted the Inca fortress, but before heading there, I found my hotel. I went in and told them that I have a reservation for today, and for May 17 as well. However, they told me that they do not have my name. Uh-oh. The good thing though was that they had space available for me, but not for tomorrow, which was ok. I needed a bed in Ollantaytambo for May 15 and 17, but not 16, when I would be heading to Machu Picchu.

Anyway, I spent a few hours in the hotel, reading my book. Then, around lunchtime, I went out, witnessed a parade, and headed to lunch. I had llama ravioli for lunch. After lunch, I tackled the Inca fortress that dominates the whole town.

This is a shot of the town parade. Not so good angle, I know.

I was already sunburnt, so I took my time in this one. There were plenty of stairs, and so I climbed them slowly. I also took advantage of the shades that the structures were providing me. And so I proceeded, and took tons of photos. More than 360 of them. Just for this one imposing fortress and temple. It is indeed amazing that the Inca has built immense structures like these on the edges of the mountains. Again, I passed by walkways where one wrong step can lead to my death.

This is the opening shot of the fortress, where everyone enters and sees the imposing terraces with the never-ending staircases.

This is the beginning of the staircase.

This is a shot from the top of the terraces.

There was a path that followed the side of the mountain, so I decided to go there first, before heading further up. This is what I found.

It turned out that it would lead only to some more terraces on the other side of the mountain, so I turned back, and continued the climb up the staircases. Then, I found the huge ceremonial slab of rock that is located on the top of the ruins.

So there, once reaching the top, I explored the whole place, taking plenty of pictures. I slowly descended, taking my time, clicking away, until the sun set and darkness covered the town. I then had dinner in a restaurant and went back to my hotel to pack, and prepare for the big day that awaits me after the next sunrise.

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