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5. AS arrived, forgotten in the Sacred Valley

Not the best night's sleep

View Mucho Machu on paulej4's travel map.

Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
Saturday, December 17, 2016

Oh, that wasn't the best night.

After my schedule difficulty with the hotel folks (they delivered my "Welcome Gift" to the room when my "Do Not Disturb" sign was out while I napped so they thought it would be a good idea to call me and ask if it was OK to knock on the door even though the sign said not to; a call which jolted me awake) recurred when they decided to call my room again after I had retired for the night to see how I was doing jolting me awake once more. I did turn in early but really, you don't need to call me dear innkeepers.

There was a party going on in the JW Marriott courtyard and my room isn't far from there. Fortunately, I travel with ear plugs. The throbbing of the music's base line was disturbing. The real issue for me was the unwelcome arrival of mild altitude sickness symptoms. My head began to ache and my sleep was interrupted by that. One throbbing replaced by another. This morning, I lost my first cup of coffee but the second one compromised and stayed put. I am happy to be heading to a lower altitude today; very happy.

B4 and I are texting frequently and that is very nice. She texted me this early this morning to let me know that through this blog many of our friends who were unaware of Edward's surgery reached out directly to her. She appreciates hearing from everyone and wants you all to know that Edward is doing well. Nursing, she says, will not be her next career move however.

My Adios Adventure Travel private guide Juan and van driver Victor fetched me at 8:30 this morning. Off on a tour of the Sacred Valley, we began with a stop at Chinchero Weaver's village for a live demonstration of Incan weaving techniques and, coincidentally, an opportunity for me to buy some souvenirs. I learned but did not buy.

Chinchero translates as "Rainbow's Birthplace." It is, to my dismay, higher than Cusco at 12,200 feet above sea level. The ride in the van, however, seemed to be just what the doctor ordered and even though my body went to a higher altitude, so too did my spirits. I'm fine. Go figure.

The Weaver's Village was fun and the gal that did the demo spoke beautiful English and knew her stuff. I had fun.

Next we were off to Moray greenhouse ruins where it became more clear how resourceful the Incans were as they plied their agricultural efforts on this difficult terrain. If you do nothing else after reading this, go to Google.maps (googleEarth if you have it is better) and check out the satellite view of this place. It will blow you away--from space--just as it did me from earth. Each of the three concentric circle "amphitheaters" is its own microclimate and the Inca grew different crops on different tiers at different altitudes in different microclimates. Amazing. And, the acoustics rival Helzberg Hall; you can hear people speaking on the far side if you hush up and listen.

We took a detour through De Maras Town.

After that it was the Maras salt terraces, white fields where salt has pooled over the land; below there is an actively flowing underground stream. The minimal flow of saltwater that springs up from deep in the earth (from a Pacific Ocean source I think) spreads out over acres and acres of man-made entrepreneurial small pools trickling down from one to another and from one tributary to another. The salt settles. The water above evaporates. The salt is harvested. It is a mind blowing place.

By now it was 1:30 or so and we were all hungry. We stopped at "Inka's House" a restaurant touristic in Urubamba. There proprietor Juan Jose Pine Quispe ushered us to a table where Victor, Juan and I sampled from their "Buffet Novoandino" before the other tourists arrived. I had a great conversation with Juan and Victor who will graduate to guide as soon as his license arrives. He has already taken and passed the test. I ate too much.

Finally we arrived at Ollantaytambo and the amazing ruins that exist here. The Inca were into terraces which only makes sense because Peru is mountainous. There are terraces everywhere but none more imposing, more well put together or more impossibly constructed than what I saw here. From a mile away on a neighboring peak, these ruins closely resemble the outline of an llama with a pack on its back. My guess is that the creators of Mt. Rushmore must have gotten a bit of inspiration from this place. It is quite a climb but then all Inca ruins are. These folks thrived on going up and down in the thinnest of air.large_34228830-301b-11ea-ae52-bd1109936b38.jpglarge_34248400-301b-11ea-837f-b3e1d50cc264.jpglarge_341a98f0-301b-11ea-913b-8d4e2eab4d0f.jpglarge_34254750-301b-11ea-a811-2f5309009da5.jpglarge_341800e0-301b-11ea-a4bb-43bfff0645d4.jpglarge_33ed9580-301b-11ea-a39a-bfe72fa1d1cd.jpglarge_33caf250-301b-11ea-a4bb-43bfff0645d4.jpglarge_33b74340-301b-11ea-913b-8d4e2eab4d0f.jpglarge_339c6840-301b-11ea-ae52-bd1109936b38.jpglarge_337dbcb0-301b-11ea-913b-8d4e2eab4d0f.jpglarge_33a78bd0-301b-11ea-a39a-bfe72fa1d1cd.jpglarge_339d2b90-301b-11ea-837f-b3e1d50cc264.jpglarge_33278660-301b-11ea-913b-8d4e2eab4d0f.jpglarge_3330fc40-301b-11ea-ae52-bd1109936b38.jpglarge_33278660-301b-11ea-837f-b3e1d50cc264.jpglarge_32f92360-301b-11ea-a4bb-43bfff0645d4.jpglarge_33273840-301b-11ea-a39a-bfe72fa1d1cd.jpglarge_327eea50-301b-11ea-a4bb-43bfff0645d4.jpglarge_32732a80-301b-11ea-a39a-bfe72fa1d1cd.jpglarge_32730370-301b-11ea-837f-b3e1d50cc264.jpglarge_32704450-301b-11ea-beda-a9b806d6f5ce.jpglarge_32717cd0-301b-11ea-a811-2f5309009da5.jpglarge_3171e720-301b-11ea-a811-2f5309009da5.jpglarge_316b3060-301b-11ea-beda-a9b806d6f5ce.jpglarge_31a02310-301b-11ea-beda-a9b806d6f5ce.jpglarge_3119dc10-301b-11ea-beda-a9b806d6f5ce.jpglarge_527fc690-301a-11ea-a811-2f5309009da5.jpg

Next we were off to the Peru Rail office to change my ticket for tomorrow morning to the 8:00am train so I can have an extra hour or so at Machu Picchu, the real inspiration for my journey here. That done, Victor and Juan dropped me off at my hotel the spartan but clean and convenient Tunupa Lodge.

I head off into Ollantaytambo town to buy some sunscreen for tomorrow and an extra bottle of water before returning to write this entry and upload some photos from the day...after I use WhatsApp to phone B4 to check up on her and Edward. They seem to be doing well cooking filet mignon omelets for lunch and preparing a chicken pot pie in the crock pot for tonight. Edward is operational on the Xbox that Warren Buffet sent him to keep his mind off his surgery recovery.

I hear the weather in Kansas City is horrendous. Here it is warmer than i expected and there has been not one drop of rain even though all the forecasts said it would be 60% or better for my entire stay.

Getting past a terrible start what with a throbbing head and vomiting I would have to say that this day is the largest and most spectacular turnaround I've ever experienced. All is well in Ollantaytambo and I can truly say that "You wish you were here."

Posted by paulej4 16:24 Archived in Peru

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