I am sitting in a garden with orange, red, white, purple and ink flowers lining a green lawn bordered by a three foot high stone wall. And just beyond that mud brick houses with worn red stucco tiled roofs and just beyond that huge heather colored mountains on all sides, the tops shrouded in clouds. Rising up from the mountain directly across from me are the tannish brown walls of a terraced fortress. these are the ancient Inca ruins of the ollantaytambo fortress that we climbed yesterday afternoon. Spectacular. And they are what we see in the morning as we open the French doors of our second floor room here at Apu Lodge. (see photo below.) There are also the sounds, water cascading down the mountains along the channels lining the narrow cobblestone lanes bordered by high stone walled buildings that open into courtyards and gardens; the varied calls of birds, the occasional crowing rooster and barking dog.
This village is particularly magical at night when most of the tourist buses have cleared out. We ate last night at El Alburgugue the well known old hotel for travelers that is located outside of the village along the train tracks that take people to Macchu Pichu. I had to eat simply since my stomach was still on the fritz but the food was good, especially Noah’s lamb and our shared after dinner brownie. We walked back on a dark street lining the river with the stars very bright in a sky unburdened by street lights, past the town square and then onto our cobbled lane with the water rushing along the channel. We all slept very well.
We also ate lunch at Paki Rumi near the ruins…good albeit atypical burritos as promised. We sprung for the boleto touristica, a 10 day pass that gets you into attractions ina nd around Cusco, not machu Pichu, of course. About 170 soles or 70 dollars. Not sure it’s a good deal but easy. We spent 50 soles on a guide named Wilson at the ruins, well worth it. And 100 soles for the driver from cusco, again worth it.