Continuing on our journey through the Sacred Valley, after lunch in Pisac, we headed for Ollantaytambo, a city about 65 kms from Cusco. I had passed through Ollantaytambo on my way back from Machu Picchu a few days earlier and caught a glimpse of the Inca ruins. I decided to go back and have a proper look.
There is a huge face carved into the rock opposite.
Our trusty guide with his Cusqueñan flag.
A view of the city.
Storage for crops.
There is quite a climb up the terraces once you get inside.
Looking back up the steps.
From Ollantaytambo, we travelled to Chinchero. I still am not certain of the purpose of the visit, although it is famous for its market. We arrived at Chinchero as the sun was setting and I became somewhat distracted.
For some years I had the ambition to visit Machu Picchu. Perú´s famous Inca site and possibly the most famous tourist destination in the world. My adventure in South America began more than 3 months ago but, as I was aware of the fact that, to really enjoy it, I needed to improve my fitness level, I delayed the trip until I was sure I felt fully capable .
Fortunately, all of the running and walking around Lima and Chiclayo over the past few months, has paid dividends. After the 15km hike of the day before, I went to bed early, in order to get up at 4 am. I left my hotel at 4.30 and reached the bridge which you have to cross to gain access to Machu Picchu, before 5.00, at which time the gate is opened to allow people in.
The climb to the entrance to Machu Picchu itself is 450 metres, most of it via steep and uneven steps. I set myself a time of somewhere between an hour and eternity and was well pleased to find myself queuing at the entrance with people who had taken the bus up, after only an hour and 15 minutes. My legs were feeling tired but that soon passed as I entered the amazing citadel in the sky that is Machu Picchu.