Perú – Day 4 – Ollantaytambo
Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness
Hotel pictures form the next day:
After the buffet breakfast, we attended a native Offering To The Earth ceremony led by a local Shaman. We started with three coca leaves each, held palmated, representing the heavens, the earth, and the land below. The iconography for these are the condor, the puma, and the snake, their trinity. Then the Shaman placed offerings on a square of cloth on the table, representing everything provided by Mother Earth: grains, herbs, fruits, cotton representing the clouds, sprinkles representing the rain, etc. He made blessings in both Spanish and Quechuan, then folded and tied, for later burying.
Then we took bus to Ollantaytambo, a small town with a large Inca archeological site in the hills above it. Ollantaytambo is about 45 miles northwest of the city of Cusco, and sits at about 9,000 feet. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Perú, it served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance. It is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and is nearby one of the most common starting points for the four-day, three-night hike known as the Inca Trail.
We walked around the town a bit, working our way to the beginning of this impressive site.
The Condor, Puma, Snake – the trio of heavens, the world, and the world beneath.
Ernesto, our Odyssey Perú tour director.
We walked up the many steps to the top of the main section.
Looking back. Note the remains of grain storage buildings on the far mountain.
We went on ahead of the group, though we could hear Julian just fine.
At the top of the main section.
From the top section, looking out at the glacier on Veronica.
Looking down on another section of the site, buildings with trapezoidal doors.
The rest of the group coming down the stairs.
A closeup of the trapezoidal doors and windows, a signature design element of the Incas.
Then we went to lunch at the Sol Y Luna restaurant at the Wayra Ranch, a horse ranch in the Urubamba area. The grounds were magnificent, the lunch a delicious continuous sampling of Peruvian specialities. After lunch, we were treated to a wonderful performance of 4-horse dressage and a dance by a couple.
Chicón (zoomed in from the ranch).
After lunch, we drove to the town of Chinchero, where we visited Centro Textil Cinchcheros Parwa (flower in Quechua), a high quality, traditional weaving coop. Nelly, the leader, in traditional dress (with her infant Jose on her back) and five other women demonstrated the entire process of creating woven garments out of the local animals (alpaca, sheep, etc.). They demonstrated cleaning of the wool, how they created all of the various natural dyes, how the thread is spun, and how the pieces are woven. One of Ernesto’s and Odyssey’s goals is to help support the traditional economy, and some of the group were happy to oblige by buying some goods, including us.
Nelly showing us how to wrap and sling her son.
A sample weaving.
A lookout spot on the way back to the hotel.
Then we drove back to our hotel, relaxed, had dinner, and packed for Machu Picchu, packing a small duffle, with our larger luggage going to the Cusco hotel where we will be staying on return from Machu Picchu.