From Cusco to Ollantaytambo [YQrtw Day 105 Jul 23]

Location: Cusco -> Ollantaytambo, Peru

Surprisingly, my bus arrived on time at Ollantaytambo station. It was 6am and the inside of the windows of the bus were heavy with dew.

I collected my bags and decided to wait in the bus station until 7 before I catch a cab to the station where buses to Ollantaytambo are.

When the time came, I went out and waited a long while before a taxi I trust stopped. I didn’t want to follow those whose taxis were parked outside because of cautions I’ve heard in Arequipa. Still, the cabbie overcharged me but I accepted the price anyway.

It felt like a long way with many twists and turns before we reached the stop to Ollantaytambo. There was an empty van waiting and the driver ushered me in.

Shared van to Ollantaytambo
Shared van to Ollantaytambo

The driver put my bag on top of the van. I was afraid it might fly off from the roof but fortunately, he went off to buy ropes when we left the station.

However, it was a long while before he drove off. We waited for more people to get on the bus. I didn’t have anywhere to go so it was an OK wait.

I was sitting in the front row where an elderly lady in traditional clothing and two long black plaits joined me. Another man (who happens to know the lady) sat next to her.

While waiting, one of the mobile phones rang. I was delighted to find that it was a generic Chinese-song ringtone. Either the owner did not know how to change the song or he was happy with it.

Finally, the bus was full and off we went. During the first part of the drive, I fell asleep. When I woke up, I saw an amazing sight. The mountains and the hilly fields were in patches of yellow (because of winter?) One of the fields even had a half-harvested wheat-like field.

Checking in Ollantaytambo

Narrow lanes of Ollantaytambo
Narrow lanes of Ollantaytambo

The bus finally arrived in Ollantaytambo  after about 2 hours. The driver noted that we were passing the main square (where I should have got off) but I didn’t react. I had to walk on about 1km of cobble stones to get to my hotel.

One of the guards on the street gave me wrong directions so I wound up on the wrong side of the little square. The tourist information ladies finally pointed me in the right direction.

Combined with the lack of sleep and stress, I was unpleasant at check in. The boy at the reception didn’t speak English and seemed not-so-familiar with alphabets and numbers.

When I found out that my room was given to a Ricardo and I had to move to my real room tomorrow, I was pissed. I raised my voice about disliking having to move around (communicated more with hand gestures than actual comprehensible Spanish) and questioned why the rooms were so expensive–US$30 a night!

I shouldn’t have done that because the poor boy was the only one working. I saw him clean the rooms, clean up the dining room and all sorts.

I calmed down when I saw that my room included a double bed and a single bed. After a nice hot shower and a hot cup of Ceylon tea, I was sane again.

I went off to explore, stopping for lunch at Heart’s Cafe.

I walked to the railway station to find a hotel nearby so I can check in immediately after coming back from Machu Picchu on Friday night. I found a local hotel (hospedaje) which charged only 30 soles a night (about half of my room in town). I paid the deposit and gave them a date. I had to go back when I realized that I gave them the wrong date.

The rest of the day was spent trying to blog, heading to another cafe and being awed by the majestic mountains.

Majestic mountain near Ollantaytambo
Majestic mountain near Ollantaytambo

Tomorrow, I shall start sightseeing.

Tourists ask other tourist to take photos of them in a tuk-tuk.
Tourists ask other tourist to take photos of them in a tuk-tuk.

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