The next day, we gave in to the rare luxury of allowing a taxi driver to take us to Ollantaytambo, 20 km away for just 10 Soles (3 USD), whereas the public bus costs only 1 Soles per person. It was quite an experience since we were chauffeured by an obviously ultra-religious gentleman who made a cross sign each time we passed a church, a cross on the roadside or other religious symbols, which happened quite often.
In Ollantaytambo, we found ourselves back on the gringo trail, with one tour bus chasing the other, either dropping off people as the ruins or picking them up from the train station. It has a number of hostels and even more overpriced restaurants at every corner. Upon Heidi´s wish, we check into the comfortable Munay Tika Hotel, which turned out to be as cold as the other places but has a nice and sunny garden.
First thing we went down to the train stop to buy a ticket to Aguas Calientes, even off-season and two days in advance we did not get our most favorite dates! That major obstacle out of the way we walked every single alley of Ollantaytambo till the early evening, especially checking menus at various restaurants. Yes, even here you can find nice places that offer a three course dinner for 10 to 15 Soles.
Ollantaytambo itself is a small and quiet place, but it serves as a tourist hub for going further on to Machu Picchu or for trekkers starting off the Inca trail. Part of this village is built upon an Inca city and the village is therefore called the “Leaving Inca City”. The small cobblestone streets and tiny canals are truly enjoyable.
The main attraction of Ollantaytambo is its Inca fortress and temple, which was needless to say partly destroyed by the Spanish, but within the last 10 years a lot of restoration has been done. This time we invested in a guide and we are especially proud to say that were able to follow an almost two hour presentation in Spanish.