Today I actually arrived in Inca country. We’re staying in the village of Ollantaytambo, which is as charming as its name would lead you to believe, with little mud-brick and stone houses built on Inca foundations. Almost everywhere, there’s the sound of rushing water, because every other street or so there’s a well-supplied irrigation canal. I think the water comes down from the mountains, which rise up dramatically all around the town. They mountains really loom over these Sacred Valley towns. Above us are two sets of Inca Ruins, one of which is the Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo, where Manco Inca–last ruler of the Inca–made his second-to-last stand against the Spanish. It’s also just, like, super windy here. It sounds like a hurricane outside.
The journey from Lima took up the bulk of my day, and the only remarkable thing about it was the crazy number of Australians on it. Is there anyone in Australia right now? In my experience the Australians are great world travelers, and every time I run into a rabble of Australians I wish they’d stop it. Whenever I see them, off to see the world with their weird hipster clothes, I really get what people find so annoying about Americans. Because they’re just like us: the worst. I don’t even know what the appeal is of being on a tour with 50 other people and you all have to wear a day-glo yellow ribbon on your person and talk like you’re sitting across a football field from each other even when you’re just across the aisle. But I bet those Australians would have yelled it to me if I’d asked.
The drive from Cusco to Ollan was one of my favorite drives I’ve ever been on. The scale of the landscape here is crazy. The way the mountains frame the sky and the winter colors of the scrub and grass that cover the hillsides gave me such a sense of desolation and of being lost in an endless landscape. I feel like an ant.
I wish I could add pictures to these posts, but that seems like it’s going to be beyond the capacities of my current wifi connection.
I am reading a great book about Machu Picchu called “Turn Right at Machu Picchu.”