As we travel independently, we stopped at Ollantaytambo, a small town along the approximate two-hour hour train ride up from Cusco to Macchu Picchu, to acclimate to the high elevation.
Our charming hotel, the El Alburque, was right beside the train tracks where several times a day, that tourist train to Macchu Picchu made the trip up and back.
We found ourselves quite at home, Peruvian textiles on the walls of our room and a tropical garden in the back.
Above the town, Incan ruins awaited to explore later. Everyone said tea helped combat altitude sickness, so properly fortified, we headed to the center of town and the ruins.
We just happened to be in Ollantaytambo on the very day that local farmers brought their cattle to town, properly decorated with ribbons and vegetables for the annual spring blessing of the first corn.
We joined the costumed dancers and followed the procession to the church, delighted to be a part of the town on this bright and sunny day.
Then we hiked above the town to the Inkan ruins, a formidable jaunt through 15th Century terraced fields and stone walkways that once formed a royal center.
In the morning, we would leave for Macchu Picchu.
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