Wednesday and Thursday, June 14-15.
Here are a few pictures of the students who opted to hike to the “Sun Gate,” a nearby mountain pass with ruins overlooking Machu Picchu. Late that night we took a train back to Ollantaytambo, spent the night there, and then in the morning took in the town’s main ruins that we had not had time to see on Tuesday during our journey toward Machu Picchu.
That brought our week of touring as a group to a close. Two days later everyone was at their service location. The blog entries will soon begin visiting the different locations where students are doing service assignments.
The mountain notch above and to the left of the pointed roof is the Sun Gate, where a group headed after lunch. Note the Inca trail in the mountain decending to the right from the sun gate.
The start of the Inca trail leading from Machu Picchu up to the Sun gate.
Joshua tries trading grass for the alpaca’s wool. The ungrateful alpaca took the grass but kept its wool.
Further up the trail we passed another alpaca. The Incas had 20,000 miles of roads spanning from modern-day Ecuador to Chile.
More great views as we neared the Sun Gate.
Below, the river, the bus route up to Machu Picchu, and the Lost City.
The Sun Gate was an Inca guard post for controlling access on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
For hikers coming the opposite direction on the Inca Trail, the Sun Gate offers the first views of Machu Picchu.
Students found a higher vantage point above the Sun Gate to enjoy the views.
Hans plays his hit list of Favorite Huayno Songs of the 80s.
On the way back to Machu Picchu.
The alpaca back at Machu Picchu had been patiently waiting 2 hours for Joshua to return.
A view from our hostal roof patio of the main Ollantaytambo ruins.
Thursday morning, in Ollantaytambo again, we visited the main ruins we had not had time for during our previous visit Tuesday.
At the Temple of the Ten Niches.
Some soil analyses of the terraces suggest the Incas grew flowers and ornamental plants on the terraces, not crops.
Although the terraces were part of a religious function, their most famous use came during a battle between rebelling Incas, defending the terraces, and Conquistadores, trying to attack with cavalry.
Because the cavalry could not readily climb the terraces, this was the only major battle the Incas won against the Conquistadores.
This fountain is believed to have been for a royal princess to purify herself before entering the Ollantaytambo temple.