Today was very productive and busy as far as covering lots of territory and seeing the sites. Left Ollantaytambo in minicombo (van for 11 but 18 crammed inside...luckily we were first in & got seats, ha), 30 min. to Urubamba where we picked up a chicken bus which dropped us off 30 min. later at Maras crossing. Here taxis wait for the inevitable tourists, and after some negotiation we taxied to Moray - what they think was the forerunner of an agricultural experiment station, and then to Salineras - a huge salt production/settling pond site which is supposedly Inca, but we think pre-existed them for who knows how long!
On to Chinchero the bus drove thru a hail storm (no windshield wipers, ha) listening to Julio Iglesias! Chinchero is a small village with an 'ancient' church (1560 ?) but since it was closed when we arrived we walked around the side and lo and behold truely ancient ruins!!
All up along a valley are old walls, some recently restored but many just uncovered. Sitting beside a huge volcanic rock outcropping, carved out in many places for ???? reasons, I sit watching as across the narrow valley on a hillside plot a father and 2 sons work their team of 2 bullocks back and forth with a wooden 'plow', breaking up the soil and hacking clumps with tools that we've seen in museums! Their dog sniffing out something nearby while I sit watching beneath the nearby rock/fountain/temple looming overhead, the pleasant trickle of water running thru these rocks seems to speak of truely ancient wisdoms...grazing cows, the bleet of a sheep, some pigs rooting in the dirt alongside the creek in the valley floor.
We finalize our tickets...bus to Lima, plane to Iquitos...now it's just putting the rest of the puzzle together i.e. Amazon. Bon works wonders always...figuring out the ins and outs. Of course, we've had a lot of input from other travelers and of course, friend, Cathy Stuart in MT who was here w/ family last winter.
In the afternoon we head to Pisac, the furthest site near here, via public bus. Once there we encounter a French group of 3 looking to hire a taxi to make the 'climb' up the mtn to where the ruins overlook the valley. Sharing the ride cuts the cost considerably and after a 2 hour hike thru the ruins we return late afternoon in the rain on another crowded bus...this time no seats, standing room only, ha! But for less than a buck, what can I say! Transport like this is our joy! Makes travel worthwhile.
Visit to the last of the sights near here...Tambomachay, Pukapukara, and Q'engo. Each unique but perhaps only small examples of what was more likely an extensive, on-going civilization which has been rising/falling/rising/falling for 4,000 to 10,000 years or more. The local guides try to spin their myth that the Incas were the predominant creators of much of this but in every site the building blocks speak of at least 3-5 waves of construction, each very distinct it seems and the most recent, Inca, looks to be the LEAST competent of the builders!
We eat at Jacks for the 6th and final time...really a find for food and always worth the wait. The waitress asks if we would mind sharing a table (we've done this before here...last time with a single mother on vacation from Wash, DC job w/ Homeland Security and 8 yr old son). This time an Aussie traveler who turns out to think many of the same thoughts we have re; Incas and ancient civilizations and Maya myths and chihuahuas! Always very enlightening to hear others speak of the inconsistancies in what the 'authorities' have to say or not say when they choose to ignore something!!