Peru - Stop by the 'canchas'

Ollantaytambo - Spending time walking around Ollantaytambo was a treat. At times, a slight drizzle enveloped the town as the locals scurried about their regular routines.  Ollantaytambo_MG_6180_2.jpgPart of the town is divided into canchas (blocks)- four-sided walled compounds that contain a group of rectangular buildings arranged around a central open space leaving open spaces in the four corners.  Also characteristic of canchas are the high gabled roofs, the trapezoidal doorways and niches - these are still in constant use in Ollantaytambo - some dating back to pre-Inca times. We were invited to drop by a canchas on Calle del Medio (Middle Street).  Each canchas has a name, possibly the name of the family or clan that lives there.  

A glimpse into daily life in Ollantaytambo - entering the canchas courtyard.Ollantaytambo_MG_6191.jpg

Inside the home, looking out into the courtyard of the canchas. Laundry day - heavy mist in the air - it’ll be a while before the laundry’s dry.Ollantaytambo_MG_6188.jpg

Ollantaytambo_MG_6190.jpgInside the home - not sure what this was!  Perhaps it’s a place where visitors can leave gifts to thank the local family for allowing them to come into their homes to see what life is like in a canchas. Any ideas? Ollantaytambo_MG_6185.jpg

In the house we visited on Calle del Medio, there were wall niches set up as shrines displaying the skulls of their ancestors. The coolness of the room was warmed by the glowing embers in the fire pit in the corner of the room. A couple of cats and about 40 guinea pigs (cuy) huddled nearby for warmth. (sorry, photo very fuzzy - didn’t have my flash with me at the time).

Home_00263.jpgWalking about town, we came upon the small but informative museum in town - Museo CATCCO (Andean Center for Technology and Culture of Ollantaytambo) - a great introduction to its history, traditions and culture with bilingual descriptions. Ollantaytambo_MG_6202.jpgOther places around town - Cafe Alcazar - a popular place for breakfasts or lunches, which also offers pastas, fish and meat dishes as well as mouth-watering vegetarian options for budget dining in the evenings. Located a block from the main plaza. The cafe also organizes excursions to traditional Andean communities.Ollantaytambo_MG_6177.jpgKusicoyllor Cafe on Plaza Ruinas - supposed to have the best coffee in town. Also offers international cuisine. Is this place still open? Just snapped the photo driving past. The sign could use some TLC.Kusicoyllor_Cafe_MG_6208.jpgWholesale goods available - such as rice, preserves, detergents, chicken, fish, eggs, vegetables liquor, kerosene - you name it, it’s here at Abarrotes Mar (Mar Groceries).Ollantaytambo_MG_6194.jpgPanaka Grill - restaurant overlooking the main Plaza - novo andina cuisine (using native ingredients in modern preparations) and international dishes.  I’ve been told that its balcony is the perfect spot to watch the world go by while enjoying a cappuccino.
Ollantaytambo_MG_6169.jpgA quick catch of colour in the local market with the storage houses and Inca face in the background (carved into the mountain overlooking Ollantaytambo.OllantaytamboMarket_MG_6209.jpgThe day is long from over - time to explore the fortress of Ollantaytambo, one of the most fantastic ruins in the Sacred Valley.

Day 5 - Friendly Planet - Amazing Peru Tour

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Welcome to my travel photo blog. Photography has been a part of my life for a long time – back in the day the Pentax Super Program was always near at hand. But it wasn’t until I started travelling around the world that photography became a vehicle for me to show others about the absolutely amazing and complex world we live in. My hope is to share with you glimpses of what I’ve seen. Enjoy!