Ollantaytambo + Moray, Peru – Water journey

Rio Urubamba, the river that accompanies us through the Sacred Valley, is alarmingly swollen. There is no continuous rain, still precipitation nearly every day. Ollantaytambo ruin (another boleto turistico site) is located on two hills with storehouses on one and terraces on the other side. I find the village more exciting, which is inhabited since 1300 AD and origins from the Inca: streets paved with river pebbles, drainage channels in the middle of the alleys or on the sides – it must have rained a lot as well at that time. The brickwork for the village’s common people – farmers, tradesmen, workers – was not as fine as for the higher ranks: some course rocks, filled with clay, thatched roofs on top, ready.

We continue to Moray, but like always we can’t take the normal road, trails through the mountains magically attract us – if we were already in the mountains. Four kilometres east of Ollantaytambo an orange coloured bridge crosses Rio Urubamba. Then keep to your left, cross the rails and turn immediately left again into a small dirt road, crossing the rails another time, so that the river is to your left and the rails to your right now. It doesn’t take long and we see why the train to the world-famous Machu Picchu ruins had to stop operating for a short time: The overcrowded river rushes downstream in its bed, controlled only by the banks. It nevertheless partially burst its banks respectively pushes the ground water up. The gravel road doesn’t exist any more, it turned into a river as well. The bottom of the track bed course is completely washed away. When will the next train to Machu Picchu start?

Initially we cross underwater sections of some dozens of metres with dry islands in-between. Then we reach a sport where we can’t make out any end of the river-road. For what do we have a Unimog, and Joerg drives off. It’s only nasty that one doesn’t know and can’t see in that red sludge how it looks under the surface. Only once we subside into a big pothole in the road until the water reaches our entrance steps at two feet; it doesn’t become worse. After several kilometres of our water journey we come upon a narrow suspension bridge, suitable for small vehicles, cross the rails again and yet we drive up a winding road high into the mountains, from 2,800 / 9,200 ft to 3,600 m / 11,800 ft. It starts to rain again and we are glad to leave the river area. Only that the actually good mountain trail becomes slippery now. Andes’ drivers know: The red stuff is worst, that’s like soft soap.

20 km past Ollantaytambo we reach Moray, another Inca attraction. We ask the guard if we can camp here over night – no problem. Inca site Moray: S 13°19’48.2’’ W 72°11’39.2’’, free of charge, no service, bathroom during opening hours.

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