Oh yah, it´s my birthday too.
26.09.2008 - 26.09.2008
So, today was my Birthday, and I sort of forgot. We got up in the morning, and sat in the morning sunshine while we waited for the taxi to take us to Ollantaytambo. Our hotel, the Pisac Inn, was sooo beautiful. I will try to put some pictures of it in later. Oh yah, there are also some funny signs for the exits, which make it look like you are always supposed to sprint down the stairs. I´ll put a picture of that in as well hopefully.
On the way to Ollantaytambo, we stopped in Urubamba, and went to Seminario Ceramicas. It´s a couple who do ceramics and are world-renowned for their work. I bought some dishes and am very excited about them. Everything there was quite beautiful, and outside they had a monkey and a bunny! In the same cage, nonetheless. Strange, but fascinating. The monkey was super cute.
After that momentary stop, we continued on to Ollantaytambo. We did a tour of the ruins there since our train didn´t leave for awhile. It was pretty expensive to buy a pass for all the ruins around Cusco, and then our tour guide wanted money also. It feels a little bit like everyone just wants your money here in this part of Peru. Our tour guide was nice enough, but quite awkward and it made me pretty uncomfortable. But the tour was good and very informational. Those Incas sure were smart! And boy did they ever like their symbolism. In the place where we left our stuff while we did the tour, the girl there really liked my shoes and asked to swap them for a tapestry. Which, flattering though it may be, did not happen. I heard a story from one of my friends who went to Peru a few years ago that the exact same thing happened to her, so I decided to say no. Plus, I kind of need my shoes. Y´know, for walking and such. Our guide wanted to take us on another tour, of the town, for yet more money, and was very disappointed when we said no. And then they both asked me for my shoes again. And then we left. We at lunch at a yummy place... the name of which I will put in here later when I have my book with me. We got vegetarian lasagne, which was actually like raviolies, stuffed with pecans, spinach, ricotta cheese, and in a tomato sauce with some parmesan on top. It was unbelievable. Almost all of our food experiences in Peru have been amazing thus far.
Then we walked to the train station, where we took the Vistadome Valley train up to Machu Picchu (Or more specifically, Aguas Calientes, the town beneath Machu Picchu.) There were some amazing views along the way, and it was really fun to watch us move from a more arid climate gradually up into the jungle. The kids along the way all come out of their houses and sit to watch the train and wave at everyone going by. We got a snack on board, just some OJ, a ham and butter sandwich (made us think of mom, its her favorite), and a cake dessert. Again, all quite delicious. We met a nice Canadian couple on the train, and we went to buy our tickets with them since we ran into them at the hotel we were staying at. Then we went to dinner with them as well, because they found out it was my birthday and wanted to help us celebrate. They were so nice, and acted as substitute parents for the night, making sure I ate well and stayed warm while I was sick. The woman is an artist, so her and Laura hit it off quite well. She gave her some really good ideas for developing her career. I ate some chicken soup and OJ at the Inka Wasi restaurant, and of course also had a piece of chocolate cake as well. Yum-o!