Ollanta

Hello again!

After Cuzco, we returned to Ollantaytambo, where Susannah had been living and volunteering.  Ollanta is smaller than Cuzco, making nearby mountains accessible for great hiking and exploring. These are pictures of our hike along the river to the refreshing Piscina de Inca, a spring fed pool used by the Inca and still used today by locals.

View from Susannah’s window of her homestay house

Susannah’s room

View, with the pretty little patio included

Ollantaytambo has extremely fertile soil, which made it sacred to the Inca. Same story with Machu Picchu. What a concept, appreciating and respecting the land in which supports us and gives us food? A mindset we should adopt, I think!

Susannah in front of La Piscina de Inca. Cute, huh!

The crisp mountain air just make it too easy to take nice photos!

Lichen!

He even has nose hair!

Looking over Ollanta, the fortress in the background on the hillside

A little later

Previous two pics taken from ruins above, opposite hillside from the fortress

As I mentioned in the last post, there are some fantastic ruins in Ollanta, the primary one being the “Fortress” (it was actually a religious site, probably in reverence for the fertile soil). Mainstream archeology credits the building of this site to Inca engineers.  HOWEVER, I’d like to bring to your attention that while there is no doubt that the Incas USED the Fortress and other ruins found all over Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile, I have come to believe that the extremely large stones found at Sacsayhuaman in Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the Fortress at Ollantaytambo, among others, were NOT built by the Inca. Yes, the Inca used these sites, but it seems much more likely that they simply adopted, remodelled and added to structures already in existence. The technology required to quarry, transport, carve and place such ridiclously large and precise stonework is virtually impossible given the technology we assume they possessed. Archologists have carried out experiments to “prove” that this can be done, but if you look closely at their methods, they are almost laughable and prove nothing. The Incas themselves even stated that many of their builings were not built by them, but by a much more ancient, currently unknown and tremendously advanced civilization. If they had built them, wouldn’t they want to claim ownership?

Check out these photos of the “Fortress.”  Look very closely at how large and heavy some of these stones are, and how perfectly they fit together at very odd angles indeed. They fit together so tightly that you literally cannot slip a piece of paper between them, and some have up to 12 sides angled all over the place, perfectly fitted with all surrounding rocks.

There are various books written about this alternative archeology. David Pratt has put together a thorough summary of many of the mindboggling stonework credited to the Incas, connecting it to various other megalithic structures around the world and discussing potential theories. Check out his website here if you are interested, it’s cool stuff:

http://davidpratt.info/andes2.htm

Much of this stonework is easily attibuted to the Inca, and the fortress is a great example of Inca terrace agriculture. It is an ingenious way of capturing heat from the day through the stones to keep plants warm at night. There are plenty of amazing things the Inca did, in fact, accomplish!

In the grain storehouses

Ollanta has a dramatic backdrop, to say the least

Here is where we get to the crazy, non-Inca stonework. Some of these stones weigh upwards of 150 tons. You litereally can’t fit a piece of paper in between them.

Just consider the trial and error necessary to make 6 stones fit around a single huge stone at all sorts of rounded and angled sides seen here

And the Inca supposedly never even invented the wheel!

Look at the curve on that one

These are some of the biggest stones on the site. The quarry has been located 5km away, across the river and 1000 ft up on the opposite side of the valley. And  the stones were carved on site, so the raw material must have been even larger and heavier than what you see here. All without the luxury of using a WHEEL.

Have an open mind and check out that website (http://davidpratt.info/andes2.htm). Then think about the implications of what it would mean that there may have been a currently unknown, very advanced civilization sometime in our distant past.

Thanks for reading, Machu Picchu pics are coming up next!

Bienvenidos!

My name is Andrew McGann and this is a blog of my travels through South America! I am currently 2 months deep in the trip, but I couldn’t be bothered to do one of these until now. Bear with me as I figure out how to actually use WordPress and make it look pretty.  I’m using it primarily as a way to post pictures. This way I can break up the few hundred or so pics I have into easily digestible pieces; plus I can give some descriptions and stories to go along with the images.

My journey began back in July, when I flew into Cuzco, Peru. My girlfriend, Susannah, had already been down here for two months volunteering with Awamaki, a group based out of Ollantaytambo that provides medical aid to local communities among other goodwill activities. Ollanta, as the locals call it, is a lovely and quaint little mountain town in the Peruvian Andes, 2 hrs drive from Cuzco and a short train ride (or 27 mile hump) from Machu Picchu. Cuzco and Ollantaytambo are two of the best preserved Inca towns that exist, and many of the current buildings and houses beautifully incorporate the ancient masonry into their architecture.

Cuzco was our first town to explore. Although it’s the third largest city in Peru, it has a comfortable, relaxed feel. It is known as the cultural epicenter of of Peru, and as the former Inca capital, there are some awesome, well preserved ruins close by; Sacsayhuaman being the most impressive.

We didn’t actually visit any of the major ruins or tourist attractions in Cuzco, as both of us preferred to stay cheap and simply stroll around town, getting a feel for the ebbs and flows of the city. I have stuck to this agenda for pretty much my entire trip, forgoing most of the museums and main tourist sites. In past trips, whenever I have followed the guidebook to a T, I ended up feeling like a cow herded from place to place, removing the best parts of traveling: exploring and the unexpected.

In any case, we had plans to visit two of the best ruins Peru has to offer in coming days: the “fortress” (a misnomer as it was originally used as a religious site, like most ancient ruins around the world) in Ollanta and the epic Machu Picchu!  Once you see one or two good ruins, you’ve essentially seen them all.

So, here are the pictures!

Meet Susannah! At our first stop, the San Pedro Central Mercado of Cuzco. A wonderful market and a wonderful girl.

Heyo! I’m in Peru!

A beautiful, if a little “busy” church nearby the San Pedro Central Mercado

Our colorful hostel with a rose garden in the courtyard

There were teacher protests going on all over Peru, for better wages–a common occurrence. Tensions were high, but nothing violent or anything.

Cuzco, like most Andean towns, is pristinely nestled within nearby mountains

Daily Cuzco life

Light art

Making practical use of this cross

One of the many Cuzco plazas, all lovely and a common place for Peruvians and travelers to just sit and enjoy the city

The grand Plaza de Armas

Susannah enjoying some of the finer things in life

Friendly dogs, a regular part of Peruvian life

Cappuccino Cafe

Cuzco, in motion

Well that was our experience of Cuzco for you!  Hope you enjoyed it, stay tuned for Ollanta and Machu Picchu next!