Our wakeup call on Day three was the unpromising sound of rain drumming a tattoo on our tent roof. Option 1: throw our hands up in despair and bemoan our luck. Option 2: tiny tent fist pump, because I was able to use all of the hiking kit I´d brought! Option two all the way, it was time to whack out the ol´waterproof pantaloons and jacket. Decked head to toe in waterproofs we tucked into our penultimate meal that through some miracle of campfire cooking was an entire chocolate cake.
Stomachs lined with slabs of cake we ventured out into the rain. We were following the windy, sleepy road that leads down the valley to the ancient Inka town of Ollantaytambo. Twenty minutes in, our porter team drew up alongside us and offered us a lift down the remaining 15km of road in a cosy, dry van. But, despite the pleading eyes of our guide who was looking a darn sight more miserable and cold in the rain than we were, we politely declined temptation. Taking short cuts ain’t what it’s about! So with the rain falling, the steep mountain passes that shot up on either side of the road and the odd local shouldering a tree trunk were our company for the morning. Apparently the majority of the other Lares trekking groups opted for a lift down the valley instead of walking in the rain. Armed with the knowledge that we were only two out of a handful of intrepid souls that actually completed the ultimate part of the trek, we proudly sat down to our final meal with Jaime the wizard cook in the town of Ollantaytambo.
Surrounded by mist shrouded mountain tops, Ollantaytambo is the only Incan town to retain its original city layout with Incan drainage systems, which fed by that night’s rain, were raging down the side streets. We spent the afternoon wandering around in the rainy haze, did a spot of lunch shopping for Macchu Picchu and finished it up with some fresh juice and a very welcome internet top-up at an organic café.
We left Ollantaytambo to catch the 7 o clock train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of the Macchu Picchu Mountain. And, so, happily tucked away in first class, we enjoyed our free cup of sprite alongside the bottle of Argentina wine that we´d smuggled on board.