On the road to the Inca Trail, we stopped to visit the Incan ruins in the town of  Ollantaytambo. The hike to the top of the site was strenuous but just a small taste of what we’d soon experience on our four-day trek to Machu Picchu. We got to see how the Incan engineers used exacting methods to build their structures from temples to storehouses. They shaped the rocks of these buildings to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. The modern town still sits on the bones of the ancient settlement.

Photo: Nellu Mazilu

But even more remarkable to me was the extensive water system that ran throughout the city. It starts at the water temple and weaves throughout the streets. Everywhere you go, you can hear the ambient sounds of the running water.

Ollantaytambo is partly named for the type of city it is – a place where travelers could find food and lodging. And today’s city is still a place for travelers, albeit a different kind. We stayed the night at a hotel there. It was our last real bed before for the big hike. But I couldn’t resist waking up early to shoot footage of the extensive water ways.

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At one point while I was shooting, a very small boy ran over to see what I was doing. I was crouching to get the shot so he could easily see the scene through my viewfinder. He pressed his head against mine to get a better look and asked something that sounded like, “Que está aquí” or “That’s here?” I was moved by his pure enthusiasm. You can hear him in the video. In one of the video clips that I didn’t use, you can see a quick glimpse of him running over, very intent on finding out what I was up to. But I pulled away before he ran completely in view. I wish that I wasn’t so intent on getting what I thought I needed that I missed something infinitely better.

Update: I forget sometimes that showing you is almost always better than just telling you. Here’s the video of the boy running over where I pan down before he comes completely in view.

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~Molly

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