Chasing Incan kings through small town streets

If the internet is to be believed, Ollantaytambo, Peru is home to a mere 2,000 people. Each day, at least that many tourists hit the cobblestone streets to visit the town’s impressive Incan temple ruins, to set off by trail or train to Machu Picchu, or in search of a volunteer or business opportunity. It seemed like there were as many expat entrepreneurs and retiree voluntourists as Peru-born townfolk in Ollantaytambo.

A woman carries branches in Ollantaytambo, Peru photo

A woman carries branches through the cobblestone streets

Even more people pass through daily. Peruvians in transit to their next destination, driving big-rigs to or from the nearby quarry, or in search of a job and a future.

Torito de pucará, Ollantaytambo, Peru photo

Torito de pucará in Ollantaytambo

Even with all that fluster, Ollantaytambo is the kind of small town where you can get some mental solace once the last tour bus backfires its way out of town. Or simply drift down any street off the main square, and see how quickly people and businesses grow sparse.

Vote This Way graffiti, Oollantaytambo, Peru photo

Vote This Way! wall tag

School yard from above, Ollantaytambo, Peru photo

Ollantaytambo school yard seen from far above

Quechua old woman, Ollantaytambo, Peru photo

Quechua old woman

How to build a stone wall, Ollantaytambo, Peru photo

Guidelines left on a recently built stone wall

I did, in fact, chase after an Incan king I saw striding through Ollantaytambo’s side streets. “Chase” might be too strong a word. It was more of a speed walk.

Incan king, Ollantaytambo, Peru photo

An Incan king in pink wanders the streets of Ollantaytambo

Soccer field and bull ring, Ollantaytambo, Peru photo

Ollantaytambo's soccer field and bull ring seen from high above

Tourist blankets, Ollantaytambo, Peru photo

Vibrant blankets for sale to tourists

Perhaps the prettiest garage in the world, Ollantaytambo, Peru photo

Perhaps the prettiest garage in the world