Wednesday, March 11, 2015 Hello from Café Tawas again! We have had quite the morning of adventure, and are now chilling here while we wait for our 3:30 PM train to Aguas Clients. We started our day at 7:45 AM, getting ready for a day of hiking while simultaneously packing up so we can check out of our hostel. We went downstairs to take advantage of the complimentary hostel breakfast around 8, and found a spread of Sunny D (lol), yogurt, quinoa granola, papaya (we think?), and various teas and coffees. We loaded up our plates, and the chef asked us if we wanted eggs. Of course! She brought out 3 plates of scrambled eggs, along with a basket of bread to complement the butter and strawberry/plum jams on the table. Our feast was delicious – the perfect fuel for hiking! We packed up, checked out, and brought our bags back down to the little dungeon for storage while we adventured. Our first stop was to find sunscreen – we were all sunburnt like crazy. Altitude! We scored sunscreen, water, and set off to find Collin a hat. We didn’t find one that suited his needs, but we did stumble upon some sort of celebration (potentially a wedding). People were doused in confetti, drinks were cheered, and Spanish words were shouted. Collin asked someone what was going on and didn’t understand what they said, so we’re content to never know. From there, we set off for the hike we scrapped yesterday. Our stoner friend wasn’t there, but we decided to heed his advice and take the path to the right, which he advised was easier. I don’t know how true that is, but it was BEAUTIFUL. Scattered with ruins, providing gorgeous views of the mountains, town, and river (Rio Urubamba). We kept going up, and up, and up, until we reached ‘Pride Rock’ (our name) and looked off to the left. The ruins we had endeavored to hike to yesterday were now MUCH lower than us, at about half our altitude. SICK. We kept venturing on, soon finding that our trail connected with the left trail, and also with a stone staircase that led up to another set of ruins. Being the daredevils we are, we climbed all the way UP to the ruins (really far up) before heading back down to our original destination. Getting up the mountain took about an hour, getting down took 15 minutes. The vertical is THAT steep. We ran into our stoner friend at the bottom, along with his young amigo who had begged to give us a tour. We bid them adios, then headed off to a village among the mountains that we had spotted on our hike and wanted to check out for lunch. After spending a significant amount of time meandering uphill, we realized that the little town was MUCH more abandoned than we had thought, and likely would not have much in the way of lunch. We turned back, choosing to forgo the road we had taken in favor of a secluded riverside trail that spit us out right by… Cuy’s Restaurant! The Stoner’s suggestion! We clearly had no choice but to eat lunch there. The restaurant is not so much an eating establishment as it is the owner’s home with a few tables and chairs in the front and DragonBallZ playing on a tv in the corner. We were presented with menus, but the owner was quick to mention that these were the ‘menus turisticos’ and that we could choose the ‘menu del dia’ instead: sopa (verduras o pollo), segundo (lomo saltada, pollo a la plancha, o truchi), y bebida (limonata). This sounded great! Kevin and Collin opted for sopa de pollo while I wanted verduras, then Kevin went adventurous with the truchi (fried trout) while Collin and I played it safe with pollo – grilled chicken, “salad” (lettuce leaf, 2 cucumber slices, 2 tomato slices), and papas fritas. The owner retreated to her kitchen (separated from the restaurant portion with an awesome, colorful llama tapestry), and Kevin got Collin’s assistance to ask if he could watch her cook. She happily agreed! Before we knew it, Kevin was in the cocina, and the owner explained (with the help of Collin the translator) what various components were. The array of fresh spices, vegetables, and meats she used was stunning, and we couldn’t wait for lunch! Our soups were marvelous, served once again with limes and a very spicy salsa of red onions, tomatoes, and spicy red pepper. Our main dishes were equally as delicious, especially with some lime juice and salsa to dress the ‘salad.’ Papas fritas are much thicker and less fried than traditional french fries, more like potato wedges. The limonata, though, was hands down the best thing we had. This came after the main course (drinks are served after meals in Peru, not with them), and it was THE BOMB. Sweet and tart lemonade with a sweet meringue topping?!?! Heaven. When the owner brought out even more for us, we all screamed with delight (she was very happy with how much we all liked our meals). Our bill was S/.45. 15 dollars. 5 dollars per person. How will I go back to US prices?!?!? I SERIOUSLY recommend this place to anyone who visits Ollantaytambo! From there, we headed back to the hostel to grab our things, and here we are now – sipping Americanos, taking advantage of the very slow wifi, and resting up. Next: a 1.5 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes, from which we’ll hike Machu Picchu tomorrow. Can’t wait!