The last few days have been chaotic in Ollantaytambo.
I love the location of my room, but hate the fact that every morning at 5:00 am several mototaxis wait outside, blasting huayno music. On Sunday morning, this particular occurrence started at 2:00 am, but instead of huayno music, I heard the sound of sirens and saw flashing red lights. Still in the stupor of being asleep, I succumbed to a few more hours of rest. When I finally crawled out of bed around 6:30 am, I was startled to see that the rails of the bridge that crosses the river by a local cafe were lopsided and the bridge itself was blocked off.
I quickly came to realize that this was not the worst of the damage.
I went on a hunt for answers. I ran into a group of locals, who told me that the local river had become like a mini tsunami during the night and created an unbelievable amount of damage in Ollanta.
I decided to go for a walk to learn more. I quickly saw how the river had risen high enough to consume the upper part of Ollantaytambo and anything on the way down the hill. About half of a dirt path that runs parallel to the train station road (on the other side of the river) was completely washed out. Power lines, houses, and giant trees/eucalyptus plants had been ripped from their rightful places and carried by the muddy waters into the torrential Urubamba river.
An unbelievable sight. Notice the falling dirt (from the collapsing path) and furniture floating down the river in the photos below.
I called SVH Executive Director Keri to come and see the damage. We walked up the main street in Ollantaytambo to further survey the consequences. The house where two of the SVH co-founders had been living was halfway washed away, benches on the path that follow the road were hanging off the edge, and every house above that point was completely flooded with stinky mud or half-destroyed by the river. Keri’s old house looks like Poseidon took residence for the night.