As it was we had one extra magnificent, beautiful and surprising experience whilst visiting the back paths of Ollantaytambo - we had gone past the beautiful old wall, and followed a mountain path for close to 45 mins at an upwards angle of course. There was a more secluded spot for what seemed like more meditative pursuits -
The holes along the edge of these ... shallow resting places might suggest that something - humans - alive or mummies might at times have been tied up here for meditation or observance of the mountains around - I am not thinking about a forceful tie up as much as perhaps a helpful support if you are doing a vision quest of some sort, standing all night, waiting for the sun to come up -
For staring right ahead of us was another magnificently beautiful set of mountain peaks, one in particular which could have had great interest were it so that the sun would at some particular day rise right between those two fingers protruding from the Apu's top. Once again, I don't know for sure, but...... Emerita talked and I listened and the possibilities were many - and ....I keep forgetting...... we always talk about day time rituals with the sun coming up and going down, but how about that moon, those stars, they are not exactly permanent fixtures in the sky either, the universe is an ever revolving entity. How does it all relate to the Apus around us and the buildings which were so carefully place in order to honour specific sacred times of the year.
|Photo by Pia and Emerita|
Emerita in the front, me close behind feeling the tiredness in my feet and knees at this point, but ...we were on the way back down to sit somewhere and enjoy a cup of tea perhaps. Emerita came to a sudden stop though, she pointed and 'gasped' oh, look, where's your camera, the camera, and between staring towards the direction of her pointing hand and finding the camera I realized that we were staring at not one but TWO soaring condors, big beautiful males, they came around the mountain - and they were below us. We were up high enough that they were soaring below us. I am aware that I am repeating myself, but ...... it was a grand moment in both our lives.
|Photo by Pia and Emerita|
Condors are not found on every street corner, they never were, sacred birds that they are, but there are even less of them these days. Their life cycles only let them breed every three years and like the bald eagles here in Canada, they are 5-6 years old before they are mature enough to multiply. They also prefer solitude, at high, high altitude, close to glaciers and as little human activity as possible. Emerita and I were transfixed, staring at these two gliding giants, and off they went towards the glaciers - they may not look so big in the photos, I know in the second one there is one bird that looks like a mere dot, but it is there - we saw them, we jumped for joy and then I shed a tear for truly .... it was a gift, something I hadn't even thought to put on a 'wishlist', for it seemed so remote to me that not even in my dreams could I imagine it. But they were there.
Afterwards we have joked about ... those two birds, now were they chickens or ... condors and with glee we have come to the conclusion that while visiting the ruins at Ollantaytambo the two women, Emerita Bucher and Pia Skaarer Nielsen watched two magnificent condors glide by - from above at that!
Thank you Apus for sharing your beauty.