From Aguas Calientes we caught a morning train to the small town of Ollantaytambo, which has been continuously occupied since Incan times and has some impressive and interesting ruins. The town itself is pretty and mellow, and had quite a few nice looking cafes and tour agencies (several run by gringo expats) catering to the many tourists that come through here on the way to and from Machu Picchu.
Luckily we came through town at a quiet time and had fun walking through the back streets and checking out all the old buildings. We ducked into a cave-like chicha bar in a side alley where two stoic local guys sat silently drinking and watching bizarre Andean music videos, notable for their low production values and lots of frolicking in pastures alongside handsome livestock. The stern looking lady running the place barked that they only sold chicha here, obviously expecting us to leave, and only begrudgingly sold us chicha when we told her that was what we were after. These are the kinds moments we love best when we travel.
The main archaeological site is at the edge of town and had some really cool water features and yet more fantastic Incan stonework. We sat on one of the terraces for a long time and looked out on this beautiful, tranquil valley, surrounded by history and friendly people, and felt very lucky to be able to experience these types of places.