It seems strikes are a frequent pastime of Peruvians and the teachers of the Province of Cusco had chosen the same day as our trip to stage a strike. Their strikes are different from ours in the US in that they are announced far in advance and they transport giant boulders to scatter across roads bringing transport to a halt. Our hotel operator convinced us to leave at 5:00 AM to beat the road closure even though our train wasn't scheduled until 11:00. We arrived at the train station in Ollantaytambo at 5:30 and proceeded to wait, thinking we had bested the strikers. Turns out they weren't to be outdone so easily and also put boulders on the tracks so our train couldn't get to the station to take us down the valley to Machu Picchu. By the time the chaos was dealt with, it was 5:00 PM and we were finally on our way. Experiencing the local culture is one of the things we came for.
The site was never seen or plundered by the Spaniards so was never recorded as existing. Some historians assume the royalty that lived here picked up and moved to Vilcabamba, a more easily defensible spot, after hearing of the demise of their leader at the hands of the Spanish. There were a couple of Quecha families farming the terraces when Hiram Bingham, a Yale archaeologist working in the area in 1911, heard rumor of the undiscovered site. Since then, it has become one of the top travel destinations in the world.