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dannygoesdiving This is a blog & photo journal of the trips that I (Danny) and Jo (wifey) have taken over the past few years.

Peru 2012 - Nazca

PERU | Saturday, 20 October 2012 | Views [509]

We arrived in Nazca at 05:30AM after a comfortable journey (thanks to fully reclineable seats) on the overnight bus from Arequipa.  Even at that time in the morning there was lots of hussle and bussle by the side of the road, Josie took the opportunity to feed a few stray dogs our food leftovers from the night before.  We were picked up and taken to our hostel (Nazca House) were we were warmly  welcomed by the owner Nancy, after a couple of hours sleep we had breakfast (you guessed it - eggs) before venturing out to walk to the square.  Nazca had a really different and pleasant vibe to everywhere else we stayed and didnt have a tourist feel to it at all - it was just people getting on with their everyday lives.  We booked our bus to Lima and a tour to Chauchilla (cemetary) for the following day before going to Peru 4x4 to book a dune buggy  and sandboarding desert trip. We grabbed a juice at a juega bar and wandered around the local produce market, marvelling at the wide array of potatoes (apparantly there are over 400 types in Peru) and what can only be described as the worlds largest and oddest shaped pumpkins.  

We were the only two booked so had a buggy and driver/guide to ourselves !  Leaving the highway we travelled over a dusty track, visiting an aqueduct (not the famous one) and Cahuachi along the way. Cahuachi is virtually in the middle of the desert and is the ancient city of the Nazca people. The archaeological complex covers an area of 24 square kilometres and within its territory exist huge pyramids, temples and platforms , and some open tombs.  The latter were a little surreal with skulls (complete with hair), mummified remains and clothing scattered all over the desert floor.  The stone terrain some made way for beautiful sand dunes and the most awesome and exhilierating buggy ride over the dunes, I was deaf by the end from Josies screams as we plunged over the crests of the dunes .  Although we were barely an hour from Nazca, the desert felt so remote with nothing in sight but the dunes stretching into the distance.  Stopping at the top of a particularly high dune I had a go at sandboarding, which was great fun; much harder than snowboarding as you get bogged down in the sand and very tiring having to climb back to the top of the dunes.  Josie sat on her board and rode it down the dunes - we were shaking sand out of our clothes for days afterwards !  It was a great tour and in complete contrast to anything else we had done over the previous weeks of travels.

The following morning saw us heading to the airfield for a 35 minute flight over the Nazca lines, these lines were scratched on the surface of the ground between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500, they are among archaeology's greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity. The geoglyphs depict living creatures, stylized plants and imaginary beings, as well as geometric figures several kilometers long.  We had a bit of a wait (this seemed the norm), there was however a national geographic video to watch which explained how they belived the lines were formed and speculated on why they were formed. 

Finally we boarded our 6 seater plane - 2 pilots and 4 passengers.  We all had a window seats, the sky was as blue as it could be, there was not a cloud in the sky and no turbulence, conditions could not have been any more perfect.  The flight was for me  probably one of the highlight of our travels in Peru, the pilot kept us  informed of what geoglyphs we were approaching, always  taking two passes by each one so that noone missed anything. The lines are amazing both in terms of their size and their perfect form, it is  almost impossible to describe what it feels like to be looking down on them and realising that those that created them never even saw them ! Amongst the geoglyphs we saw were the hummingbird, monkey, whale, astronaut and spider. Awesome !

Back on the ground we had a chinese meal before heading out to Chauchilla with our private guide.  Chauchilla cemetery which contains prehispanic mummified remains was for many years looted by treasure hunters, who destroyed the place completely, taking away all the treasures the mummies kept in their tombs for centuries. Grave robbers just left behind the corpses, which can be seen today all over the ground. In addition to skulls and bones, visitors also can see several tombs centuries’ old, as well as long human hairs, ceramic fragments and others remains scattered on the dessert surface. It is the only archaeological site in Peru, in which ancient mummies are seen in their original graves, along with ancient artifacts, dating back to 1000 AD

That evening we went to the Maria Reiche planetarium, which had a presentation on the history and reasons behind the lines and would probably have been worth seeing before the flight !  The astronomer there was extremely enthusiastic taking us outside to look at the night sky, where he pointed out Mars and the scorpius constellation (my zodiac sign) before finally getting to view the moon through a powerful telescope, allowing you to clearly make out the craters of the moon.

Leaving Nazca we took a 7 hour bus journey to Lima, stayed overnight out the same apartments as previously before bidding a fond farewell to South America and heading nack home to the Turks & Caicos Islands.

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