Oh those Nazca Lines!

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April 28th 2013
Published: April 30th 2013
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28-29th April ’13 Nazca

We sadly left Casa de Avila and shared a taxi with a lovely English mother and daughter combo, they were from Hastings (yes Mum I did say Oh I went there on holiday when I was tiny!) and mum was on a 6 month trip of a lifetime in south America while her daughter was on a year abroad as part of her uni degree and studying in Buenos Aires. It was quite funny when their jaws dropped open when we said how long we had been travelling! It was great to meet them, even though not for long and it was big hugs when their bus turned up first and off they went.

Our bus eventually turned up and on we got for our 10 hour economico journey to Nazca. Each passenger was videoed and Howard informed me this was in case of kidnapping! And then off we set. The bus was ok, the seats were pretty comfy, there was an odour of wee and it was really hot and stuffy but once someone opened a window things improved.

As per usual it was non-stop films dubbed in Spanish but at 11am I thought Road Rage 2-Dead Ahead (x rated and really gory) perhaps wasn’t the best choice and I’m sure the 4 year old behind me agreed! This was followed by 4 ancient, utterly naff westerns. We did get one break at a restaurant type place in the middle of absolutely nowhere in the desert, where about ½ the passengers ran in and scarfed down huge bowls of soup while the rest of us kicked our heels in the sun.

It was a loooong journey! The road ran round, through, over and past parched dry desert and mountains, before following the coast and then turning inland again. Finally we arrived in Nazca at in the dark and got dropped off by a roundabout next to what looked like a closed up market. Fortunately Captain Stephenson was prepared and had made a map of how to get to our accommodation, so ignoring the couple of touts who had lovely hotels with rooms ready just for us, we found the Hospedage Nazca Sunshine.

This is basically a line of 7 rooms’ running back from a small shop cum travel agent front. The private bathroom we booked didn’t exist but they did put us right next to the communal toilet/shower and luckily no one else appears to be staying. There are no windows in the rooms but there is a section of wall missing at the top between room and corridor so you don’t feel completely enclosed!

It was a very hot night but we do have a large fan in the room and actually managed to get a good night’s kip.

So today is the flight over the Nazca lines day, a much anticipated one in our travels. After finding some breakfast down the road we took a taxi out to the airport and despite being strong armed by some beefy bloke we avoided his kiosk and booked ourselves on a flight with Nazca Trails. The little airport was quite busy with bunches of people sitting around waiting for their turn to go or hanging around outside eating ice lollies.

When we booked we had to get on the scales to be weighed (oh mortification!) presumably so they can balance the plane out and take on enough fuel? And we were told it would be approximately 30 minutes before we could go. One hour and 10 minutes later and we were called, now that was quicker than I expected actually. We had to go through airport security, who took my lighter off me and lined it up with all the others, but said I could get it back after the flight. Then we sat in wicker chairs looking out at the tiniest planes I have ever seen. Soon the co-pilot came up to the 4 of who were going together, we were with a beefy Belgium couple which made me feel a bit better!. He explained about the flight, it would take 30 minutes and told us how to spot the shapes within all the lines. Then it was out onto the tarmac, shake of hands with Dennis our pilot and we then slotted ourselves into our allocated seats.

The plane was a teeny Cessna with 4 passenger seats and the two pilots up front, we all buckled up and put our headsets on and clutched our maps of the route past 12 of the main ancient geoglyphs. The pilot was going to bank right and then left over each one so everyone could get a good view and the wing tip would point down towards them. The sick bags were drawn to our attention but as I had taken 2 travel sick tablets in plenty of time I was pretty sure I would be ok……..how wrong can you be?!

Once we were up in the air it was very apparent this would be a bumpy ride and we didn’t seem to be that high up in the air but I was still very excited. As we approached each geoglyph the co-pilot told us how long before we would see it and how to spot it and very soon we were at the Whale. I was peering out over Howard as it was his side first and could only see lots of lines then the plane turned sharply and we were tilted down to my side, whoa my stomach started to roll and I thought I was going to pass out, but these were the Nazca lines so I had to keep looking and yes there it was.

The shapes and figures are huge and are thought to have been made between 500 BC to 500 AD, no one really knows why they were made but they are thought to have had ritual astronomical uses. So amazing stuff but after one lot of banking I wasn’t sure I would make it through 12 and I spent the rest of the flight gripping the sick bag in one hand and the camera (on my turn) with the other. I also noticed the Belgiums in front went from mass photo clicking to the odd one and the enthusiastic videoing went to a complete stop!

The desert appeared to be criss crossed with really long straight lines and when we came across the different animals and shapes they were fantastic, particularly the hummingbird and condor but trying to fight back the need to vomit kind of took the edge off things.

I was so relieved when he announced we had seen them all and it would be 7 minutes until we landed!! Once back on the ground, I could have kissed it – if I wasn’t still trying not to be sick. Before we got out both pilot and co-pilot turned around and said we hope you enjoyed the flight and had a good time, did you? and all I could say was ‘I feel sick’, I did feel sorry for them but I just had to get out quick!

I stumbled back to the airport and must have looked green as people moved quickly out of my way! I encountered the Belgium lady again who said ‘dit you also veel sick? My husband said I vas as vite as my shirt’.

Luckily there was a taxi and another couple waiting to go back to town (he didn’t want to take just 2 people) so we were soon back in Nazca and I was soon lying on the bed waiting for the sickness to go!

Once I felt normal again I discovered that Howard had found it virtually impossible to pick out the drawings until the very last second so we seem to have a lot of pictures of lines and virtually no actual geoglyphs! Ah well it was a once in a lifetime experience!!

That afternoon we had a mooch around town and found the main square, Peru doesn’t seem to go in for the old Man on a Horse bit which makes a nice change and this square had lots of fountains which would have been lovely if there had been water coming out of them. The cathedral wasn’t quite up to the standard of other squares and looked more like a fire station which was rather strange, but it was nice to see this part of town as I had thought Nazca was a real dump up until now.

We had a delicious dinner tonight but the prices here were a bit of a shock, it was almost Argentinian standards!

So tomorrow it’s onwards again, this time it’s by bus to Ica and then hopefully we will find a way to get to the desert oasis of Huacachina.

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