Our massive room
So we got up early, ready to move on from Lima, unfortunately, as we were pleasantly surprised by the city we'd heard pretty negative things about. But it's only the beginning of our adventure and we got places to go and people to meet. And perhaps our time in Lima was up anyway as we dodged death just minutes later - walking out into the garden heading for the kitchen, a huge pane of glass came crashing down literally 5 feet from us. Transpired that the windows in the hostel aren't very well fitted and someone simply lent on the pane, sending it flying down onto the ground below. Luckily no one was hurt but the person responsible looked super sheepish, that's for sure.
So, having packed and paid up, we took the bus to Pisco, which took us through some impressive, if conflicting, landscapes with desert on one side and the ocean on the other with cow, chicken and egg farms on the beach, shanty towns built high on dusty sand dunes and then posh gated communities springing up in lush green areas.
Four hours later we got dropped off on the side of the PanAmerican Highway and
San Isidro Hostal
shared a taxi into Pisco with a Dutch couple, Marjolijn and Tijl, who ended up staying at the same hostel as us too, The San Isidro, a nice place with a pool, big dining area, ping pong and pool tables and friendly staff. We all signed up for a tour of the Islas de Ballestas and Paracas Reserve the next day and then wandered into town for a nose around. It's a ramshackle place, mainly due to the fact that in 2007, it was seriously hit by an earthquake and is still in recovery mode. Suffice to say, there were many abandoned buildings, although there is a nice pedestrianised area where the locals go to hang out, play cards and smooch wth their loved ones. We bought lunch for the next day at the supermarket (amazing bread choice)and then had a tasty dinner at one of the other hotels with the Dutchies, pizza and salad and a few beers. We then proceeded to get a little Pis-coed on Pisco Sours at Don Jamie (some more than others eh Marioljn?!) and tuk-tuk-ed it home.
We were then up at the crack for the tour and got picked up at 7.20
by the bus taking us to the port, which was absolutely rammed with tourists all doing the same as us - not a private tour then! Our tour was with a bunch of Frenchies and some Peruvians, who had the cutest kid ever. On our way to the Islands, a Candelabra symbol in the sand on the edge of the mainland was pointed out to us - the reasons for its existence vary from a link to the Nazca lines to its use as a warning to pirates. We were a little sceptical as to its validity as it looked like some guy had come along and raked it freshly that morning! As we approached the Islands, there was an unmistakable stench of bird poo and we found out the Islands are also known as the Guano Islands, literally Bird Droppings Islands. But the stink aside, we had the chance to see sealions stretching out on the rocks, baby ones too, cute little Humboldt penguins, Peruvian boobies, cormorants and gulls. You used to be able to visit and stay there but considering the whiff we'd rather not thanks! A few guys still work there and we hoisted up a jerry
The race to get to the Islands first is on
can of water (or pisco??) for them. There are some amazing rock formations and arches also and on the way back we truly lucked out and saw dolphins sooooo close to the boat - they were so beautiful and it was all we could do to stop ourselves jumping in with them.
After a much needed coffee and some hanging around on the malecon, seranaded, much to Ian's delight, by some panpipers, we moved onto Paracas (Quechua for “raining sands”) Reserve, a desert that has been inhabited for 9000 years. It's the principal area in Peru for marine conservation, founded in 1975. Bizarrely we found seashells there that had been washed inland during a tsunami caused by the 2007 earthquake, as well as fossils from 20,000 years ago when the area had been a sea. The road itself is made of salt and we drove along it to different viewing points, overlooking the sea and then had our packed lunch on the beach, where we saw a seaweed man-monster, and where the others saw a dead seal. We missed it luckily. It was then sand, sand and more sand for the next few hours before heading back to the
hostel for dinner where I had a soup and Ian chowed down on burger + chips. There was some party going on in town to celebrate something (never did find out what!) but after our early start it was beddy-byes for us, ready to move on the following day.
Would love to have got Pis-coed in Pisco with you all!
Love as always
Lisa and Ian xxxxxxxxxx
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