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Published: July 27th 2017
I enjoyed the flight...even took a video of the landing.
CHANGE OF FOCUS
Visiting the Nazca Lines
After diving Costa Rica, Panama, and Curacao, I headed overland to Lima, Peru. Friends and strangers who talk to me about my travels always ask if I have been to Machu Picchu. I have visited temples and sites of ancient peoples, and exactly because it is so popular with tourists, I had no strong urge to put Machu Picchu on my itinerary, but I finally decided to just use it as a stepping stone to Chile, where I planned to take a plane to Easter Island.
I had a couple of great days in Lima. I stayed in a charming small hotel, Hostal Kon-Tiki. The concierge was helpful, kind, and interested in the American. While in Lima I found a spa and had a massage and a manicure. I ate at a little café down the street and strolled past small shops looking for something that said, “buy me.” I didn’t take a hop on hop off bus or visit any national monuments. I just relaxed.
In my head was a plan to see the Nasca Lines before flying to Cuzco to visit Machu Picchu. I saw a documentary on
...and the wing of our plane.
television, or in National Geographic about the lines and they intrigued me. Huge geometric lines and symbols, as well as animals, fish and other creatures, were made by scraping off the surface layer of the desert, exposing the compact lighter layer underneath. They are best seen from the air. I wasn’t sure how to get there and my time in Lima was coming to a close. The front desk of my hotel suggested a tour company around the corner. The agent booked a van to drive me from the bus station in Nazca to the Maria Reiche Neuman airport for a half hour tour in a private plane to see the lines from the air. She also told me when and how to catch the bus to Nazca…it was a seven hour bus ride to the town of Nazca and another seven hours to return to Lima. I could not believe I was going to sit on a bus for fourteen hours for a half hour flight over these famous “… pre-Columbian geoglyphs etched into the desert sands of Peru.” My hotel arranged for the taxi at 3:45 am to take me to the bus station.
I was worried
The map of just a few of the figures we would fly over. It is easier to see what they are with a guide like this.
about over-sleeping as this was my only window of opportunity to go to Nazca. I hardly slept and was in the lobby early the next morning. The taxi was waiting and I had ample time in the bus station before the bus arrived. It was a very modern, comfortable bus with scheduled stops to stretch our legs, plush seats and movies. The bus even served meals like you used to get on an airplane. When we arrived in the town of Nazca I had barely time enough to walk/run four doors down the street to the tour office to board the van, and we were off to catch a plane.
Nazca airport was a tiny affair. While we were checking in we watched a video about the lines and theories surrounding them. There were photos of puquios (elaborate rock spirals for irrigation) that the Nazca people built. I had a déjà vu moment…remembering vivid recurring childhood nightmares about walking with my mother down into a similar spiral. I never did discover why we went, or what lay below in these dreams. I had chills down my spine as I watched the scenes unfold on the video.
I couldn't always see the figure, since there are so many other lines. I was really glad to see I caught a photo of the whale.
held four tourists, plus the pilot and co-pilot/tour guide. My Dad had a small plane when I was a child, but as the engine revved I suddenly wondered if I might get air sick. I was relieved that flying in a private plane was still a thrill and searching for the lines below kept me busy. I was near bursting with excitement and enthusiasm.
I snapped photos and strained to make out the figures as we flew over them. According to Wikipedia there are over 10,000 lines, making it hard to see the animals and plants. Many of the lines are geometric. They are huge and cover 400 miles of desert. We flew over just a portion of them. They were initially recognized by passengers in commercial airliners flying over the desert. Our guide pointed out where a highway had been built cutting through the tail of a huge lizard figure. In 1994 UNESCO made this a World Heritage Site and archeologists are still studying the desert here.
After the plane landed we had about twenty minutes to shop. There were some very interesting little shops, but I had barely time enough to purchase two t-shirts, at a
I had to enhance all the photos since there is not a lot of definition when the desert is under full sunlight.
ridiculously cheap price. The van was waiting for me.
We returned to Nazca and we went to a restaurant for a nice meal before boarding the bus for the return trip. My mind swirled with unanswered questions and images of the geoglyphs.
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