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Published: November 20th 2010
Mon 8 Nov – Lima, Peru
No problem with the flight from Quito to Lima but got ripped off by the taxi driver to the B&B. He charged us 35USD and it should have been about half that. Luckily we had an idea that we were being overcharged so I refused to tip him, even though he had the audacity to actually ask for one!
The B&B, named Second Home Peru, was outside of the centre of Lima in an arty area called Barranco. We were dropped off outside a high wall with a heavy metal gate with no idea what awaited us on the other side. As soon as the gate opened, we walked through into a truly magical place. We cannot find the words to describe the feelings we had as we entered the courtyard and were shown around the property.
We started in the yard at the back of the house which was full of life size sculptures of bulls and horses and large abstract works of art. Then through the grand 100 year old house which had more sculptures and immense colourful paintings. Then out to the back garden which was on a cliff
overlooking a vast expanse of coastline with yet more sculptures, including a giant metal fish. We were led down some stairs through a labyrinth with room after room of surprises and amazing art towards an equally amazing swimming pool. Our host, Lillian then led us into a studio with high windows and amazing light. 'This is my father, Victor Delfin. This is his art' she said. At that point we realised that we were in the house of an internationally renowned Peruvian artist.
Our ocean view room overlooked the back garden and was huge, with a roll-top claw-footed bath and yet more art. From a balcony on the landing, you could hear the roar of the ocean and watch condors flying overhead.
We went for lunch in a local restaurant recommended in both our guides - Canta Bana – where we ate delicious seafood dishes. We walked around the Barranco Plaza, looking at all the artisan's stalls, and had pisco sours. Tue 9 to Thurs 11 Nov – Tour to Nazca Lines
The 9 Nov was our first opportunity to have a lie-in as a car was not picking us up until 12:30, but we still
woke up at 7 !
The journey to Nazca was by luxury coach, Cruz del Sur, along the Pan American Highway, It took 7 ¾ hours and we watched about 4 films (all pretty lousy but it passed the time). When we arrived at the coach station in Nazca there was no-one there to meet us. There were a crowd of taxi-drivers hassling passengers, we asked them where our hotel was and they pointed to a building on the other side of the road, which was relief! We went over, checked in and had dinner .. but had no idea what time we had to be up to start our trip in the morning.
Next morning it was obvious the tour operator in Nazca had no clue about our booking. It took a few frantic phone calls and a little bit of stress to get things moving. Chauchilla Cemetery
Our first stop on the tour was the cemetery. It was a macabre place with 12 tombs on display showing mummies and human remains. The cemetery was ransacked years ago and as you walk from tomb to tomb there are human bones, pieces of mummified hair and
cloth scattered over the ground … unbelievable.
We were taken to an Inca pottery place and held an Inca pot which was apparently 1,500 years old (we didn't drop it!). We were then taken to see a demonstration of how gold was extracted from rocks by miners in the area. It's a very long, manual process resulting in 1oz of gold from 60kg of rocks. They dig out the rock by hand … this is a hard life ! Flight over Nazca Lines
We got to the airport around mid-day, there were lots of people there and, apparently, a problem with a shortage of planes available. At one point Mario, our GAP guide, thought it doubtful that we would fly that day. We were taken back to the hotel for lunch, then collected again an hour or so later. We waited another 2.5 hours at the airport, but finally got on our small Cessna; just four passengers.
It was a 30 minute flight. Some of the first drawings were difficult to see but the scenery was spectacular, flying over desert (it hardly ever rains in Nazca – the locals have water 2 hours a day). We
clearly saw the spider, monkey, hands, humming bird, condor .. but they are pretty hard to photograph!
That evening we ventured outside the hotel and found the main square. It was buzzing with locals and had a great atmosphere. A small parade led by a children's band passed us as we sat at a local bar drinking Cusquena's (Peruvian beer).
The next morning we were taken to see the Cantallo Aquaducts which hundreds of years old and are still used to irrigate the land for farming.
Then it was a 7 ½ hours bus journey back to Lima with yet more films … zzz
Next stop, Cuzco, Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley … :o)
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