Nazca

Friday, May 18, 2012

We arrived safely after getting a local bus instead of paying triple for a more touristy bus. They still had films but we wouldn't catch a bus like that for a journey any longer.

We got taken to a hostel with a guy at the bus station but it was full so had to walk back to where we started. A lady walked past and offered us a cheap room in a hotel so we went with her. It was on the square so pretty nice. She wanted to sell us a trip flying over the Nazca lines however. We had pretty much decided that we would splash out on the trip as there haven't been many trips of late for us to do. We thought if we could get it for £60 each that will be fine, so we agreed to go the very next morning.

With an afternoon to kill we walked round Nazca, which is pretty small and got some dinner. We quite like the local dish Lomo Saltado which is like a beef stirfry with rice and chips. Everyone says it's a very traditional Peruvian dish, but I'm guessing it doesn't date back to the Incas if it includes chips!!

The next morning was an early start as we were getting picked up at 7.30. We were taken to the airstrip and waited with all the other tourists for our flight.

Now I know what you're probably thinking, "what the hell are the Nazca Lines"! Well they actually are pretty famous now thanks to the latest Indiana Jones movie, where Indie believed they would lead him to the Crystal Skulls. No Crystal Skulls involved in our trip though, just lines in the desert. Well, not just lines......

The Nazca lines are large lines, shapes, animals and even an astronaut carved from the ground! They are all huge, for example there is a monkey which is 93 by 58 metres.

It is believed they were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD and experts know that they were created by removing reddish brown stones to reveal light earth underneath. The lines are between 10-15cms in depth. What they don't know however is why they were created.

A popular theory is that they are offerings to the gods. This sounds realistic as the animals are big enough to be seen by the gods.

Another theory is that it is a memorial from a flood where people and animals died. Not sure about this one as Nazca gets about 3 hours of rain a year plus one of the animals was a whale!

Other theories for the reason of creation include astronomical calendar, alignment with stars, sports contests and of course the theory of all theories, aliens! The alien theory says that the straight lines are the aliens landing an aircraft!

The lines have been well preserved naturally due to the dry climate.

We were ushered through security and waited in an area not really knowing what type of plane to expect. 4 names were called out, 2 being ours and we headed towards what looked like the worlds smallest plane!

We hopped in the back seat of the plane and the pilot introduced himself and his co-pilot before starting off. The runway was pretty long but for some reason the pilot decided to start on gravel! We got off the ground pretty quick with miles of runway to spare. The first thing we noticed was that the plane jumped all over place and it wasn't even that windy!

We were 200 maybe 300 metres high and it didn't take long to get to the first image which was the whale. It was quite difficult to spot as it was smallish and had lines going through it, but once the pilot had pointed it out it was easy. We were banking so steep so we were literally circling it, before banking sharp left so the people on the other side of the plane could see. All this was happening while the pilot was turning around talking to us pointing to the ground as well and flying the plane!

Altogether we flew around about 12 images that he pointed out, however there were lines and other images everywhere. The best images were the monkey, hummingbird and spider.

On the last bend we were both feeling pretty sick as the sharp turns almost took its tole! Luckily it was the last image before flying back to the airport. The flight in total lasted just over 30 minutes and it was worth it, for seeing the Nazca Lines and the experience of flying in a tiny aeroplane.

All that was over by 10.30am so we had the whole day to do not a lot in Nazca. We bought some souvenirs and the obligatory fridge magnet before sitting in the sun on a park bench where Emma read and Kris napped!

We caught the night bus to Cusco to start getting acclimatised for our 5 day trek to Machu Pichu.

Photos

Comments

Paul S
I still think the lines are signs for aliens to land. Was the plane flight beeter then Alton Towers?
Sara M
Hope all is well guys and your final few weeks go well :-). Look forward to hearing all about it, if you can remember all the amazing things you have seen and done! Take care x
Karen
Just catching up on yur blog. I've only seen pictures of the monkey one befoe, but your photos of the spider and hummingbird are great!! But the poor whales drowning in the flood, if only they'd learn how to swim :-(

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