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Nazca: the famous lines

Sunday 19th August – the Nazca Lines

This was (I’d hoped) going to be one of my dream days as I’d always wanted to see the Nazca lines, so I woke with a hope that it was not too windy to fly. A nice breakfast by the pool, followed by a short morning walk the other way (right) from the hotel to the edge of Nazca where we could see the plateau and hills down each side road, and then we waited for our guide in the lobby by the gift shop.
Nazca Town was founded by the Spanish in 1591 close to the indigenous settlement of Nanasca.
nazca-lines_48879564051_o.jpgnazca-peru_48879631431_o.jpg
Another English person (Michael) was there and we struck up talking- it turned out he was doing a very similar route through Peru to us! When the guide collected us she said it looked perfect for the flight and we drove out of Nazca towards the Maria Reichle airport. We were talking about weather and our guide said it had only rained in Nazca twice in her lifetime, which we found amazing. At the airport we got out and went into the waiting section, a low- tech building. We’d paid Nazca Air already, so our guide checked us in. Then they got all our details (again) and insisted on weighing us. Steve & M had to buy an empty seat between them as they were over the weight allowed per seat (100 kilos). I was well under! Then I had to go and pay the airport tax at the kiosk. Then we had to wait (and wait) until we were called for our flight. We looked around and wandered outside but not very interesting. Luckily we didn’t take too long (40 mins) but I’ve heard tales of hours. We were called to go through the security to the small secondary waiting area. Finally we were allowed onto the concrete for our plane- a 7-seater single engine Cessna. Now, this next part is very flattering to me- we were loaded weight order from larger (Steve) to least (me). I was right at the back in the “childs” seat, which was a 1-in-a-row so I had a window both sides. GREAT. Take off- GREAT.
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They told us to put on headphones so we could hear the pilot who explained he would bank both ways (left, then right) so please to not try to move over to each window as everyone would see everything and the plane would remain stable). What followed was an AMAZING experience as we flew away from the thin strip of green (Nazca town) and over the Pampas de Jumana where we saw these brilliant designs. The plane did bank quite a lot but it doesn’t bother me (although the couple in front nearly used their bag and Steve felt mildly queasy). Highlights for me (in order) were The Whale and Ribs, The Astronaut, The Llama and Dog, Monkey, Spider, Condor, Runway, Hands and Tree of Life) but we saw plenty of others too.
whale-and-ribs-nazca-lines_48879626396_o.jpg whale and ribs
astronaut-nazca-lines_48879112498_o.jpg astronaut
dog-nazca-lines_48879598426_o.jpg dog
2c15efb0-7903-11eb-b475-d762e85b9b40.png monkey
2c110db0-7903-11eb-92ba-019ef53729ba.png spider
condor-nazca-lines_48879577461_o.jpg condor
hands-and-tree-nazca-lines_48879562471_o.jpg 48879563516_f03691a2df_o.jpg hands/tree of life
1. whale (eastern) drawn over big rectangle with flower
2. triangle (over a small 3-pointed hill)
3. 2km long trapezoids(other side of triangle hill)
4. astronaut (unique as on hill not in desert)
5. monkey (5 fingers 1 hand, 4 on other)
6. dog
7. llama
8. hummingbird
9. vulture/pelican and flower
10. condor
11. spider (close to hummingbird and condor)
12. runway
13. spiral and iguana
14. flamingo/ alcatraz (300m long with long beak)
15. parrot (230m long)
16. geometric designs
17. over highway
18. Hands (again 5 and 4 finger configuration)
19. Huarango tree (right next to hands)
20. lizard (right next to tree but cut in half by road- faint)
21. straight lines
hummingbird-nazca-lines_48879782807_o.jpg hummingbird
pelican-nazca-lines_48879047748_o.jpg pelican
nos 1,4, 5, 6, 8
geoglyphs-nazca-lines_48879838842_o.jpg geoglyphs
condor-nazca-lines_48879574521_o.jpg 48879577461_2af0fcc6fd_o.jpg condor
nos 9, 10, 11, 13, 15
flamingo-nazca-lines_48879112388_o.jpg flamingo
hands-nazca-lines_48879029353_o.jpg hands
crosshatch-nazca-lines_48879596081_o.jpg crosshatched lines
lizard-nazca-lines_48879035488_o.jpg lizard
scissors-nazca-lines_48879038998_o.jpg scissors
nos 14, 18 & 19, 20, Scissors
The plane went over the Pan-American Highway, town of Palpa, hills and it was over far too soon IMO and we touched down and disembarked. Then we had to wait around because some German couple we were taking got lost.

A note on the Nazca Lines
What? The lines are a World Heritage site (1994) and are found on the high, dry plateau of Pampas de Jumana between Nazca and Palpa towns. The shapes are very varied, from simple lines, spirals and geometric shapes to fauna (mainly trees and flowers) to zoomorphic designs (mainly animals). The largest figure is over 270 metres long. The images were made using simple tools (post holes have been found) to plan the design, then a shallow trench (10-15 cms) would be dug exposing the light coloured layer below the red iron-oxide upper layer. The pale lower layer is made of lime, which over time has hardened with the morning mist into a cement, preventing erosion. The Nazca desert is the driest on earth and has not seen rain for aeons. Add to this the total lack of wind and it is clear why the figures have survived. They were first re-discovered in 1927 by a hiking Peruvian archaeologist Xesspa.
large_75b6c270-78fe-11eb-bd9e-49bf08ba136c.png
Why? There is no clear reason for drawing the lines, so people have come up with their own interpretations. IMO they have a religious or symbolic significance. The geometric designs may be related to water rituals, the animals and plants maybe to fertility? Their size and visibility from the mountains suggest they may have been made to please or worship the gods (mountains as or symbolic of gods is a common theme in Andean cultures- certainly water would come from the mountains and water is a high commodity in arid Peru). Reiche (the archaeologist most associated with the lines) suggested an astronomical significance, lines pointing to places celestial bodies rose.
flower--spiral-nazca-lines_48879037403_o.jpg flowers and spiral
Who? The Nazca Culture (400-650AD) is not well known, but seems to have strong links to the Paracas culture slightly north.
We drove back to the hotel and as we had a long coach trip ahead of some 400km we thought a good lunch was essential. We sat by the pool and told the waiter how much time we had and let him make suggestions. He made an excellent choice for us as we had lomo saltado (tenderloin stir fried with chilli and chips) & causa (avocado, potato and egg). Whilst Steve had a pud (picarones- pumpkin fritters, which I didn’t fancy) I went to the gift shop (which I did fancy) and bought a silver Nazca Spider earring set and a Nazca Hummingbird picture in Nazca sand.
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Then the taxi took us to Nazca coach station (no waiting room here, you board the bus directly) to get on our luxury coach (again food, drink, internet provided) to go to Arequipa. Now I was slightly apprehensive of this trip and both of us had been in two minds whether to fly to Arequipa, but I’m so glad we took the coach because the scenery was amazing. We went straight across the Pampas on the Pan- American Highway and down towards the Pacific coast. This is so unlike anything in our part of the world- the sand and road just go straight to the sea where the coast is so long and straight that the rollers just keep coming in long unbroken lines. We spotted the odd factory (of what?) in the sand dunes but absolutely nothing else (too dry and arid for people I suspect) until we got quite a long way down Peru. Then we started to see where thin rivers from the Andes to our left came to the sea. Everywhere a river/ stream came was a thin band of green and around each of these houses and people in small, long and thin, villages down to the shore. Each one had a small fishing fleet, by now moored as it was becoming dusk.
mushroom-nazca-lines_48879777402_o.jpg mushroom
As it turned from afternoon to early evening our road, which had been mainly level with the sea, headed sharply upwards and the road sat vertiginously high above the sea with little to nothing between us and the Pacific below. Then, as the sun set gloriously over the Pacific, we turned inland into the Andean foothills, many a gorgeous red colour. Night fell as we headed inland and finally to Arequipa where we arrived very late. Our guide had forgotten us and we had to catch a taxi and it turned out our travel company had booked the wrong hotel (!) – actually we’d paid for a 3* and they’d booked a 5* but we didn’t have to pay extra, so I guess it was OK (but less character). Anyhow it was too late to fuss, so we headed to bed (after leaving a message to say there was no guide and please to sort things out).
nazca-peru_48879102863_o.jpg

Posted by PetersF 12:59 Archived in Peru Tagged desert flight lines archaeology nazca Comments (0)

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