Victorious in our hunt for visas, we had a few days to kill in Lima and seeing as we´d been there more than a week, there wasn´t much left that we wanted to see so we headed south for a quick tour of the southern deserts. Our first stop of course was Nazca, famous for pretty much only one thing, the Nasca lines. Huge geoglyphs in the desert, the Nasca lines are generally believed to be momentos from the Nasca Culture (100-700CE). Studied by anthropologists from around the world, the lines are etched in the desert, but exactly when, why and by whom is a mystery. From religious symbols to landing zones for aliens, every anthropologist seems to subscribe to a different theory, and the locals don´t seem to care as long as there are tourists!
Arriving at the small regional Nasca airport without a flight reservation, we quickly scurried from airline to airline trying to negotiate ourselves onto a flight. Fortunately, despite the fact that it’s high season we got right on a flight for just about the price stated in the guidebook, which literally never happens, once a price is published it goes up 25% overnight. The flights themselves are famous for their corkscrew turns and turbulence, a certain blogger couple we know deemed their flight the vomit comet, so we entered the 6 seater plane with empty stomachs and somewhat empty wallets. (FYI, there is no ATM at the airport!)
Preserved in the desert by the dry, windless climate, (one of the driest deserts in the world!) the symbolic human, animal and plant figures are scattered across almost 200 square miles of desert. Our flight took us over 12 figures: the whale, the astronaut, the triangles, the trapezoids, the hummingbird, the tree, the hands, the parrot, the condor, the spider, and umm.. well I can´t remember the rest. The thing is that the lines were really interesting, but they were a little disappointing. All the pictures we´d seen make the lines look huge, which they are in reality, but from the air they lack any sort of scale or real definition on the desert floor. The largest figures are over 200m (660ft) across, which is incredible, like I said, size is hard to judge from an airplane. I think to truly appreciate their size you need to get down and be with them at ground level, but unfortunately this isn´t possible. Needless to say the lines were interesting and the flight was fun, but uneventful (not even a hint of turbulence or corkscrew turns). It´s one of those things that you wish you hadn´t paid so much money to do, but if you hadn´t done the flight you´d feel like you missed something. That´s just our take though. I tried to video for you all, but really there was so much noise you would kill me if I posted it!
After a morning of flying… well we needed a drink… any guess where we headed next?